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Four Days Later and Stoops is Still Fired Up

stoops presser


“Stupid is as stupid does.” That quote should bring you right to Forrest Gump, but for Mark Stoops, his team’s performance last Thursday is probably the first thing that comes to mind. After seeing steady improvement through the school’s toughest 4-game stretch in history, Coach Stoops believed his team didn’t play smart enough when they needed to, “we need to be a smarter football team. We’re not very smart at times, and we need to execute in critical situations.”

Playing the same fiddle week in and week out, Stoops’ squad can’t seem to get over the hump when it matters most, “yeah, it’s a little bit redundant,” Stoops said, “I talk about that a lot, and it’s frustrating.  Gets a little bit old talking about that.  But we need to execute better and we need to play smarter.  Those are things we can control.”

The frustration couldn’t be hidden by Stoops, speaking sternly and uncharacteristically entering the presser with a cup of coffee. After spending the weekend boiling over the loss, the proverbial pot boiled over when he talked about the blown assignment by Avery on 3rd and long on MSU’s last drive late in the 4th quarter. What followed was 30 seconds of fast-talking, hard-hitting ‘coach-speak’ about defensive deficiencies in key situations. Not long after, Stoops had to have a question repeated, “I’m sorry, I was distracted.”

What gets at Stoops most is the fact that these are plays that they can control. They couldn’t keep the referee from throwing the bogus offsides flag on the onside kick, but Za’Darius could and should have sacked Prescott in the backfield before allowing a 60-yard touchdown. Despite brain farts from time to time the team continues to fight through adversity. Stoops has set the tone, assuring there is never a lapse in effort, but there are still too many plays left on the field because of mental lapses and failures in execution:

“Well, I don’t need to go back to the tirade a couple weeks ago, do they?  They’re going to get called out if they don’t â€‘‑ that’s just the way it is.  It’s not acceptable, it’s not okay.  We’re â€‘‑ there’s nowhere to hide.  And if they do, they’ll get called out in front of their team, and I don’t see that anymore.  I really don’t.  I see us needing to play smarter and executing better.  I see us growing in that regard.  So I’m not disappointed.”

It’s tough for everyone involved to bounce back after weeks of losing, but the team has no time to waste before facing a team that has won six consecutive games. A lot will ride on the play (or lack of play) from Jalen Whitlow. Jalen has a bruised AC joint in his shoulder to complement his ankle injury, but Stoops did not hide his demands from his #1 QB today, “I see it as a guy that’s leading a program in the SEC and I see other SEC players banged up and leading their team to victory, don’t you?  That’s what we need to do.” Hopefully Jalen won’t need to pull a Connor Shaw-esque 4th quarter comeback against an FCS team, but Stoops is tired of the same-ole same-ole, looking to Whitlow to lead the team to its fullest potential.


Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

15 responses to “Four Days Later and Stoops is Still Fired Up”

  1. Sectvdeal

    Love the fire by this coach and staff. Holding everyone accountable is a great way to find out who can and wants to play.

  2. classof68

    Stoops is seeing the bone head plays that we fans have witnessed for decades. Talent is one thing, but playing stupid at critical times is something UK has excelled in. I like the fact he’s not happy, even tho they are improving over last year.

  3. Georgia Blue

    Talent is one thing, but Football Knowledge and a HighFootball IQ is another. We lapse when it come to this especially on 3rd down on both side of the ball. On Defense its amazing how we don’t acknowledge their playmakers on offense or recognize the yard for them to get a first down. We let players run across the middlie without bumping them or knocking them off their routes. We need to understand and study the game and film more. We play off to far on receiver and allow them to catch ball without CHALLENGING THEM. We ran out of bound twice instead of turning up and get the 1st down that could have kept a drive going.

  4. Catlogic15

    Kids are playing very hard, but I’m not seeing the “steady improvement”.

  5. RealCatsFan

    Mental lapses like we have been seeing are a sign of a young an inexperienced team – and coaching staff, for that matter. I think we will see major improvements in both in the coming years as they gain valuable experience. Yep, it’s tough times right now, but I have faith that a solid foundation is being laid, and with the best recruiting class in UK football history coming in, I see better times ahead.


    love stoops!!!!!!!! love the staff!!!!! keeping it real with the players!!!

  7. hooters

    Just saw highlights on ESPN ala. St. Wr making a spectacular catch. This could be an interesting game.Go Cats!

  8. Cousin Craig

    Talent issues aside, Neal Brown has been atrocious! I hope he addresses his play calling internally.

  9. niaps

    #8 I agree totally. Not just last game but just about every game this year.

  10. Skittles

    When you have a QB that has limited arm strength and throws ducks, the defense sits on the screen passes, so unless we get good QB play from Whitlow, how can we blame Brown?

  11. Dallas Fan

    Until the QB situation is improved, I am giving Brown and Stoops a pass on play calling. You can’t ask a plow horse to run in the Derby. You can’t ask Max Smith to throw precision passes of more than 4 yards.

  12. Play calling

    If a qb can throw a 12 yard screen pass to the far side of the field, he can throw a 12 yard pass doen the field. The play calling sucks!!

  13. carnifex

    @ 12

    But Smith or Whitlow CAN’T throw it 12 yards in any direction. That’a the problem. A MAC O-line doesn’t help. And to top it off, we have 3 years of Joker coaching to purge.

    I’m disappointed in the loses, but not out right embarrassed like I was with last years Joker Squad. You’re being willfully obtuse if you don’t see the improvement in this ball team.

  14. coach

    carnifex is absolutely right. How many times did we see Smith throw the ball over the receiver’s head on a four yard screen out pass? The OC is absolutely limited. If you have problems with draw plays against a stacked box on third and long, I’ll agree with you there though.

  15. Season ticket holder since 1962.

    Play Calling has had mistakes on both sides of the ball. But the call in the Miss. State game
    where on 4th. down and 9 to go we call a Q. B. (Who was at best had only one good leg) to run up the

    No I have not made a comment on any of your surveys. But you run the show.