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Listen to a fired up Mark Stoops on Kentucky Sports Radio

Sad Stoops

Well, that was an interesting interview. Mark Stoops just wrapped up his remarks on KSR, and let’s just say he was very passionate. At a critical juncture, Stoops said he’s doing everything he can to get the team in the position to beat Vandy.

“I’m not very happy with the way we’ve play the past couple of games, but that doesn’t mean the sky is falling either,” Stoops said, adding that he’s reached out to his coaching colleagues to get practice scripts to help prepare his guys for Saturday. Did he anticipate the team’s recent slide?

“We know, unfortunately, we’re not built as strong or as stout as you want to be,” Stoops said. “If you look at college football, there’s always going to be some ups and downs and teams that play good. It’s very rare that you play 12 complete football games. Not many teams do, if any. The key is if you’re good enough to overcome them when you play bad. We certainly are not that way. We cannot go into Georgia and not play well. We have to play lights out to go into Georgia to have a chance.”

Matt asked Stoops the question many of us have been asking this week. Has Kentucky improved at all this season?

“I think it’s absolutely a fair criticism to be frustrated and see that we’ve dipped. That’s fair. I’d be lying to say we improved the past two weeks, right? Have we improved? Overall, yes, some games, we’ve done some very good things. Overall, we’ve improved. Not the past couple of weeks.”

One of the most frustrating issues with the team right now is receivers dropping balls. Stoops said he believes the number of drops by his receivers is a mental thing, and telling of what’s going on with the team.

“Yes, I think think a lot of it is mental. I think a lot of it is the psyche of your team, the psyche of your players. And part of that is frustrating for me as it is for the entire Big Blue Nation is why we don’t play our best all the way. Do you think we’re as strong mentally as I want to be?”

We’ve heard rumors of a divide in the locker room, and when asked, Stoops said that’s a pretty common thing in college football and it doesn’t concern him.

“No, I wouldn’t say that,” Stoops said when asked if all of his players were on the same page. “Again, I’d say very few teams are all on the same page. To answer that honestly, no, I don’t think they’re all on the same page. Do I think it’s a major issue that way? No.”

What about the situation at quarterback? Stoops said he’s open to starting either Patrick Towles or Drew Barker.

“We have to make the best decision to go into Vanderbilt and win the game,” Stoops said. “Whoever gives us the best chance to go into Vandy and win will play.

Then things got a little testy. Matt asked Stoops why it seemed like the team was sometimes disorganized, mentioning the 8-man punt formation and some strange play calls.

“Yes, I’m perfectly comfortable with the organization. I think I addressed that after the punt. I’ll take responsibility for that, who else will it fall on?” Stoops said, explaining the reason behind the decision. “You want to start crucifying me over that, go right ahead. That doesn’t determine a game. I understand, believe me. I’m a big boy. You lose a few games, and everybody starts — absolutely, we’re plenty organized. Believe me. That’s not the issue.”

When Matt said he wants Stoops to succeed and believe he’s the man for the job, Stoops interrupted him to give this plea.

“If that’s the case, then you rally the Big Blue Nation, get everybody on the same page. Quit hanging your head. It is what it is. I embrace the situation. It is what it is. It’s difficult. You think everybody can do this? Then come on and try. It’s very difficult. We will be fine. Nobody panic. Am I happy? No. Is the team happy? No. But nobody is hanging their heads. Nobody’s pointing fingers. We’ve gotta go win a football game and it’s fine. That’s it. We played Auburn, Mississippi State, Tennessee, and Georgia. We lost the football games. Some games we played decent at times, sometimes we played pretty good, sometimes we came up on the wrong end. The only way to feel better is to go get a victory.”

Listen to the interview for yourself:

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

46 Comments for Listen to a fired up Mark Stoops on Kentucky Sports Radio

    • Angelo
      12:34 am November 10, 2015 Permalink

      Are u saying stepping stones are the stairway to heaven?

  1. Mc12
    11:42 am November 9, 2015 Permalink

    I know it’s difficult in college football, but take a page out of Calipari’s playbook, and run your system based on your personnel.

    If you have a line that can’t protect the quarterback (for 4 seconds, although I think that’s plenty of time in the Air-Raid), receivers that can’t catch the ball, a quarterback who is inaccurate in a system that generally equates to high passing percentages, an Offensive Coordinator who struggles with play-calling, and a defense that is sketchy, why not run the ball 50 times a game?

    Bring in Barker, run the ball 50 times, run Barker 10 times, and throw about 10-15 times. I bet he has more protection in the 15 attempts because the D will expect the run.

