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Five Takeaways from Stoops’ Monday Press Conference


Protection from the offensive line needs to better

Towles was sacked a total of six times on Saturday, more than the first two games combined. Florida’s talented defensive line won too many one-on-ones against our guys up front. Stoops said that the technique from the offensive linemen and communication needs to be better. There were many times that Towles could have stepped up in the pocket to avoid the sack and make a play. Playing a true freshman like Big George is going to be very hard for any team in the SEC because they are facing talent on the defensive line that they have never seen before.

Patrick Towles is still our guy

The inconsistency from Towles has been the talk the fans since the first game. Towles has done some great things that has shown that the talent is there, but the misses are what people like to focus on. “I think the frustrating thing for him and for me is that when there layups to be had, you can’t miss layups,” Stoops said.

Linebacker position is getting keys guys back 

Jason Hatcher has earned his starting spot back at the strongside linebacker position. Stoops said that Hatcher showed signs in the Florida game that he is ready to take his starting job back. With Hatcher and Flannigan officially back, the linebacker position that has struggled in the first two games will be much improved.

Containing Maty Mauk’s is going to be important

Will Grier made to many plays with his feet on Saturday that shouldn’t have happened. Kentucky needs to do a better job at containing opposing quarterbacks, starting against Missouri. Stoops said that Mauk’s ability to make plays is “a pain in the butt sometimes” from a defensive point of view.

Team and coaches are moving forward

After a disappointing loss, the players and the coaches are already on to Missouri. The players realize what happened on Saturday and are ready to improve and move forward to Saturday’s game against a ranked opponent. Stoops noted that both the young and older players have already moved on and their confidence is fine.


Article written by Kindsey Bernhard

Lover of dogs, sports and beer. @kindseybernhard

41 Comments for Five Takeaways from Stoops’ Monday Press Conference

  1. Richard
    1:41 pm September 21, 2015 Permalink

    So whose fault is it that a true freshman is playing O line. This is Stoops 3rd year. He should have a junior that he personally recruited for O line. He’s had 3 years and also their are Juco transfers available. Isn’t his O line coach from Highlands. Why not interview him.

    • J-Dub421
      1:48 pm September 21, 2015 Permalink

      The JUCO transfers got on campus late due to finishing academics. If someone wants the starting right tackle spot, then they will have to earn it. George earned it in practice, he’s very talented, but freshmen make mistakes.

    • Booby Petrino
      2:21 pm September 21, 2015 Permalink

      Who’s fault is it that Richard can’t put a decent sentence together?

  2. John
    1:45 pm September 21, 2015 Permalink

    Towles has been inconsistent since we played LSU last October. Everyone’s memory of the last 6 games of last season seems to be gone. This is an on going issue. It didn’t just start two games ago. We have not had a passing touchdown since week 1. We have played two SEC games and haven’t been able to score in terms of passing. In Towles last 9 starts he is 51%, 5 touchdowns and 9 turnovers. We have a huge problem at QB.

    • J-Dub421
      1:51 pm September 21, 2015 Permalink

      How many passes have receivers dropped?? Grier didn’t exactly look like a world beater, but there were several times his receivers made ridiculous diving catches that made him look good. When will our receivers make those kinds of catches and help out the QB? Towles could definitely be better at leading the receivers, but the poor completion percentage isn’t all on him. Our receivers have dropped a lot of very catchable balls.

    • Yoda
      1:58 pm September 21, 2015 Permalink

      You may be right that it’s not ALL on Towles, but you can’t tell me that 9%+ of a mediocre 60% completion rate is on the receiving corps and dropped balls. He’s just not that good, folks.

    • J-Dub421
      2:13 pm September 21, 2015 Permalink

      No, that would be ignoring the poor play of the offensive line. I’m just annoyed by all the “fans” who seem to be implying that all we need to do is swap Barker for Towles and all the problems on offense will magically disappear. Dorian Baker has dropped 2 passes in the endzone in the last two games, but no one is calling for him to be replaced.

    • replace Dorian Baker
      2:45 pm September 21, 2015 Permalink

      I am

    • Truth be told
      2:49 pm September 21, 2015 Permalink

      Towles ranks dead last in QB rating in the SEC per ESPN (13th out of 13 because apparently So. carolina’s QB’s don’t have enough attempts to be rated). Yeah, couple of receivers dropped passes. But Towles took sacks when he didn’t have to by holding the ball too long, didn’t step up in the pocket to avoid pressure, and threw horrible passes way more than receivers dropped good passes by my count. Towles is what he is. I bought into the hype of the improved accuracy and better footwork. He is a below average SEC QB and his dead last QB rating against 3 average foes proves it. He ain’t got it between the ears. Free Barker.

