Mark Stoops Q&A: Nov. 16


Head coach Mark Stoops of the Kentucky Wildcats watches the Cats score a touchdown during the game against Vanderbilt University on Saturday, November 11, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. Kentucky won 44 to 21. Photo by Arden Barnes | Staff

Kernel Sports Staff

UK football head coach Mark Stoops met with media Thursday to discuss the upcoming game against Georgia.

Stoops: It’s been a good week of practice, really solid week, I really feel good about our team right now and the place we’re in, I think the guys really had a lot of bounce in their step and a good solid week and hopefully that’ll carry over to Saturday, we’re going to need to play our best this week.

Q: As we’ve seen Lynn [Bowden] get better on kickoff returns throughout the year, how big of a weapon can that be against a defense as good as Georgia’s?

Stoops: Yeah, all those yards are important. Any way you can get a possession is going to be important to get yards. We’re going to have to play solid in all of our special teams and kickoff returns is going to be big. It’s going to be tough because they have an excellent kicker; he puts good hang on it, you’re not going to get a ton of opportunities and when you do, they’ve got some dudes running down there, so kickoff return is going to be a real challenge.

Q: What do you see from Georgia’s rush defense? What makes them so effective?

Stoops: Their guys have been around and they’re big and stuff, but they’re playing really good fundamentally. Their front seven is as good as anybody in the country and they’re really playing with good technique. They mix it up and they’re big, strong guys.

Q: With the new early signing period next month, how much does that change your schedule that you didn’t have to deal with before and how much more work is it for you?

Stoops: It does change it quite a bit, we’ve actually been, as you know, we spend a lot of time with recruiting but we’ve had to spend a lot of time with recruiting organization this early, with planning our schedule, where we’re going, so it’s going to be busy weeks.

The nice thing this year, just the way the calendar fell, is we get three weeks to recruit, where last year it was two and a day or two. It’s nice to have the three weeks because you’re going to need to get in front of everybody with the early signing period, so it does change it here this year.

Q: With the players already committed, do you expect, across the country, for a lot of those guys to sign during that early signing period?

Stoops: Yes.

Q: Do you think that the coaches being fired mid-season, do you think that’s going to alter that at all? Is that something you guys have talked about? Maybe slow some guys down as they wait, maybe “Let’s see who gets here, who goes there”?

Stoops: Yeah, it could. I’m not sure. Yeah, it could, I’m not exactly sure. You know, this is our first go-around with that. So a lot of it is yet to be seen. I think by the twentieth, I would think most hires will be finalized, but I don’t know. You never know.

Q: You said on Monday that you’re pleased with the report you got on Kendall [Randolph], do you expect him to be full-go this week?

Stoops: Yes, I do.