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UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY MEDIA CONFERENCE

August 31, 2014
INDIANA SPORTS PAGE



Mark Stoops

 

TENNESSEE AT MARTIN – 14
KENTUCKY - 59


COACH STOOPS:  Good start obviously.  Very pleased with the team's effort.  I felt good.  I felt like we really had a good attitude the last?? well, all through camp we've been working hard but I thought the last week or so guys were really focused and they were really energetic.  Just pleased with the start.  There's a lot to get corrected, but overall a lot of good things.

Q.  How important is the process for him to??
COACH STOOPS:  It's important.  It's important.  And I've said that, you know, earlier in the week, that it was important for our team and for our fan base and our administration, a lot of people that have worked awfully hard to push this program where we want it to go.
It was important to have a good start, for our team, I thought, and obviously, most importantly to our group and our team because they have worked hard.  They have bought in, they have believed in everything that we're feeding them.  Like I said, I really felt good about the energy and the enthusiasm and their focus.  So it was important to go out and play well.
And, you know, it was an opponent that we should go out and play well, and it was good to see that we did that.

Q.  Did you see the things that you expected to see out of??
COACH STOOPS:  Yeah, I did.  And he even turned it up another notch.  You guys have all heard me talk about that and talk about him, and I think you saw it out there today.
What I really liked about him was, obviously the interception was a fantastic play, but the way he triggered in the run game, and his reads were very correct and very quick.
And so when he pulled the trigger, it was on.  So really impressed with him.  You know, I talked about that and I talked about how he was going to help us and it was very evident today.

Q.  The two runs from Braylon??
COACH STOOPS:  I was disappointed it was only two runs.  He made a great move on that second one.  I don't know if you saw the replays or not but he eluded that last swipe and he twisted his ankle.  I hope it's nothing major.
But very disappointed for him and for us that that happened but I think what you saw with his two runs was just what we've been talking about.  Not only the ability, but those were?? in a way, routine plays, because it was blocked and he had the patience to say with it and do things that we're supposed to do. Maybe not take it all the way but there were plays and yards that he doesn't get antsy and jump out of there and stays with his progression and stays with his read and executes the way we're supposed to.

Q.  What did you think of Patrick?
COACH STOOPS:  I was very pleased with Patrick.  Very happy for him.
The big thing was, to me, he was very poised and he made very good decisions.  You know, we know he has the talent to get the ball down the field.  I think it was important for him to be efficient in the intermediate area and I thought he did that.  He missed a couple, but overall, just very pleased with his poise.  Made one or two bad decisions and was nice that he bounced right back and made good decisions, and so it's going to happen.  He needed to play and play well, so it was good.

Q.  Do you feel like maybe you got pushed around a little bit up front?
COACH STOOPS:  I don't know if “pushed around” is the right word.  It was aggravating at times, and then it was great to see once you're getting aggravated and you're getting milked a little bit down the field, the guys step up and get a turnover.
So that part of it was fantastic.  Late in the game, it was aggravating, but that's where we're at.  We're not deep.  I think in the first half, they had a hundred yards and there was just a few aggravating drives that were scratching us a little bit and we buckled down and got out of there.
The second half we got down in the twos and threes and we're just not there yet.  That's how it was all last year, very aggravating.

Q.  Do you work on condition, playing 11 straight snaps on that series??
COACH STOOPS:  That's good, I didn't realize that.  That's good.  He needs it.  But I know it's hard for me to just watch one person in there.  But I know he did some good things, and you know, and some bad things.  He's a work?in?progress like I said but it was a good start for him.

Q.  The double teams, he tried to plow ??
COACH STOOPS:  Yeah, I think when he's directly over center, he's very disruptive.  He needs to learn how to play when he's shaded a little bit in our throw down stuff.

Q.  What did you think of your first?time guys?
COACH STOOPS:  I was pleased.  I was pleased with the first?time guys.  I think was one play that jumped out at me.  I think Ramsey got beat quickly, but other than that, I didn't notice them.  They were executing the offense and we were down one tackle, you know, still played very well in the O?line.
So I was very pleased with that.  I was very pleased with the young guys in general.  You can see the ability of some of the guys that we've been talking about, all the freshmen running backs, the freshmen wide receivers looked very poised out there and made some good plays.  Overall, pleased.  Kendall Randolph did a nice job.  He played a few snaps and played well.

Q.  The receivers, the young ones, what you particularly liked about them?
COACH STOOPS:  To me what was great to see?? you know, it was just like they just went out there and played, and that's what they have been doing since they have been here.
Obviously we know the venues are going to get bigger and bigger, bigger games and tougher opponents and things like that.  But still they need to mature and get better and we know that.  But I can just tell their mentality that they are ready to play, and so that was good.
Like I said, the environment wasn't too big.  They weren't rattled at all.  They just went out there and played ball.  Sometimes it looks routine, but like I told you many times since I've been here, we didn't always make the routine plays look routine.

