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Kentucky Can’t Let One Loss Turn Into Two

Kentucky Can’t Let One Loss Turn Into Two

After Kentucky’s loss to Georgia ended SEC Championship Game dreams, Mark Stoops had a clear message for his team.  “We can’t make this loss turn into two.”

The stakes are not as high as they were a week ago, but Kentucky can still have a “dream” ten-win season.  It has been 40 years since Kentucky finished a season with ten or more wins.

A road trip to Knoxville stands in Kentucky’s way.  To make sure there isn’t a setback at Neyland Stadium next Saturday, UK’s leaders must get the team’s attention on Monday.

“You let them lean on the leaders of this football team,” Stoops said. “The guys, they are good in there. We got beat tonight, and we have to regroup and go about our business. We have strong leaders in there and I anticipate that we’ll be ready to go.”

Eddie Gran echoed Stoops’ sentiment.  “One can’t be two. It’s where your leaders step up and you come to work on Monday better than you did last Monday.”

A.J. Rose is confident that will not be a problem.

“This loss is over with.  Tomorrow is Sunday.  We’re on to Tennessee, preparing for that week.  We can’t let this happen again.  We’ve got a goal.  We came short of that goal but we still want to finish the SEC strong.”

A strong SEC finish could put Kentucky in a New Year’s Six Bowl.  Florida’s loss to Missouri all but solidifies UK’s second-place finish in the SEC East.  If Kentucky continues to fight, like they did when they fell behind 28-3, the Big Blue Nation will experience something special at the end of the year.

“They’re competing.  The want to finish,” Gran said.  “They want to finish this season.”


TRANSCRIPT: Mark Stoops after the loss to Georgia

HEAD COACH MARK STOOPS: Really you have to give credit to Georgia. They beat us in all phases. Really played a good football game. There’s many things we will take from this. We can learn an awful lot.

Definitely was not our best effort. Not for lack of trying, but our team really had a good week of preparation and were excited to play. We did not execute at times. At times we got out manned. We missed more tackles than I could remember. Didn’t execute a few things.

But you’ve got to give them credit. You’ve heard me talk for many times and they are sitting there, if they rush for 300-yards plus, you’re not going to win very games. Obviously we have to get back and fundamentally get better.

I thought they moved us. They made us miss. They did a nice job with their pinch sets, bouncing it. Our run support, a lot of things we can do better, and again, a lot of that has to do with them. That’s why they do that to a lot of people. What they do is complicated and it’s difficult to defend with some athletes that they have in space. We’ll get better. Our team will get back on track and we’ll be excited to get back to work on Monday.

Q. Does this loss hurt a little bit more than the other one, compared to what was at stake for this game and all the hype leading up to it?
HEAD COACH MARK STOOPS: Of course. Any time you invest as much as we do into these games and put ourselves in that position, it’s going to hurt. You know, that’s what I told the team. We invested a lot, and I understand that. But we can’t, one, make this loss turn into two.

So we have to get back to work and regroup and be committed on Monday.

Q. After Darius West was ejected, I noticed that you took him around your arms you and were talking to him and you want to mention what you were saying to him?
HEAD COACH MARK STOOPS: No, I mean, that’s — I don’t even recall all of it to be honest with you. Darius is a great kid and he’s poured his heart into it, and he’s an emotional guy. Just wanted to put my arm around him and make sure he regrouped himself, and you know, go the to the locker room and got everything under control. Don’t remember exactly what I said.

Q. How encouraging to see the team continue to fight when they went down 28-3?
HEAD COACH MARK STOOPS: That doesn’t surprise me. The fight is there. We’ve got to do some things better. The long run, really, that one really broke it open, and there are some things — they do a nice job with their cracking and we were filling off that. Just give them a little space. You know, they are difficult. They are very physical and all those yards just don’t come from that. They get the movement and then they did a nice job with cracks and then they are so fast. There’s a little bit of room there and they are ripping off some big runs. It’s not just pushing you around inside. What they do and how they scheme it, it’s good. You have to be very precise.

