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Exasperated Mark Stoops Avoids Excuses After Alabama Loss

Photo by UK Athletics

Photo by UK Athletics

The psychological toll from a lengthy, pandemic-plagued season filled with heartbreak is weighing heavily on the Kentucky football team. The collective trauma from John Schlarman’s death and the strenuous COVID-19 protocols culminated with a 60-point loss at Alabama.

Days after suffering the worst loss of his Kentucky tenure, Mark Stoops repeatedly said he does not want to make excuses. When push came to shove, he had to be frank.

“What’s that word you put in front of show? It’s a blank-show,” Stoops said to refrain from explicitly calling this season a shit-show. “I don’t have coaches, whatever. I don’t even want to say it because I don’t want anybody attacking me for excuses. It sucks. It’s very difficult and it’s very difficult to pick your players up each and every day but we’re going to try our best and we’re going to continue to fight and again, we will be there. We’ll play. There’s issues that we’re dealing with, but we’ll be there.”

Stoops will not make excuses for himself. He’s an adult who gets compensated very well for his effort and energy. It’s a different story for his young players who have never encountered adversity like this before and are asked to stay the course and continue to grind on the gridiron during such a difficult time.

“I’m paid to handle this and to run the program. That’s for darn sure; nobody’s going to feel sorry for me and I’m not worried about that. But it is difficult for the players. There’s no getting around that. A very, very difficult and trying week, trying year, but it is what it is, no excuses. We need to play better than we did. The players, I do feel for them. They’ve had to deal with a lot, no question. They’ve been down coaches. I’ve been down to two to three offensive coaches since the Tennessee game. We’re down players. We practice all week with certain players and find out on Friday they can’t play. It’s difficult. It’ difficult on them. They’ve had to deal with a lot. John Schlarman was close to everybody on this team and I think our team did as best they could at responding to difficult times.”

It’s not going to get any easier anytime soon. Kentucky travels to The Swamp this Saturday to take on Florida’s Heisman Trophy candidate Kyle Trask who leads the nation’s top-ranked passing offense.

“We definitely need to hit the reset button,” Stoops said. “There were things out of our control last week. Again, absolutely no excuses, but as far as our players’ mentality, we have to hit reset and get back to playing the way we’re capable of. We’re excited about us and our play and that we can have a normal week and get back on track.”

This week is normal, for now. Six COVID-19 tests stand in Kentucky’s way of finishing the regular season. Reaching the finish line has not and will not be effortless. No matter what happens, Stoops will do his best to rally the troops without making excuses.

“We’re not gonna run and hide around here. We’re going to play if we can,” Stoops added.

“There’s nobody that really cares about the extenuating circumstances. We don’t as a staff either. It is what it is. We have to go out and do a better job and we will. I anticipate that our players will respond. We’ll have a good week of practice and we’ll go out and play hard. I’ll tell you, there were a lot of players that played extremely hard against a very talented team. I appreciate the effort of certain guys, that’s for sure. There’s nobody giving up around here. There’s going to be guys going out there and playing extremely hard. We’re going to coach extremely hard and we’re going to get better.

“We’ll get through this. We’ve been through difficult times before. We’ll get through it again.”


Article written by Nick Roush

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

19 Comments for Exasperated Mark Stoops Avoids Excuses After Alabama Loss

  1. dhard
    2:42 pm November 23, 2020 Permalink

    What kind of excuse can you give for a 60 point thrashing that wasn’t as close as what the score indicated? Try running an offense that isn’t so freaking predictable.

    • GoCatz
      2:46 pm November 23, 2020 Permalink

      I dont believe in kicking a man when he’s down….but does it sound like he is saying “no excuses” as he gives excuses?

  2. duner
    2:46 pm November 23, 2020 Permalink

    For someone who said he was making excuses he sure made a lot of them.