    Play smash-mouth football. Bring in a blocking tight end, and line Conrad out at WR some too with Juice.

    Maybe they don’t want to scare recruits, but if it’s a short-term solution until the line is hopefully beefed up, and until they get a good quarterback, some wr/qb recruits will accept it.

    • CATandMONKEY
      12:18 pm November 9, 2015 Permalink

      You cannot play smash-mouth football when you are consistently overmatched on both your O-line and D-line. Your other comments seem like good coaching, to me. Outside-the-box thinking does not seem to be a valued skill of our coaching staff. Your ideas really are not too revolutionary, just common sense. Again though, with this staff…

    • Mc12
      1:05 pm November 9, 2015 Permalink

      When I played in college, our line took pride in pounding the rock. As long as they communicated with one another and sealed a few edges, we had success. It’s a good feeling when a defense knows what you’re about to do, and still can’t stop it. Not all front 7’s are built like Bama.

      Maybe this O-Line would get annihilated though who knows?

      It’s just my opinion that a 75/25 run-to-pass breakdown would work better for this team based on the depth at RB and issues with the route tree as well as QB accuracy and pass protection. They’d need to average about 4 yards and keep control of the down and distance. The defense will appreciate the rest, and although they’re D-line is overmatched in many games and can’t win in the trenches, maybe fresher legs would help.

      The problem though, is that many of these teams built to run spread offenses don’t have the personnel or toughness to even make the switch. You also have issues with defenses that practice against the spread on a daily basis, that when they play a smash mouth, or even an NFL-style offense, aren’t tough enough to make stops. That’s another issue all together though and a reason I don’t like this system especially in the SEC.

  2. WeareBBN
    11:44 am November 9, 2015 Permalink

    I do still believe in Stoops. The best players we have are his doing and while he is in year 3 he started late that first year. Just the fact that BBN expected wins shows he has elevated the program. Still the way we have played is disappointing but happens with young teams, players and coaches. As a consumer I don’t feel like I am quitting for not going to anymore games this season, I will not be at the last 2 home games and have sold my tickets. As a consumer if I am going to spend my money I want value in return or I am a fool to keep buying that product. I travel 7 hours round trip, hotel stay, food, gas etc. so a typical game cost me $500 and more so with 8 home games I am at $4000-$5000. Can anyone say I am getting my moneys worth, I don’t believe I am so I choose not to buy the product the last 2 games. This is not wins and losses it is quality of play/product. We won the EKU game but only on the score board. The only games I feel like I got my moneys worth was Auburn and Mizzou,

  3. BluKudzu
    11:49 am November 9, 2015 Permalink

    Was this interview with Stoops supposed to do something other than lower, our already lowered, expectations on he and his program?

    • UK Big Board Update
      11:56 am November 9, 2015 Permalink

      If our expectations were already lowered, then why do you complain so much? We are right where many expected us to be, on track for 6-6 or 7-5….

    • WeareBBN
      12:17 pm November 9, 2015 Permalink

      agree with big board that prior to the season we would have thought 7-5 was a great success and we could get that record or better. I am still disappointed with the way we played more than I am the losses of late. Hope the recruits don’t start jumping ship which should be a concern of Stoops.

    • BluKudzu
      1:15 pm November 9, 2015 Permalink

      Your idea of “on track” is what I absolutely would call a very successful year, by any measure, for the University of Kentucky Football team. I hope it happens, I really do.
      However, should that not happen, and we end the season at 5-7, would it be safe to suggest, we are not as good as we were told we were, and not an improved team, overall? I dunno. You folks are the experts. You tell me. I am curious to know what you know. Knowledge is power.
      The reason I complain, is the humiliating defeats coming back to back to back, barely winning one from EKU, almost losing the first game to a bottom dwelling Sunbelt team, and then being told we are an improved team, overall. It is those events, all the while seeing my ticket prices go up, and request for higher donations continue each year, in order for me to obtain my season tickets. Oh yeah, just one more thing, the possibility of going 5-7. Call me picky.
      I will beg pardon from you, and those like you, who share the same, and likely, the only correct opinion. I suppose it is truly impolite upon those who participate, on these boards, to question what we are told, based on what we do see. I willingly admit, I am rude like that. I am not going to willingly board the cattle truck,just because I am told it is a beautiful ride, on the way to the beef processing plant. Just not my thing.
      6-6, 7-5. I am good. I pray to all that is powerful we pull this out.
      If possible ,I would like to ask of you, just two questions: first; Would you mind to pass to me the large jar of Kool Aid? It seems I am a bit parched as I have not consumed my fair share, and second; Why does my opinion matter to you?
      When the results are there, and I am wrong, I promise to apologize for being such a malcontent.
      I promised to do so to the people in this forum who had suggested we would beat Mississippi State, Tennessee and Georgia. We didn’t. Trust me, I am not gloating here. I was trying to tap the breaks on the unrealistic expectations, while admitting I held out hope myself, against Georgia.
      Anyway, thank you for your comment on my post. I appreciate and welcome your view and question. It is what open dialog is all about. I will never question your motive.

