Stoops not taking Chattanooga lightly ahead of Saturday’s matchup


Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops stands on the sideline during UK’s home opener against Louisiana Monroe on Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021, at Kroger Field in Lexington, Kentucky. UK won 45-10. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

Hunter Shelton

Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops is pleased with his team’s performance through the first two weeks of the season, but knows that there is still plenty of work to be done.  

“You know it’s about us this week, much the same, we need to concentrate on ourselves, playing a very good team in Chattanooga, and we just have to focus on ourselves,” Stoops said.  

Kentucky rolled past UL Monroe 45-10 in week one, followed by an SEC battle with Missouri this past Saturday that saw the Wildcats come out on top, winning 35-28 in Lexington.  

Now UK will prepare for the Chattanooga Mocs, an FCS program that currently sits at 1-1 on the season.  

“(Missouri) was a very physical game. Our guys were emotionally ready to play, took a lot out of them, played extremely hard, very proud of how physical and how hard we’re playing,” Stoops said. “Just want to get some details fixed up, but it’s our job to get our team right here this week, continue to build on the good things were doing, tighten up the ship on certain aspects of it. We got a lot of good football ahead of us, so I’m very encouraged and looking forward to this challenge here this week.” 

While the Wildcats have the talent to overpower the Mocs on Saturday, Stoops is not taking the matchup lightly: 

“You would never hear me use the word ‘breather.’ That’s not in our vocabulary,” Stoops said. The only thing we’re interested in is pressing on and moving forward. Any great team, no matter what competition level is, plays to the best of their ability. That’s what we’re trying to do.” 

UK playing to the best of their ability against Missouri led to win No. 51 for Stoops at Kentucky, putting his win-loss record with the Cats above the .500 mark for the first time.  

Coach Stoops took over the program when it was at one of its darkest times, fresh off a 2-10 season in 2012. It has been a long process for Stoops, but a 39-24 record in the Wildcats last 63 games is the best 63-game stretch the program has had since the 1950’s. 

In true Mark Stoops fashion, instead of harping on his success at the helm, he gives credit to the program and everyone involved in it: 

“It’s not about me. It’s about our program, it’s about our kids, our staff, there’s a lot of things that go into it. I’m just the guy holding down the seat for right now,” Stoops said.