Mark Stoops held his annual Monday press conference on Wednesday where he primarily talked about the beat down in Knoxville this past Saturday, and a little about the upcoming game against Middle Tennessee State this Saturday.
Here are five things that stuck out to me.
Doesn’t plan on changing the game offensive scheme
After Kentucky’s defense looked awful Saturday, Stoops was asked if it was time to make adjustments to the offensive scheme.
“That wouldn’t be a very good idea. We got two opportunities to get the most victories we’ve had in a regular season since 1977. I don’t think that’d be very wise. We did a lot of good things to win seven games, and we plan on trying to get to eight and nine. I appreciate all the good things that they did to put us in that position. That would be called panic mode.”
I am 50/50 on this. I agree with it because it wouldn’t be easy to plan a certain way for nine games, then change it all for the last two games, but I also don’t agree because while Kentucky has won seven games, they haven’t exactly looked good in every one of them.
Maybe he would consider it if we didn’t finish the season with MT State and Louisville?
Guys were just “going through the motions”
After Benny Snell said that he could tell some guys were “going through the motions” on Saturday, Mark Stoops was asked if he thought the same.
“Definitely. I said it after the game, I was the first one to say it. I said it to the team prior to them talking to you. I didn’t do a very good job because we weren’t ready to play at the level that we needed to play at. I think you could see Tennessee, where maybe they played that way the week before, and they got straightened out and came out and played with a lot of passion and energy. Our team has done that throughout this year. We didn’t Saturday and that’s on me. I appreciate Benny pointing those things out, and that’s what leaders should do. I don’t think he’s pointing at any one person, just in general, I told them that we didn’t do a good enough job.”
Can he get them pumped up for these last two games?
Dorian Baker didn’t travel with the team because he was suspended
I noticed Dorian Baker wasn’t out there, but I didn’t ask why because he can’t catch the ball. Stoops said the reason he wasn’t out there was because he wasn’t even at the game due to being suspended.
“No. He was suspended for that game, but he’ll be back this week.”
Suspended for what? Stoops never clarified.
Not having Darius West in the first half hurt
After being ejected against UGA for targeting, Darius West was suspended for the first half of the Tennessee game. Tennessee scored 17 points in the first half and in the second half Kentucky held them to 7. Stoops was asked if him being out hurt the teams.
“Definitely missed him. I think his presence and being out there and doing that, but we gave up…then you look at efficiency and when you just look at the overall statistics and even myself I’m sitting here saying how in the world did we give up 200 rushing yards? We gave up, I don’t know the exact yards — 40 or 45 – on a simple technique of our four-technique (defensive lineman) trying to do too much. Has the block controlled, sticks his head out in another person’s gap, runs it right down there and led to a touchdown. 40, 45 yards leads to a touchdown and then the reverse was a huge play. That’s a finesse play, but it was set up and we need to play better. There’s like 100 yards on two plays. You look at the rest of it and we had quite a few tackles for a loss and zero-yard gains and things of that nature. Just as a team, we didn’t play good enough. Definitely offense always wants to take the hit because they look at the bottom line and we missed two field goals, turned the ball over in the red zone and had other drives stalled for various reasons, various mistakes, but the defense we definitely should have done enough to keep it in the game like we’ve done in other games.”
Middle Tennessee has an explosive offense
With the other four things being about the Tennessee game, I thought I’d throw in something regarding the game this Saturday. Stoops focused on one player, their QB.
“Stockstill, Brent, the quarterback. You have to have a lot of respect for him. You could tell he’s a coach’s kid. He plays so hard and makes such critical plays. He’s one of those guys. He’s a real gamer. You can put pressure on him, you can get him out of the pocket, and he finds guys open. He puts it in good spots, he throws a catchable ball. You got to have a lot of respect for the way he plays. He plays the game the right way, very intelligent and great touch on what he does, and they have a good scheme, and they can move it on you.”