    • Megan
      3:34 pm November 9, 2015 Permalink

      What country are you from?

    • UK Big Board Update
      4:49 pm November 9, 2015 Permalink

      Okay. I guess we shouldn’t even play the last three games, since BluKudzu says the only possible outcome is 5-7.

      Thanks for saving me time and money – the only two things true fans should really be concerned with.

      Go Cats. Sort of.

    • BluKudzu
      5:29 pm November 9, 2015 Permalink

      I am from southeastern Kentucky originally, in the USA. Drew Franklin penned a scathing piece after the game. He also is from the USA.
      But back to your interest in me and where I am from; I have lived abroad for only a few years, and in various locations in and around North America.
      I have supported UK my entire life, and will continue to do so, though my questioning of the progress of the football program may not seem as so. My intention is neither to degrade the efforts of the players, or to upset the fans with my comments. I suppose patience is not on my virtue list.
      I choose to be objective, based on what I have seen thus far. I ask questions. Obviously, I do not know as much about football, as most everyone else in this forum. I do know this; the quality of play, thus far, is not indicative of a team that has improved, overall, as we have been told on numerous occasions.
      I could go on, but I will not. I am not complaining, just wanting to know when this situation can be turned around and what, if anything, will be done to make it happen.
      I think it, a good indicator, Stoops acknowledged the frustration of the fans. I am hoping we move forward. I hope we win two of the three remaining on the schedule. If so, we have improvement. Winning only one, not so much. The man gets heavy ink on his paycheck, he has been given everything he has asked for.
      Is it too much to the fans to ask for improvement, each year? Based on where we were, it should be done.
      Thank you for your question, and your response, as always I will support open dialog and respect your opinion.

  4. cats42301
    12:02 pm November 9, 2015 Permalink

    One thing’s for sure he isn’t going to win back the fan base by being a smart ass, Mumme already tried that. I’ll never forget his “well that’s why you have contracts” response to a radio show caller. I don’t think Stoops understands that it’s not that you are losing it’s the way you are losing, it reminds all of us of embarrassing years gone by and all the blowout losses under Curry and most people just can’t stomach that anymore and don’t want any part of being a joke in the SEC anymore

    • 2thepoint
      12:20 pm November 9, 2015 Permalink

      I agree with what you said. I keep thinking of Curry and his remarks when pressed about a problem. He would reply, “That’s my job”! Stoops doesn’t say that, but he might as well say it, because there is no spoken solution to the problem, none. I am disappointed he wasn’t asked what it would take to replace Towles.

    • CATandMONKEY
      12:20 pm November 9, 2015 Permalink

      At least Mumme was sort of humorous in a Spurrier-sort of way.

  5. Mathlete
    12:06 pm November 9, 2015 Permalink

    For me, I don’t mind losing if the team is playing as hard as they can. I can live with it if we go out, leave it on the field, and lose (like the Florida or Auburn games). What I absolutely cannot accept is the lack of effort I’ve seen the last 3 weeks when the chips were down.

    We were doing pretty well in both games against UT and MS State until a couple of bad plays blew the scoreboard open, and then rather than fight to get back in it the team just quit both times. That’s a mental toughness problem, you give it 100% or get out of the way for someone who will. The saddest part is that I didn’t even bother to watch the Georgia game after the second half against UT because it was clear the players were over it at that point and I’m wasn’t going to waste my Saturday watching them hang their heads and roll over for Georgia.

    I’m not the coach, but if I saw that my players were going to pout I’d be glad to let them do it on the sidelines while somebody else gets a shot at their job. There are plenty of young, talented players on this team and I’d be hard pressed not to burn the redshirts on them in Stoops’ shoes.

    • Long Dong Silver
      12:53 pm November 9, 2015 Permalink

      I agree completely. Well said. That’s why I’m so aggravated by how this season has unfolded.

    • kyjohn
      1:27 pm November 9, 2015 Permalink

      This is one of the best responses i’ve read to date.Well said.However there is one question i would like to ask the coaches;Is this team playing as they are because they can’t play any better,or is it because they won’t?

