LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Offensive tackle Aaron Miller is not eligible to play this season, Coach Rich Brooks said following practice Thursday afternoon at the Nutter Training Facility.
A sophomore from Grayson, Ky., Miller started 10 games in 2004 and was named Freshman All-Southeastern Conference. He sat out the 2005 season for personal reasons, but had returned to UK and the football team in January of this year.
"I feel bad for Aaron," Brooks said. "He'd been running with the third team (during preseason practice) while we were waiting on his status. This hurts our depth and lessens our ability to absorb any other problems that might occur."
Brooks noted that the possibility of Miller returning to the team is uncertain, and that sophomores James Alexander and Garry Williams would continue to work with the first and second teams at left tackle. Alexander played in all 11 games last season, including one starting assignment. Williams played in eight games a year ago and started the final three games of the season.
Brooks also announced two injuries. Freshman wide receiver Darrell Stevens sustained a broken bone and torn ligaments in his left ankle during a non-contact drill Wednesday and will undergo surgery. Stevens will be out for the season. Junior cornerback Ahmad Grigsby has a broken bone in his left wrist and will have surgery. His status for the remainder of the season is uncertain and the coach noted that Grigsby has a redshirt year available if necessary.
Brooks did have two items of good news as redshirt freshman defensive end Jeremy Jarmon and freshman defensive end Ricky Lumpkin have been cleared for full participation. Jarmon has been recovering from a knee injury and Lumpkin has been recovering from hip surgery.
On the field, Brooks reduced Thursday's scheduled three-hour practice down to two hours. "We've been practicing well but they looked tired and were dragging today, so I thought the wise thing was to cut practice short," Brooks said. The Wildcats return to practice Friday afternoon.
Freshman Tight Ends Looking to Join Tamme in Playing Rotation: There are several positions on the Kentucky football team which are currently stacked with depth. One of the more noticeable spots involving several new faces who are in hopes of contributing to the Wildcats' 2006 campaign is the tight end position.
It's a position which is vital to the Kentucky offense and was held down last year by Jacob Tamme, a homegrown product from state power Boyle County.
Tamme, a 6-foot-5, 240 pound junior, is the returning starter among a group of young and promising tight ends who hope to turn heads when they take the field in the fall. Four redshirt freshmen are currently contending for the second spot on the depth chart and one thing is a constant about this group – big bodies.
There are not any tight ends on the field this summer who do not present a big target for UK's quarterbacks. Redshirt freshmen Tyler Sexton (6-2, 254), Ross Bogue (6-5, 235), Zipp Duncan (6-5, 250), and T.C. Drake (6-6, 230) are big, imposing weapons both in the running game and passing game. The four redshirts are joined by true freshman Chris Goode (6-4, 220) to make up a deep and large corps of tight ends.
"We have four redshirt freshmen and one (first-year) freshman," tight ends coach Steve Ortmayer said. "They are all coming along nicely. They are all in the mix and are all improving daily. They have improved their route running skills a lot this summer. We continue to work with them at becoming better blockers and right now they are just one big group behind Jacob."
Tamme, who caught 29 balls in 2005, has begun to develop into a leader on and off the field for the fresh-faced group of tight ends.
"I am helping the younger guys a little," Tamme said. "Especially with the route running, since I came in here as a wide receiver, I feel like I can help the newcomers learn the system with little things that they may not know. We are getting a lot better as a group. Our tight end group is getting better every day and we are just looking forward to stepping on the field."
Ortmayer is pleased with the progress his starter at tight end has made since off-season surgery on his shoulders.
"We couldn't be happier with where Jacob is right now," Ortmayer said. "He is running his routes well. He is blocking better then he ever has. He is becoming an excellent tight end which means being a good blocker in addition to a good pass catcher. We are very pleased with Jacob's progress."
OL Aaron Miller out for season
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