  3. original slappy
    2:56 pm November 23, 2020 Permalink

    The fans have given up. We may only be competitive in the final game but I’m not holding my breath for that one either

  4. blueblood80
    3:01 pm November 23, 2020 Permalink

    UK football was overhyped all summer by KSR and other sports media – and we took the bait. We have no QB who can zip a pass downfield. Doesn’t matter, the receivers can’t create separation, much less catch the ball anyway! Now, with basketball teams Tenn., Fl., and Miss. all postponing this weeks games, it looks like there will be NO COLLEGE BASKETBALL SEASON. Hey, we are always top 5 in rifle season so there’s something to look forward to – oh crap, I forgot that sport was cancelled in March. What a nightmare Covid has created…..

  5. channell
    3:09 pm November 23, 2020 Permalink

    I’ve said it before and I will again. The season is lost. Why not play the future QB of UK football. Let him gain game experience. Why do Ky have to play a run game all the time. That’s what the opposition plans for.

    • oldfanallin
      3:20 pm November 23, 2020 Permalink

      Yes. Every TW – Joey snap is wasted.

    • bigbowdennation
      3:30 pm November 23, 2020 Permalink

      The season is nowhere near what we expected and has been largely a failure but it’s not lost. If we give up now and lose out plus lose the bowl game (no win limits on bowl games this year so every sec team minus vandy probably getting one) we finish 3-8. If we beat South Carolina, get a month to reset and win our bowl game, we finish 5-6. Again 5-6 is a hell of a lot worse than we had hoped for this year, but it’s still much better than 3-8. The season isn’t lost, they still need to play to win. Hopefully we have a normal offseason with spring practice to prep Allen for next year.

  6. blueballs80
    3:11 pm November 23, 2020 Permalink

    On the bright side UT is also a dumpster fire and was ranked no 14 during pre season. Marrow was also responsible for the hype train that we should have been ranked and we are disrespected and man was he way off.

    • oldfanallin
      3:18 pm November 23, 2020 Permalink

      gain respect by winning, win against better teams, gain more respect. Simple. You are who your record says you are.

  7. bbn606
    3:30 pm November 23, 2020 Permalink

    And for all of the reasons mentioned, this is why the NCAA has granted an extra year of eligibility due to COVID.

    • bigbowdennation
      3:33 pm November 23, 2020 Permalink

      That is the one bright spot in all this, that playing Beau Allen here and there hasn’t hurt his eligibility. I just pray for a normal offseason with spring practice so Allen can be ready next season.

  8. goteam94
    3:40 pm November 23, 2020 Permalink

    Overhyped for sure. Our QB WR room is one of the worst in the league. The run game will not win you games against the elite. Especially when that’s all you have.

  9. BluKudzu
    3:58 pm November 23, 2020 Permalink

    Reality folks. I do not think this is Stoops worse loss. I think that goes back to when WKU kicked our butt, and the Hilltoppers on the sidelines were laughing and saying Dey ‘posed to be SEC.

  10. 4burgoo
    4:45 pm November 23, 2020 Permalink

    Have we not seen this building for years? Our players have overcome the poor coaching and won a lot of games anyway. Now, against well coached teams every week it’s blatantly obvious that our coaches are nothing more than nice guys but are certainly not SEC-caliber. The frustration from Stoops is because he has no idea how to fix anything or how to best align our players and their talents for success. Might be time for an amicable separation and get a coach that is capable of getting us to Atlanta for the championship game.

  11. ukyelecteng
    5:56 pm November 23, 2020 Permalink

    You would think they would have learned not to overhype Kentucky football.

  12. Ty
    6:45 pm November 23, 2020 Permalink

    Stoops and his troops have given us a real Thanksgiving feast to be thankful for. This past Saturday we ate crow and this coming Saturday there will be humble pie for dessert.

  13. Looother
    9:18 pm November 23, 2020 Permalink

    My sources say that Fla will pick up where Bama left off…

  14. GACAT
    4:29 pm November 24, 2020 Permalink

    Why do UK fans settle for mediocrity when it comes to football? If we lost to a basketball team by 60 points we would run Cal out of town on a rail. Stoops is making almost 5 MILLION DOLLARS a year. Are you kidding me? The football team is not progressing. We are going backwards. I know the death of a coach hurt this team but excuses do not win football games. I am tired of our football team not improving. Matt Jones said UT will not win another national championship, will Kentucky ever win the SEC Eastern Division? Not with Stoops!!! The time is NOW to replace him.