  6. BigCountry
    12:26 pm November 9, 2015 Permalink

    I am totally a believe in Stoops. He was handed the key to a jalopy and expected to race with a pack of Ferrari’s. Sure, you can add a header (Barker), twin turbos (Boom and Jojo), and nitrous (Baker), but at the end of the day, that will only win you a few races. To get consistent wins, you’ve got to rebuild the entire car..from bottom up. I think, given the time, Stoops can do just that. With that being said, I am NOT a fan of Shannon Dawson’s offense. I believe that SEC defenses are too fast for a gimmick offense, where getting the edge is so important. I also believe that if the majority of your passes are within 5-10 yards of the line of scrimmage, that allows the defense to crowd the box and makes it more difficult to run. We don’t turn the corner until we bring in an OC that is experienced in, not only attracting top QB recruits, but developing the talent they possess. Towles has all the intangibles of a great QB…he has yet to be developed. Granted, he has had 3 different QB coaches, but his fundamentals and accuracy should still improve. Take a look around the SEC at some of the OC’s we have…Cam Cameron (ex NFL coach), Lane Kiffin (ex NFL coach), Brian Schottenheimer (ex NFL coodinator). Now look at UK. Where would you want to play if you were a top college QB prospect? As far as the defense, yeah, it still needs a lot of work, but it’s miles ahead of where it used to be. Looking at the games we lost, the defense held in all but a few. The offense couldn’t stay on the field long enough to give them a break. The defense (at this point) plays in direct correlation to the offensive production. Will that change in the next few years as Stoops continue to land and develop these top defensive prospects? Absolutely. Stoops is definitely a defensive guy. That is why I believe it is so important to have the right man in place to take the offense to where it needs to be.

  7. UKBlue1
    12:36 pm November 9, 2015 Permalink

    I don’t understand this interview especially since no questions were really answered or addressed. Yea Stoops is fired up; great, congratulations, he’s been this way for a while now & guess what we’re getting worse. WE still have no idea what’s going on with the offensive play calling, why we can’t tackle, and why we are over all just horrible.

  8. BigBlue2U
    12:45 pm November 9, 2015 Permalink

    “You think everybody can do this? Then come on and try. It’s very difficult.” Umm, LET ME TRY!!! Will I succeed? Who knows, but that paycheck to try and fail is amazing!

  9. Wildcats94
    12:46 pm November 9, 2015 Permalink

    Stoops is the guy to do it at Kentucky… It took Papa Brooks Five years to go Bowling… Stoops is in his third year and wasnt handed a gift like Joker was… at the beginning of the season July 26th to be exact for those who want to check… we were a trap game for Auburn and Georgia… so to go from a “trap game” to thinking those should be wins, thats on us the fans… i love my Cats and plan on going to the Vandy game… give Stoops time!!! SHOW HIM WHAT THE BIG BLUE NATION REALLY MEANS AND PAINT NASHVILLE UK BLUE!!!!

    • Megan
      3:40 pm November 9, 2015 Permalink

      Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?!

  10. Melvit
    1:16 pm November 9, 2015 Permalink

    I feel this was a horrible interview. He didn’t answer anything. I’m still confused to what is going to happen to fix the program.

    • kyjohn
      1:31 pm November 9, 2015 Permalink

      I kept waiting for Matt to ask Stoops what is he and the coaches going to do to fix this,but that would be too difficult for Stoops to answer.

  11. BigO
    1:17 pm November 9, 2015 Permalink

    I am hopeful Stoops is the solution at UK, admittedly a very difficult place to build a football program. But asking a radio host to fire up the fanbase is not a good look for Coach. Firing up the fanbase happens when the product on the field fire’s up the fanbase….not rhetoric from media personalities or coaches. Losing is tough no doubt……but what has so many UK football fans feeling negative is how we have lost the last 3 weeks in context with the overall history of UK Football. Getting hammered, no fight in the players (for the most part), disorganization, lack of immaginative game plans on both sides of the ball and what I have seen as a general look of a team that is not well coached.

    Getting beat is one thing…..getting embarrassed by teams for the most part we shouldn’t get embarrassed by is what has the fans feeling less than enthusiastic about UK football now.

    • kyjohn
      1:36 pm November 9, 2015 Permalink

      The reason the UK football program is so bad is because no AD or UK Administration has really sught out a person who can get the job done.They keep going after retreads or some assistant that talks big,but carries a small stick.

