5 things to watch when No. 1 Alabama visits Kentucky
Here are five things to watch when No. 1 Alabama visits Kentucky:
Senior AJ McCarron tied Harry Gilmer as Alabama's third-winningest quarterback with last week's 45-3 win over Georgia State and could be the career leader by season's end. He needs four wins to surpass Jeff Rutledge (33) and six to supplant No. 1 Jay Barker. To put his career in perspective, McCarron has as many BCS championships (two) as career losses.
Defensive end Alvin "Bud" Dupree (3.5 sacks) hadn't practiced as of Wednesday because of a strained pectoral muscle and Stoops said he "didn't look good" for Saturday. If the SEC's sixth-leading sacker can't go, freshman LB/DE Jason Hatcher is ready despite breaking his right hand in two places at South Carolina. Middle linebacker Avery Williamson and defensive back Blake McClain are also playing with casts.
CRIMSON TIDE SAFETIES:
Sophomores Landon Collins and Geno Smith will see extensive action again at free safety with junior Ha Ha Clinton-Dix suspended indefinitely for accepting a loan from Tide strength and conditioning coach Corey Harris. Collins, whose 21 tackles rank third on the team, made two stops last week against Georgia State in his first start. Smith had a tackle and an assist.
JUMP START NEEDED:
As Kentucky takes small steps forward under Stoops, the coach would love to see the Wildcats start better and avoid playing from behind. They certainly can't afford to trail against Alabama or risk watching the Crimson Tide pull away quickly. "We can't get behind the chains. We know we're not very good behind the chains," Stoops said.
HALL OF FAME HONOREE:
Kentucky will recognize Steve Meilinger at halftime in advance of his induction into the College Football Hall of Fame. Meilinger played multiple positions on offense and defense under then-Wildcats coach Paul "Bear" Bryant from 1951-53 and helped Kentucky go 20-10-3 in his career.
AP Sports Writer John Zenor in Tuscaloosa, Ala., contributed to this report.