Q. I’m looking at the video of the ejection right now and it looked like the ref initiated contact. Did you say something to him?
HEAD COACH MARK STOOPS: I really don’t think it’s wise for me to comment on that. Again, I don’t know. I didn’t see anything. I have no idea. But you know, I’ll put it this way, I know Bunchy’s heart and I know he’s an emotional guy and I don’t think he was trying to be disrespectful. But if he put his hand and tried to grab for whatever reason, you can’t do that.

Again, if he did that, if he touched him in any way, even if he’s emotional, I don’t think he meant it in a disrespectful way, let’s put it that way. I know Bunchy and I know where his heart’s at, and the rule is the rule.

Q. This is the first time your team had been in position — do you think that played any factor at all?
HEAD COACH MARK STOOPS: I don’t know. I think our team, you know, all week had great preparation. I thought we stayed in our routine against a very, very good team like that, you have to execute extremely precise along with being athletic, physical, all the things that they do and they have done. They have explosive guys on both sides of the line of scrimmage. You know, both sides. You have to play better.

So I think our team is very experienced and we put ourselves to play in games and we will continue to learn.

Q. The tackles — how much of that was because of the ability —
HEAD COACH MARK STOOPS: You’ve got to give them credit. There’s a lot of one-on-one situations that happened out there and the speed with which they have definitely is difficult to defend. It’s one of the reasons why they have been Top-5 team the past two years.

(more…)


Stoops on Bunchy Stallings’ ejection

Offensive lineman Bunchy Stallings was ejected from today’s game for touching an official, although the replay suggests the referee initiated the contact. After the game, Stoop said he hasn’t had time to review the tape, but knows Bunchy didn’t mean any harm.

“I really don’t think it’s wise for me to comment on that,” Stoops said. “Again, if he — I don’t know. I didn’t see anything. I have no idea. I’ll put it this way. I know Bunchy’s heart and he’s an emotional guy and I don’t think he wasn’t trying to be disrespectful. But if he put his hand and tried to grab or for whatever reason, you can’t do that. Again, if he did that, if he touched him in any way, even if he’s emotional — I don’t think he meant it in a disrespectful way, let’s put it that way. I know Bunchy, I know where his heart’s at. The rule is the rule. I didn’t see it.”

Thankfully, unlike his teammate Darius West, Bunchy will NOT have to sit out the first half of next week’s game at Tennessee. Phew.


Stoops: “We missed more tackles than I can remember”

Stoops: “We missed more tackles than I can remember”

If you’re looking for reason number one Kentucky lost to Georgia, Mark Stoops has it: missed tackles. Stoops lamented about the number of errors by his defense multiple times throughout the postgame press conference.

“This one hurts,” Stoops said. “Really have to give credit to Georgia; they beat us in all phases. We’ll learn a lot from this. We did not execute at times, at times we got outmanned. We missed more tackles than I can remember.”

Georgia had 331 rushing yards to Kentucky’s 84, the key stat of the night. The Cats are normally great against the run, but had no answer for D’Andre Swift (156 rushing yards, 2 touchdowns) and Elijah Holyfield (115 rushing yards, 1 touchdown). What is it about Georgia running backs?

“If they rush for 300-plus yards, you’re not going to win very many games,” Stoops said. “There’s a lot of things we can do better and again, a lot of that has to do with them. That’s why they do that to a lot of people. What they do is complicated and it’s difficult to defend with athletes that they have in space. We’ll get better. Our team will get back on track.”

Many people are asking if the moment was too big for Kentucky today; Stoops said he liked his team’s preparation but not their execution.

“I don’t know. I think our team, all week had great preparation. We stayed in our routine. Against a very, very good team like that, have to execute and be extremely precise along with being athletic and physical and all the things they do and they have. They have explosive guys on both sides of the line of scrimmage. You have to play better.”

Beat Tennessee.


LIVE: Mark Stoops recaps the loss to Georgia

LIVE: Mark Stoops recaps the loss to Georgia

Mark Stoops is about to address reporters about Kentucky’s 34-17 loss to Georgia. Tune in below courtesy of our friends at KyWildcatsTV:


Georgia Spoils Kentucky’s Fun in 34-17 Win

Georgia Spoils Kentucky’s Fun in 34-17 Win

It was fun while it lasted.  Kentucky’s dreams of an SEC Eastern division title were smashed by a powerful Georgia offense.

