Video by the Beez
By now, we have dissected UK’s disappointing loss to Western in a million ways, but before we move on, I want to share my two cents on one of the most disturbing things from Saturday: the team’s attitude. In his postgame press conference, Mark Stoops noted that his team didn’t seem quite as excited in the tunnel before the game as he thought they would:
“I wanted to see more excitement out of our team. I’ve talked about that a little bit. I wanted to see (that). Normally, you’re trying to calm guys down a little bit before games and before scrimmages, and there’s a fine line there. Like I said before, I don’t want that being fake. I want it being real.”
Thomas Beisner actually got a video of the team in the tunnel before they headed out, which you can see above. I think it’s interesting how Stoops and (I think) Derrick Ansley are trying to get the team even more pumped up before they ran onto the field. This was the first game of a new era for Kentucky. A fresh start. But judging from their demeanor before the game (even during the CatWalk, Za’Darius Smith seemed to be the only player happy and smiling), something was off. Bud Dupree said after the game that he thought the team was overconfident at the start of the game, and once Western came out of the gates firing, a feeling of dread set in:
“Everyone probably had that thought in their head, ‘Oh no, here we go again against Western Kentucky.’ We should have just played the way we have been practicing — like we prepared for the last two weeks. We really didn’t do that, so it’s our fault.”
Stoops has talked at length about rebuilding the team’s confidence from last season. I think Saturday showed us that might be a work in progress.