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Daniel held from starting lineup by UK



CJ’s Dominique Yates and Jon Hale talk Kash Daniel news and a preview of UK taking on Mississippi State.
Dominique Yates, Louisville Courier Journal

STARKVILLE, Miss. – After a week of controversy surrounding his alleged twist of Florida quarterback Kyle Trask’s ankle, UK linebacker Kash Daniel was held from the starting lineup Saturday at Mississippi State.

The senior linebacker also did not serve as a captain at the pregame coin toss as he normally does. Daniel checked in for the first time on Kentucky’s third defensive series with 10:36 left in the second quarter.

On Wednesday, Daniel vehemently denied accusations that he had intentionally twisted Trask’s ankle after a failed two-point conversion attempt from the Gators, saying he had yanked his surgically repaired hand from the bottom of a pile after being stepped on. At the time, the lone video angle of the play from the ESPN broadcast lacked clear evidence whether Daniel’s version of events or the one being promoted by Florida fans on Twitter was true.

After Daniel’s denial, a closer video angle of the incident shot from the visitor’s sideline was released showing the UK linebacker grasping and pulling on Trask’s leg with both hands. The video was posted by WYMT-TV and later taken down but remains online at sister-station WKYT’s website.

Asked Thursday for his response to the controversy, Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said Daniel would “be out there” against Mississippi State but did not say whether the normal team captain would start. Stoops confirmed he had discussed the incident with both the SEC office and Daniel but declined to elaborate on those conversations.

“I’m not going to get into hypotheticals, but I’ve addressed this issue and will move on,” Stoops said. “But in general, nobody is going to intentionally hurt anybody. No, that’s not going to happen on our team.”

More: Kentucky drops the ball on Kash Daniel’s discipline after ankle-twisting incident

Asked about the play at his Monday news conference, Florida head coach Dan Mullen said the incident would be something for the SEC office to look at but he had not sent video of the play to league officials himself.

Several Florida players tweeted about the video, and Trask seemingly supported the ankle-twisting version events when he told reporters in Gainesville, “At the end of the day it’s football. It is what it is. There’s nothing I can do about it.”

Daniel’s denial may have caused more trouble for him than the actual incident. 

“I’ve kept my mouth shut about it,” Daniel said Wednesday. “I’ve been biting my tongue about it as long as I can, because that’s something that I actually hold close to me. I’m a victim of a dirty play (in high school). If you don’t believe me, I’ve got a plate and seven screws in my right ankle to prove that. I’ve got a scar running halfway down my leg. I’m not out there to hurt anybody. 

“…I pull my hand out there last second. I just pulled it out. I got it stuck underneath a lineman’s leg with all that weight on it. Then I pulled it free from that, kept hitting stuff, kept moving stuff and finally it came through. Maybe he felt something weird, but I’m not out there to twist nobody’s ankle or hurt nobody. End of story.”

Jon Hale: jahale@courier-journal.com; Twitter: @JonHale_CJ. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today: www.courier-journal.com/jonh.

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