    • J-Dub421
      3:18 pm September 21, 2015 Permalink

      Truth, where is the rest of our team ranked compared to the rest of the SEC?

    • za
      3:26 pm September 21, 2015 Permalink

      J Dub, I’m not disagreeing with you about o-line woes, but PT should’ve thrown several balls into the stands when under pressure – instead he took sacks. He also missed throws over and over again. He was bad under pressure and when he had time.

    • J-Dub421
      3:54 pm September 21, 2015 Permalink

      Za, I’m not disagreeing with Towles having his issues, just with everyone dumping on him. There seems to be a very vocal contingent that are basically just saying “Towles sucks! Replace him with Barker!” They have been sating this since the first game of the season, not just after the Florida loss. I feel that this is a gross over-simplification of our offensive woes. It’s like the people in basketball who keep calling for Derek Willis to play more, what are they basing it on? I like both Willis and Barker, I hope both end up playing well for us in their respective sports. However they have to earn their playing time, the same as everyone else. I think it’s unfair to dump all the blame for a loss on one player in a team sport.

  3. Yoda
    1:55 pm September 21, 2015 Permalink

    Layups to be made? Ok, Stoops. We are a fanbase that speaks pretty fluently in basketball-speak, so let me ask you this:

    Would you rather play a starting Point Guard who hits 1 3-pointer for every 4-5 layups he misses, or a PG who makes the 4-5 layups and misses the occasional open 3-pointer? Towles is the former.

    Stoops needs to apply some pressure to Patrick, because saying “he’s our guy” ain’t workin.

    • Booby Petrino
      2:24 pm September 21, 2015 Permalink

      And who do you think is gonna make 4-5 layups and only misses the occasional 3 pointer? Don’t you think that if Barker was capable of doing that, he’d be in? Do you think Stoops is playing Towles even though he knows that Barker is better? So Stoops is just sabotaging us?

    • Yoda
      3:08 pm September 21, 2015 Permalink

      I don’t think Stoops is doing it on purpose, but coaches are notorious for hitching the proverbial wagon to “their guy” and letting a season hinge upon that “confidence” they supposedly inject by more or less saying “It’s Patrick’s team!”. All reports in the pre-season were that Barker was very close to Towles in terms of performance, and that the margin was very, very slim. If that was indeed the case as we were led to believe by KSR, then why not get Barker snaps? It goes back to the argument of a known vs. unknown variable. We KNOW what we get with Towles – mediocre play. We have no clue what we will get with Barker. Hard to believe it could be worse, and it might even be much, much better…

    • theWilkman
      4:49 pm September 21, 2015 Permalink

      But wouldn’t it make more sense that Barker would be his guy, seeing as he recruited him and not Towles? If Barker gave us a better chance to win, Barker would be starting.

    • BluKudzu
      5:41 pm September 21, 2015 Permalink

      Stoops is doing it on purpose. He’s just cashing an SEC check.

