Rich Brooks says Kentucky's players — and fans — should not abandon hope of UK playing in a bowl game because of Saturday's 24-17 loss to South Carolina that left the Cats with a 3-3 record midway of the season.
"All we have to do is win half of our next six games. We kind of knew that going into this game (with South Carolina). This would have been a bonus win for us. We certainly need get healthy and continue to improve if we expect to accomplish that."
However, Kentucky will have to play at least this week at LSU with its most versatile offensive performer, running back-punt returner Rafael Little. He had what Brooks called "considerable swelling" in his knee today. Even though a MRI taken 10 days ago showed no permanent problems in the knee, Brooks is concerned.
"We are going to go in and have in scoped tomorrow morning. Obviously, we are missing something. He will be out this week," Brooks said.
Little ran for 50 of UK's 57 yards rushing against South Carolina and also had three catches for 43 yards. He returned one punt for 14 yards.
"He didn't have the speed he normally has. There were a few plays that would have been a little better if he had been completely healthy," Brooks said.
Little got a late start in 2004 — his freshman season — when he had surgery on his other knee several months before football season started. Brooks said he worries there might be some "cartilage damage" even though the MRI did not show that.
"I admire what he has done," Brooks said. "We tried to let the swelling settle down. The unfortunate thing is he has not been able to practice. We hope it is a minor thing and he is not out too long. We were hoping it would stop swelling and go away. The only thing to do for his health and longevity is to take a look at it."
Brooks also listed defensive tackles Lamar Mills (left shoulder strain) and Myron Pryor (hyperextended left elbow) as questionable for the game at LSU.
Brooks said walk-on Austin Moss got a few snaps at tackle against South Carolina and will get more if Pryor and Mills can't play, especially since another tackle, Ricky Abren, is limited by an injured wrist and two more linemen — Corey Peters and Jamil Paris — are out with knee injuries. Converted defensive end Travis Day will also get more time at tackle.
Brooks wouldn't reveal if he might consider moving a linebacker to defensive end or using a freshman he planned to redshirt because of the injuries at tackle.
"We will do something else, but I am not ready to say at this point," Brooks said. "We will probably decide that by tomorrow."
Help could come from Jason Leger, who moved from tackle to offensive guard after center Matt McCutchan went down with an ankle injury against Mississippi. McCutchan is expected to return to play this week and that could enable Trai Williams to shift back to guard and Leger, who played some on defense against South Carolina, to move back to defense this week.