The Bulldogs scored more points than any team has scored against UK’s defense all season, thanks to a versatile rushing attack.  Elijah Holyfield bruised away before D’Andre Swift broke free.  The Dawgs gained 332 yards on the ground, too much for the Cats to keep up.

The tide began to turn against Kentucky in the first half.  Facing a third and four from the six yard-line, the Cats needed to capitalize with a touchdown.  Instead, a false start made it a third and long, a third down that resulted in a sack.  Kentucky missed an incredible scoring opportunity.  All the while, Georgia capitalized on every UK mistake.

Georgia controlled most of the game, but UK refused to give up.  Down 28-3, UK’s offense continued to attack.  The Cats scored twice, but it was too little too late (even though A.J. Rose’s touchdown was absolutely incredible).

To miss out on such a rare opportunity hurts.  To say otherwise would be a lie.  However, you gotta tip your cap to Georgia.  They’re ranked sixth for a reason.  Even though Kentucky will not play in an SEC Championship Game in 2018, they can still win ten games and finish a memorable season in a New Year’s bowl game.

It was a fun week in the Big Blue Nation. The only thing missing was a happy ending .


Darius West and Bunchy Stallings ejected from the game

Two of Kentucky’s key players were ejected from Saturday’s game against Georgia.

First, safety Darius West was sent to the locker room for targeting. The penalty occurred in the beginning of the second half, so West will have to sit out the first half of the Tennessee game next week.

Then later in the half, offensive lineman Bunchy Stallings was kicked out of the game for making contact with an unofficial, a penalty the Cats know all too well. As was the case with Benny Snell in last season’s Music City Bowl, the “contact” in question looked pretty innocent.

Stallings’ punishment will not carry over into next week.


UK vs. Georgia halftime stats and Benny Snell injury update, presented by Liquor Barn

UK vs. Georgia halftime stats and Benny Snell injury update, presented by Liquor Barn

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It’s halftime in Lexington and Kentucky trails Georgia 14-3. Things could definitely be worse for the Cats, who would be down more if not for two crucial fumble recoveries by Josh Allen. That man is amazing.

Meanwhile, some major concern on offense as Benny Snell limped off the field late in the second quarter. According to the radio broadcast, Benny has a rolled ankle, which will be taped up so he can return in the second half.

That’s a good thing because the Cats need him. They’re still in it, but can’t afford any mistakes if they hope to make an epic rally.

Your halftime stats…

 

 


UK vs. Georgia LIVE BLOG, presented by Liquor Barn

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Live Blog UK vs. Georgia LIVE BLOG, presented by Liquor Barn
 


Five things you need to know about Jake Fromm

Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Here are five things you need to know about Georgia’s sophomore quarterback…

He was committed to the University of Alabama

Fromm was originally committed to Alabama. After Kirby Smart was named the head coach at Georgia, he flipped his commitment to his in-state school. Fromm is from Warner Robins, Ga.

He led Georgia to the College Football Championship as a true freshman

Fromm was not the starting quarterback last season. He entered Georgia’s season opener against Appalachian State after Jacob Easton suffered an injury. The rest was history.

In Georgia’s 15 games, including the two bowl games, he completed 181 of 291 passes for 2,615 yards, 24 touchdowns. He also rushed for 79 yards and three touchdowns.

He has twin brothers

Fromm has younger twin brothers, Dylan and Tyler. Dylan plays quarterback for Mercer and Tyler plays tight end for Auburn.

@FrommJake

He got a fishing lure stuck in his leg

Over the summer, Fromm got a fishing lure stuck in his leg.

The following picture might be a little gross, so be prepared.

His Twitter name is amazing

I have to give credit when credit is due. Fromm deserves credit for his Twitter name: JakefromStateFrom. Playing off the Jake from State Farm commercial is creative and smart.

 

Go cats.

