Larry Vaught: Dorian Baker
He might not be playing, but receiver Dorian Baker has not been forgotten by Kentucky receivers coach Lamar Thomas.
Baker suffered a fracture/dislocation in his left ankle during a preseason scrimmage in August. He originally hoped rehab would help him get back on the field this season but he understood he likely would miss the entire season, something coach Mark Stoops confirmed last week.
“I talk to Dorian all the time. He is like a family member. It was an unfortunate injury for him but like we talk all the time, you have another opportunity (next year). We get through this, graduate and we play free of mind next year,” said Thomas. “He is excited about that. He is excited about getting back to working out and just getting better. Maturity-wise, that is going to help him, too.”
Baker had 55 catches for 608 yards as a sophomore. Last season he was injured early in the season had only 14 catches for 208 yards.
Both Thomas and Baker were convinced this season was going to be special for Kentucky and him. He had his best offseason and made it through spring practice and summer workouts injury-free until he went down in the scrimmage two weeks before UK opened the season.
“The first interview I did (after he got hurt) I almost got a little emotional. Any of these guys, but especially him … to see where he has come from to now,” Thomas said. “One of the first things I had to tackle when I came here was building a relationship with him. Where I needed him to come, he has progressed. It has meant a lot.”
Jackson wants him on the sideline for any game he can. He knows Baker wants to support his teammates.
“He is around a lot. He is going to class. He will come in meetings on some type of tricycle, push-bike or whatever it is (because of his ankle injury). All the guys are happy to see him. He will sit for about two minutes and disappear. But he is around. I am very proud of him and he will do well,” Thomas said.
“The whole thing for him now is to graduate and rehab. Those are two things he should be able to do. Graduate, go to grad school next year and play football free of mind. He’s looking forward to that.”