Q.  Going up against another opponent early in the season??
COACH STOOPS:  Oh, yeah, we know what we're up against, but our guys have a good mentality.  They are very positive and they have been that way for some time.  We're worried about ourselves and our program and what we're doing to get better.

Q.  Is there one thing today that really stood out and made you happy?
COACH STOOPS:  I just think ?? really just clean.  I think they were just ?? it was relatively clean.  Probably late in the game maybe it gets a little frustrating, sloppy.
But the first half, I was pleased.  We came out and we wanted to start fast.  We did.  The guys were very energetic, but yet we went out and played with good poise and that's where?? that was good to see.  You know, I would definitely want to say, load and giddyap.  So they had a good attitude about it.

Q.  With the competition so high??
COACH STOOPS:  Significant.  Significant.  Good football team and well?coached.

Q.  At half?time, 20 new guys had made their debut and you're looking out there, do you feel you're coaching a completely different team today?
COACH STOOPS:  Yeah, definitely.  And it is, and it's certainly different.
Again, I think whether it was young guys or older guys getting better, it was nice to see guys making ball plays and just doing some things that just, you know, going up over somebody, making a catch, running backs making people miss, O?line getting some big holes in there.  So that I was pleased with.


Q.  Are you disappointed to redshirt him??
COACH STOOPS:  Possibly.  He tweaked a hamstring about a week ago or a few days ago, sometime this week.  But we may redshirt him.

Q.  Clemons (ph) is playing or not playing?
COACH STOOPS:  You know, there's a lot of guys that were getting some reps and getting some other guys in the mix.  He'll get in there and he'll continue to work in the rotation.

Q.  Was he in it or was he just not ?? inaudible.
COACH STOOPS:  I'm not sure how many snaps he had, but no, he started in one of our packages, and as many reps as we were in there, he was the starter.  I'm not sure of the exact number at all.

Q.  How important was it getting the interceptions?  You didn't get that many last year in DBs.
COACH STOOPS:  It was important.  It was good.  It was good to see.  You know, I got very creative there when we designed have very fancy defense and went out there and made that play (Laughter).  I did.  I taught them how to go at one hand and grab that. (Laughter) That's how we drew it up?? (Laughter).

Q.  The linebackers going into this?? how did it look to you?
COACH STOOPS:  We made some mistakes but they will get better.  They have what it takes athletically.  You know, there were some mistakes that we'll definitely need to correct but we'll play well.  We'll get them corrected, and that's why we get out there this that first game and play and able to overcome them and eventually we won't be able to, so we just have to keep honing in on that.

Q.  Seems quiet today ?? is that a good thing for you?
COACH STOOPS:  It is, but you would suspect that.  This group, they were smart.  They were getting rid of the ball quick.  Any time they were backed up, they were getting a screen or they were getting a draw.  They were well?coached.  They knew they would have a hard time blocking those guys and they weren't going to let them get there.  So that's part of it for him and that's a compliment.

Q.  You were pretty careful to manage expectations last year.  How much optimism are you allowing?
COACH STOOPS:  That's a good question.  I think I've been saying all along that we're better.  I think it was privy evident today we were better.  Watching our team practice the other day and watching our offense go up and down the field on air, it's evident they were better.
I've said it over and over again, there were times when we couldn't do the basics; and we are significantly better, and we're significantly getting better playmakers.
So I have a lot of optimism.  I don't know, we always take it one day at a time and one week at a time.  Again, I know that's boring, but we're 1?30 and excited about that and look forward to get back to work and prepare to get one next week.

Q.  The old football adage?? week one, week two?? do you expect that to happen?
COACH STOOPS:  I do, because that first game, there's so much unknown.  And again, I've said this, I'm a second?year head coach but I've been an assistant for a long, long time and it's always like that as an assistant or a head coach.
You never really truly know what you have.  It's good to get that first game and get out there and play and see how they are going to handle things and see what it's like in a game day environment.  I do think we are going to improve.

Q.  Patrick's demeanor and leadership on the sideline, what do you think of that?
COACH STOOPS:  Very good.  Just like?? you know, I was just very pleased with that and with his heritage, you would expect that.  He just was very poised.  He's been like that for some time.
You know, I think he's told you that and you'll talk to him I think here in a bit, but he went back, did the work.  He's prepared really well.  He feels very confident and just was letting it go, and just running the offense.  That was just really good to see.  I thought he had a lot of poise and he played very well.

Q.  Were you happy when you got them two picks??
COACH STOOPS:  I was happy, yeah.  (Laughter).


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