 


Go Inside the Kentucky-Georgia Cat Walk

Go Inside the Kentucky-Georgia Cat Walk

It’s a Party outside of Kroger Field.

Thousands of fans gathered outside of the stadium to greet the team before they take on Georgia for the SEC East title.  Enjoy the chaos from the players’ perspective.

If you don’t like it close up, here’s what it looked like from above.


WATCH: Tim Tebow, Marcus Spears, and Laura Rutledge talk with KSR about Kentucky vs. Georgia

SEC Nation is in town to break down the much-anticipated matchup between the Kentucky Wildcats and the Georgia Bulldogs, and the KSR crew got the chance to hear from some of the biggest names of the group.

Tim Tebow, Marcus Spears, and Laura Rutledge talked to a few media folks on Friday afternoon about the state of the Kentucky football program, the hype around Lexington, and the keys to victory for the Wildcats.

Take a look at their comments below:

Go Cats.


Tim Tebow says the 2018 UK Football squad can do something the beloved 2007 group could not: sustain success

Photo: Getty Images

Back in 2007, the Kentucky Wildcats took the college football world by storm under head coach Rich Brooks. They marched their way into the top-ten of the polls, defeating elite opponents in No. 1 LSU and No. 9 Louisville, both at home. Quarterback Andre Woodson worked his way into Heisman contention and broke team records, the Wildcat offense had weapons all over the field, the defense had numerous future NFL players, etc.

It was a team the Big Blue Nation rallied behind, arguably the biggest fan-favorite of the last two decades. “Believe” was the team’s slogan, and the fanbase did just that every game along the way.

KSR talked to one of the biggest enemies of the program during that era, Tim Tebow, about the difference he sees in the 2007 Kentucky team he played against and the 2018 team he’s covering as an analyst for the SEC Network.

The two-time NCAA champion and Heisman trophy winner says the 2007 squad was loaded with talent, competing against the best of the best each week.

“That was a very good Kentucky Football team,” Tebow said. “They had firepower offensively. They had a few very good defensive players. We’re talking about a team with several players that were standouts in the NFL. A very good quarterback. That same Kentucky team, I think two weeks after we beat them, they beat LSU, who won the national championship. That’s a Kentucky team that week in, week out competed with the best in the country. And I think this team does that as well.”

Kentucky’s 2018 team, however, is a product of coaching longevity and elite development. As a result, we will see more of a consistent product year after year than that of the Rich Brooks era. They’ll be able to sustain that success from the start of the year to the end, something the 2007 squad could not accomplish.

“This team is a bit more run heavy, defense heavy,” Tebow said. “Now with more of the facilities, with Stoops, someone who has been here, I don’t think there’s going to be the highs and the lows that have been here. In 2007, that was such a competitive game, we maybe won 45-38, something like that? And then in 2008, I think we scored 70. So it’s like, where is that disconnect from 2007 to 2008 for that Kentucky team?”

Tebow had the timeline mixed up a bit, as the LSU upset victory actually came the week before Kentucky’s 45-37 loss to Florida on October 20. He wasn’t far off on the 70-point outing the year after, as the Gators defeated the Wildcats 63-5 in 2008. Regardless, the point remains; we saw the extremes, both good and bad, throughout the Rich Brooks era. An era with so much promise, especially with the 2007 squad, saw some of the best victories and worst defeats you can find.

That being said, the former Florida star believes those highs and lows are gone under Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops.

That’s not going to be the case here with Coach Stoops, (one) because of the way he coaches defense, (two) the way he develops players, and (three) the schemes they run. I think that’s the difference between the Kentucky now and the Kentucky then,” he said.

And that’s no disrespect to the talented 2007 unit. The former Gator believes that team deserves an incredible amount of respect, even if their season fizzled out toward the end.

“But don’t take away from those (2007) players,” he said. “They had some really good players.”

With a victory this afternoon, the 2018 Wildcats will tie the 2007 group in total wins and surpass their regular-season mark of seven total. They will do what the Woodson-led team could not with a win: Take home the SEC East crown and take on the best of the West in the SEC Championship.