  4. Question Marks??
    1:57 pm September 21, 2015 Permalink

    I guess I will start off by saying I am going to be Calipari’s equivalent of a “Baseketball Benny” – which at times I take offense to when I hear him say that. But I am a UK alum, been going since 1979, order 14 season tickets and 3 parking passes, so I have the passion and right to question some things until I am proven wrong or right. There are a lot of questions around this team – not sure which one is it or a combination of all.
    1) Dawson said we are going to throw the ball down the field and have a balance running game. I think it is safe to say we have done both. What’s missing is the other 1/3. The 3 step drops and passes to the backs out of the backfield, the quick button hooks to the tight end, the quick slants, the pitches to the backs and let them get to the ends quick.
    2) The continued vanilla running game at Florida was puzzling. They dominated the line of scrimmage and what did we do to counter it? No quarter back fake to the back and roll out with option to run or throw. Didn’t keep the running backs or tight ends in the game to help the rush to give our receivers time to get open or time for Towles to let it develop. The RB’s or TE’s never leaked out of the backfield after a block to counter the hard rush that I remember. No mis-direction, no end-arounds, no TV Williams – in fact, no creativity at all from a fans point of view. It’s baffling.
    3) Dawson said Towles would have the freedom to change plays at the line of scrimmage. Most of the time you can see a QB either do this or fake like he is doing this. I don’t see this behavior out of our QB. Even if he did, I still question how awful a lot of these calls were to begin with. How about a run on second and five, with 90 secs or so left and 70 yards away? How about the runs on the goal line – and not creative run calls – just a direct up the middle hand off.
    4) Let’s talk about one of the perceived strengths of this team – the offensive line. Should we be concerned after 3 years of John Schlarmann’s coaching – techniques, etc.? Just asking.
    5) Receivers have to start making some difficult catches. I know they have had a couple of drops, but Florida made 4 or so unbelievable catches on the ground – that were so close from a fan in the stands point of view wondered why they were not reviewed – must have all been caught. We have to start making some of those plays.
    6) Towles has to start being more accurate – but with that said, long passes down the field and long passes to the sidelines I guess are the most difficult to make. Once again, accuracy will go up if we start doing the other 1/3 I spoke about earlier – get playmakers in space. I heard about C J Conrad before the year. We have thrown to him one time in the end zone during the SC game and shouldn’t have made that throw.
    7) Clock managment was terrible the other night. Basically, we took two timeouts to the dressing room. Held Florida on their final drive and the play ended around the 3:15 mark – we had 3 timeouts. Let them run the clock down to 2:35. How many pass plays could we run during that time frame? Should have used a timeout after the 2nd down run on the final drive with 90 seconds left. Had trouble getting set, and then took a sack on that play. Could have set up what we thought would work, and let Towles know the last thing he could do was take a sack. Finally, took our 1st timeout after the sack.
    8) I hope it is a little bit of everything I have stated. If it is our head coach influencing the power run play calling, then all this Air Raid, Dynamic Offense, etc. can be thrown at the door. We cannon win like LSU and Alabama typically have.

    I feel better.

    • Yoda
      2:02 pm September 21, 2015 Permalink

      I totally echo your concern on #3. If Towles doesn’t have veto power anymore on the play call, then we’re left with twoscenarios that are all equally unflattering: Towles has lost that power due to lack of faith from Dawson; Towles is making changes at the line that are incorrect reads of the defense and resulting in nothing. What’s the answer, Dawson/Stoops?

    • J-Dub421
      2:18 pm September 21, 2015 Permalink

      Good analysis and excellent points question marks.

    • CatsBy80
      2:25 pm September 21, 2015 Permalink

      I have to say… That is one of the most educated and truthful posts that I have read on this site in a while. You get a lot of mouth breathers that just come on here and spew garbage (“put barker in the game” – “towles sucks” etc…) and this was actually refreshing to read. Couple that with the fact that you raise some legitimate concerns moving forward…

      I certainly don’t have the answers to your questions/concerns, but I sure would like to hear them answered. I’m going to chalk this Florida game up as a 50/50 game that we just lost (because let’s be honest – that is exactly what it was). With that being said, we need to see some strides made between today and Saturday or the heat is going to get cranked up even more by the fan base & media.

      I have faith in Stoops & Co. that they can get the job done on the practice fields and in the film room & get our guys prepared. Mizzou certainly looked dismal on Saturday against a flat out AWFUL uconn team, so I would really like to see us come out hot and set the tone early.

      Go Cats.

    • Elzekeo
      2:50 pm September 21, 2015 Permalink

      Agreed. Why hasn’t our tight ends been involved in the passing game. Our boy Whalen, made the Mummey passing game go, Was real impressed with the hiring of Dawson. I agree its time the excuses and people owning up to what they are not doing, so lets start doing what they are suppose to do. Go CATS

  5. Jesus
    2:30 pm September 21, 2015 Permalink

    How about Jordan Swindle? Worst left tackle we have ever had. Who is a senior correct?

    Towles? Sucks. We need to stop recruiting these sub-par quarterbacks from KY and look elsewhere. They always talk about how they were the biggest UK fans growing up and blah blah blah. But guess what?? You still suck.

    How come Blake Bone never gets the ball anymore?

    Also, I figure once we ran the same play the 37th time Florida would eventually catch on.

    • android guy
      2:59 pm September 21, 2015 Permalink

      Jesus, do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

  6. RICK
    2:33 pm September 21, 2015 Permalink

    Go Big Blue, Beat Missouri sat night and things will be fine.We could be 0 and 3 like some other schools i know.

