- Chris Low, ESPN Senior Staff Writer
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Kentucky will be without senior defensive tackle Donte Rumph for the remainder of the spring, but the good news for the Wildcats is that he's expected to return in time for the 2013 season.
Rumph injured his shoulder this week in practice and was to have surgery on Friday.
Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said Friday that doctors expect the 6-foot-3, 323-pound Rumph to make a full recovery, and that Rumph should be ready to go in the fall. The plan is to get him back in time for preseason camp in August, but the Wildcats will be smart about his contact and not take any chances. The Wildcats open the season Aug. 31 in Nashville against Western Kentucky.
Senior Tristian Johnson has been working with the first unit in Rumph's place. Johnson started the final nine games for Kentucky last season.
The Wildcats held their first scrimmage of the spring Friday morning, and as is usually the case, Stoops said the defense was further along than the offense.
Quarterbacks Maxwell Smith, Patrick Towles and Jalen Whitlow shared the snaps with the first- and second-team units, and it doesn't sound as if anybody has taken a decisive lead in the quarterback race. Stoops said all three have looked "good at times and bad at times."
A big part of the challenge offensively is getting accustomed to the faster pace that offensive coordinator Neal Brown will employ next season. The Wildcats are also looking for consistent playmakers at receiver, and Brown noted Friday that they needed to do a better job of catching the ball. The offense also turned the ball over a few times.
Overall, Stoops said there was a better "sense of urgency" on the practice field, and that it was improving daily.