Mark Stoops press conference notes: Sept. 3


Kentucky Wildcats head coach Mark Stoops walks down the field during the game against Central Michigan on Saturday Sept. 1, 2018, at Kroger Field in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 35-20. Photo by Arden Barnes | Staff

Monday, after UK head football coach Mark Stoops got a chance to look at film of the team’s 35-20 victory over Central Michigan this past Saturday, Stoops was delighted with most of the defense and frustrated with some parts of the offense.

He held a press conference on Monday where he highlighted what he noticed about the game against the Chippewas, and previewed the team’s upcoming battle against Florida, a team that’s coming off a 53-6 win against Charleston.

Stoops was asked about the 31-year losing drought that the Cats have suffered at the hands of the Gators, but Stoops said the players “didn’t have time” to worry about breaking the streak. “Winning football games is important to us, and they’re next on our schedule,” Stoops said.

In assessing his team’s play against Central Michigan, Stoops said he was thoroughly impressed by the defensive effort, as the unit wasn’t even on the field for seven of the points the team surrendered and gave up 0 yards on another drive that ended in a field goal.

His largest gripe was with Chris Westry, who committed a targeting penalty that changed what would have been a third-down stop into the longest drive of the game. He wants the team to do “the little things”, although he also said he’s not too big on clichés.

As for the offense, he had more frustrations than he did with his ball-stoppers. Stoops said that “interceptions are going to happen”, but that the team can’t fumble the ball. They have to be secure, especially facing a tough team like Florida.

Although the competition is tougher, and all four of UK’s turnovers last week happened while Terry Wilson was the acting quarterback, the Cats still list him as their No. 1 option at the position, and Stoops said that he won’t be shortening any leashes, saying that “I don’t believe in a short leash for a quarterback.”

While talking about the quarterbacks, he was also asked to comment on Nick Saban’s remarks to ESPN reporter Maria Taylor after the Crimson Tide’s victory over Alabama. Saban, after being asked to compare his quarterbacks’ performance against Louisville, criticized Taylor for continuing to ask him about how his quarterbacks were playing, because he didn’t want to say anything negative about either of them.

Stoops joked, saying he couldn’t go after a reporter like that, but he also found something to relate to in what Saban said.

“I thought it was very poignant,’ Stoops said. “I don’t want to talk anything negative about either of our guys, any of our guys, including Danny [Clark]. So when people try to get you and ask you what one guy’s doing, it’s insinuating that the other one’s not doing it.”

Stoops then turned his attention toward Florida, a team with a brand new coaching staff and former Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen at the helm. Stoops said the team has been watching game film of Mississippi State, rather than Florida, so that the team can get a better hold of the schemes that the Gators may try to run.

The game against Florida will take place in Gainesville Sept. 8 at 7:30 p.m., and will air on SEC Network.