    • Yoda
      3:12 pm September 21, 2015 Permalink

      Sheesh, can we quit with the 0-3 talk? That’s not our school. I’m more worried about winning Saturday against a Top 25 ranked Mizzou squad that everyone seems to think sucks now…

  7. Dwayne
    2:33 pm September 21, 2015 Permalink

    In my opinion this is why fans criticizing Towles have a legit argument/concern. It’s not that we’re not being true fans (JLo), at least in my case it’s that I am a true fan who wants the football team to win more than anything, even more than our Bball team! I want the players who give us the best chance to win on the field playing. Trust me I want Patrick to succeed, but it appears that something is just missing from his game (accuracy etc…) Towles woes go back well into last season. Even in our 1st win this season against ULL he was very inconsistent with his passes down the field. I think his inaccuracy is allowing teams to stack more players in the box as they’re not as concerned about him throwing the deep ball. Is Barker a better choice? No one really knows. With Patrick struggling it would be good to know what we have in Drew Barker. Yes the OL played bad last week and WR’s dropped a few passes, however they have at least played well and sometimes very well in a lot of the other games. Going into the season most were saying this teams goes as far as Patrick takes them. From what I’ve seen since the 2nd half of last season and into the 1st 3 games this season, Patrick hasn’t been able to effectively lead this team and program enough to take the greatly needed next step. This is Towles 4th year in the program and if he hasn’t figured it out by now I’m not sure he ever will….. As we saw against Florida a play here or there can be the difference in a win or loss. With the meat of our schedule coming up I don’t think we can afford to squander any more opportunities. GO CATS!!!!

    Patrick Towles last 7 games:
    Comp Att Yds % TD INT
    11/1 @Missouri L 20-10 19 36 158 52.8 1 1
    11/8 Georgia L 63-31 16 31 139 51.6 1 1
    11/15 @Tennessee L 50-16 13 25 168 52.0 0 1
    11/29 @Louisville L 44-40 14 29 176 48.3 0 2
    9/5 L Lafayette W 40-33 16 34 257 47.1 3 1
    9/12 @S Carolina W 26-22 21 29 192 72.4 0 1
    9/19 Florida L 14-9 8 24 126 33.3 0 2

  8. Jota
    2:40 pm September 21, 2015 Permalink

    I listened to the presser, the two biggest takeaways for me was, 1. I’m going to have some one on one time with players, tell them what they need to do better, if not next man up. 2. Some young guys are starting to take spots from the older guys.

  9. SARAH
    2:54 pm September 21, 2015 Permalink

    O.K Lets move on.

  10. Double dribble
    3:06 pm September 21, 2015 Permalink

    I hate to point out the obvious but we are 2 and 7 in our last 9 games. Time for a serious evaluation of both the lineup and the coaching. It is foolish to do the same thing over and over and expect different results.
    Time for someone to man up!!!

    • Wow
      3:11 pm September 21, 2015 Permalink

      What an unbelievably flawed argument.

    • Maymercybeonyoursoul
      3:50 pm September 21, 2015 Permalink

      and 2-1 in our last 3 or 2-2 in our last 4 with a 4 pts loss at Louisville and 5 pt loss to Florida or 588-600-44 in our last 1,232 games…….

  11. Yoda
    3:15 pm September 21, 2015 Permalink

    I work in government contracting, and past performance is a highly viewed indicator of future output. If you don’t think that 2-7 over the last 9 is relevant, then you’re kidding yourself.

    • Maymercybeonyoursoul
      3:52 pm September 21, 2015 Permalink

      One would expect the government to keep failing, Kentucky football isn’t in that bad of shape.

  12. Dieter
    3:26 pm September 21, 2015 Permalink

    I am usually very reluctant to agree with switching QB’s, but find that I am leaning towards giving Barker a chance in this case. I don’t think it is 100% clear-cut, however. Yes, Towles has had egregiously overthrown (and underthrown) balls this season. He has taken very avoidable sacks. However, we cannot ignore the equally egregious drops the WR’s have had recently, and the at times awful play calls. Against UF it was as if our play calling was made by a Soviet chess simulator from 1936. Finally, our offensive line had no push in the running game and totally collapsed in pass pro. Had the misses by Towles not been so bad, I think you leave him in for sure given all that garbage play around him by other position groups.

    Assuming Pat gets the start next week, I hope he will convince me 100% if he should or should not be the starter.

