UK Football practice report: Sept. 21


Kentucky Wildcats head coach Mark Stoops coaches up Mike Edwards during the open practice at the Joe Craft Football Training Facility on Saturday, August 5, 2017 in Lexington, KY. Photo by Addison Coffey | Staff

Thursday, UK Football head coach Mark Stoops took to the podium to talk to the media for the last time before the Cats face No. 20 Florida on Saturday.

“The guys seem pretty locked in, it’s been a pretty solid week,” Stoops said.

Stoops confirmed that All-SEC linebacker Jordan Jones will sit out of the high-stakes game with the shoulder injury he suffered two weeks ago against Eastern Kentucky. No timeline for his return has yet been given by Stoops.

The run defense was a very big focal point for Stoops, as he cited data that he has that says, “If you rush the ball for one more yard than your opponent in SEC games last year, you had an 80 percent chance of winning,” according to Stoops. The Cats currently boast the third-best run defense in the nation, allowing less than 100 yards on the ground in every game this season.

Stoops also said this years Gators are a “typical Florida team” because of their speed and ability to change direction quickly on the offensive end. “There’s guys that can really run and change direction and make big plays.”

All week, the Cats have been praised for their excellent play up to this point in the season, and have been favored to win by some sports analysts and media members. Stoops said that his team has been largely unaffected by this, describing this week of practice as like any other week.

However, when a reporter suggested that one of the UK players said that the Cats were going to win, Stoops wanted to make sure of his team’s mentality heading into the weekend.

“Who said that? I didn’t hear that,” Stoops said. “They shouldn’t be saying that. We’re going to prepare our butts off, that’s what we’re going to do. There’s no guarantees.”

Stoops seemed adamant in finding out which of his players said that the Cats were going to win the battle on Saturday, asking the same reporter again at the end of the press conference which of his players said it.

“Playing between the lines is going to win the game,” Stoops said.

The Cats will face Florida on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.