    All that said, I strongly disagree with this argument – “We KNOW what we get with Towles — mediocre play. We have no clue what we will get with Barker. Hard to believe it could be worse, and it might even be much, much better…” Why would you be more likely to think it could be better instead of worse? It’s a complete unknown. It’s a total risk. Everyone’s saying “they were so close in camp, so give Barker a chance!” Well if you acknowledge the competition was “so close,” doesn’t that mean that their production is roughly similar? Given that, why would you be so ready to believe that a QB who produced equally to Towles in camp, but has 15 games less experience, is more likely to perform better in an actual game? If we think Barker should start (as I am leaning towards), it should be fully understood and expected that he could struggle just as much, and that Towles can 100% not get us where we want to go (a bowl). It should not be expected that Barker will be more likely to succeed than Towels. There is no factual basis to predict with certainty he will be better. Just a hope really.

  13. dennis murphy
    3:46 pm September 21, 2015 Permalink

    It all starts at the top. Yes this is Stoops third year. There should be no excuse. But this staff recruits the player, which means the staff coaches the player. So it’s the staffs fault that their play calling is not working. Towles should be able to audible. If the line is caving in, drop off to Boom or someone. Forget the sweep. And not once did we run any type of wildcat.

    • Maymercybeonyoursoul
      3:54 pm September 21, 2015 Permalink

      Elliot is the DC I don’t think even the most irrational fan could blame this loss on the defense.

  14. BigBlueU
    4:02 pm September 21, 2015 Permalink

    All I heard in the offseason was how much Patrick Towles improved….

    2014: 58% Comp, 14 TD, 9 INT, 2718 yds, QBR 47

    2015: 51% Comp, 3 TD (On Pace for 12), 4 INT (On Pace for 16), 575 yds (on pace for 2300), QBR of 40. and Competition is going to go up with UGA, Tenn, @ MSU, Auburn, Louisville.

    Where exactly is that improvement. Now maybe Barker cant do any better. But this argument of “if he could stoops would have him out there” is flawed. Johnny Manziel had off the field issues and didn’t take practice too seriously…yet when those lights came on, he tore it up.

    I am not saying that Barker DEFINITELY can do better, Im saying Patrick’s play has in no way convinced me he is hands down the best man for the job. The OL isn’t great, but it is better than last year and yet Towles #’s have gone down. ECU threw for 400+ yards on Florida at home. And Towles only completes 8 passes? We barely throw for half of that? That’s not all on the OL and WR…and if you think it is you are an idiot.

    Also, I unlike a lot of people don’t think we can wait until the EKU game to give Barker a shot. This Mizzou game is BIG! This Mizzou game is the difference between locking a bowl game up fairly easily and going into the Louisville game needing a win to go to a bowl. We cannot afford to not beat Mizzou and continue to play with Towles if his play is very pedestrian. Mizzou plays a defense that isn’t good for Towles game. There comes a time where you got to make a change and see if Barker gives you a better chance to win. You don’t know until you give him that chance…and you have to do everything in the book to win this Mizzou game, and that includes and is not limited to switching QB’s.

  15. FreeDrewBarker
    4:32 pm September 21, 2015 Permalink

    There was a time when the “Coaches” thought that Elvis Grbac & Drew Bledsoe were better than this guy named Tom Brady…. We have seen & know what Towles can/cant do (14 starts, horrible numbers, loses). It’s time to give the other guy a chance, if he sucks too, then we will know then let Towles have it back.

    Also who says you gotta roll with 1 QB? A lot of BETTER teams than us are giving multiple QB’s a chance (ie: Ohio State, LSU, Alabama, etc).

  16. SinceStollField
    5:30 pm September 21, 2015 Permalink

    Have there been any articles about how Barker has looked in practice? With Stoops still hitching his wagon to Towles even though he has not played well, he sure must not think Barker is ready. And, yes, Florida manhandled our offensive line most of the night. But Towles didn’t help them out with his pocket presence and doesn’t the Air Raid offense have short passes to the running back and tight end when there is pressure on the quarterback? I sure remember Tim Couch making a lot of big plays with short passes thrown at the right time.

  17. Tommy Cats Fan
    11:29 pm September 21, 2015 Permalink

    Slice it and dice it all you want. Towles is mediocre at best. If that is what the QB is, that’s the ceiling for your team. Like pitching in baseball. Without good pitching, you got no shot. Analogy applies here. Missouri will beat UK. Guaranteed. Missouri has been in SEC east three years. Won the division twice. UK been in SEC east a thousand years. Has never finished out of bottom half. But we gonna beat em! UK will not win another SEC game other than maybe Vandy. Maybe.
    Be we will get better…..
    We are all suckers that drink the big blue football water every year. I’m accepting this now. All the other rah rah people will be with me soon.
    But next year! UK gonna kick a*s!!!! And if not next year, then the next….