    • inside info2
      1:37 pm November 9, 2015 Permalink

      The coaches and KSR had us fired up at the beginning of the season. Matt did his job (probably too well). The coaches have not done their job.

      This just goes back to inexperience. An experienced head coach would not have made a statement like that. Stoops has had 3 years. He shouldn’t be making 1st year new coach mistakes.

  12. BluKudzu
    1:22 pm November 9, 2015 Permalink

    My response has been moderated. Again. No foul language, nothing vile or inappropriate.
    This is ridiculous. People are allowed to ridicule others, but the moderator, will not allow logic as a rebuttal. Most of what has been allowed on this thread is much more maligned that what I had to say.

    • Long Dong Silver
      1:41 pm November 9, 2015 Permalink

      That happens to me all the time. We aren’t in the clique.

  13. bigpops
    2:03 pm November 9, 2015 Permalink

    No one needs to hit the panic button- that is Stoops catch phrase. Reminds me of Billy G always saying we just gotta get tougher.

  14. Howdy Doody
    2:50 pm November 9, 2015 Permalink

    Huh, so if you refuse to drink the kool aid Jones passes out you are gone from this site ??
    How can a grown man be so thin skinned ??
    Oh, yaeh…he is a Democrat…
    Never mind…

  15. Megan
    4:05 pm November 9, 2015 Permalink

    I liked Coach’s response to Matt. We’re the ones hanging our heads and pointing fingers. Matt and the gang (especially Freddie) aren’t showing any support here. It’s mostly anger and despair. We’re in crisis mode, talking about who’s to blame and who should go. We don’t have to pretend everything’s rosy, but there must be some middle ground that would serve BBN, and the team, better.

    • UK Big Board Update
      4:51 pm November 9, 2015 Permalink

      There’s no such thing for some of our fans. Its either “win the East”, or “just stop supporting them altogether”.

    • BluKudzu
      7:43 pm November 9, 2015 Permalink

      Megan and UKBBU,
      I think you have misread many of the complaints on here. I know you have misread mine. No biggie.
      As long time fans, we have been told we have had historic recruiting classes every year for the last three years. We believed what we were told. I believed it.
      3 years in the coach Stoops era, we lose four straight, and now we are -4 point dogs to Vandy. Nobody will not support the team, they may be disappointed in the efforts.
      I think with all the talk of this being the year, players talking 12-0, we were hopeful of results, better than what we have had.
      There comes a time when we have to face reality. The reality is we are no better than 11th in any SEC statistical category, and 11th is not a frequent occurring number. it is more like 13th.
      Regardless, our ranking right now, is well below where we finished last year. Yet we are continually told by a coach and an AD, the overall team has improved. Sorry, but no.
      This does not mean I will turn my back on my Cats. I will be in Nashville, and Lexington on every game day the rest of the season, as I have been every year I have been in or around Kentucky.
      Did I expect more, yeah, I did. I was hoping we would have had 5 wins by now. Guess what? didn’t happen. Now I am just hoping for 5 wins.
      Definitely, Go cats.

    • cats paw
      6:24 am November 10, 2015 Permalink

      Megan and UKBBU. You two are the very reason this program is the gutter program of the SEC. Win two games the first year, lose the last 6 in a row the next year, lose the last 4 in a row this year and you two just can’t understand where the fan concern comes from? Like the good sheep you are. Father Stoops gives a Rah Rah speech and you two are ready to give him another raise and contract extension ..forgetting this team will forever sukk no matter how hard you like to think otherwise!

  16. kjd
    4:34 pm November 9, 2015 Permalink

    After reading Stoops comments, I’m convinced Towles will be the starter. [email protected]#$/$#@! Here comes another big ol’ L.

    Please, prove me wrong. Give the team an attitude change right from the start. Come on you can do it!
    Go Big Blue!

  17. BbnGroveStreet
    11:44 pm November 9, 2015 Permalink

    I just don’t see this team doing anything else…Vandy has improved while it seems like we’ve obviously fell I just believe this will be a signature win for this up and coming Vandy squad..Louisville will probably be up in the air. But I still believe they will beat us. We will beat Charlotte by 10…this team is just lost. Best thing for us to hope for another strong offseason, an improved team for next year. Stoops is still a big improvement. Let’s give him one more year. But now next year, this stuff wonot have AMY excuses..

  18. BbnGroveStreet
    11:46 pm November 9, 2015 Permalink

    Won’t* any*

  19. Kevin C
    11:50 pm November 9, 2015 Permalink

    FAR more interesting than anything Stoops could say at this point. Those names….SMH…

  20. Jtown Cat
    8:23 am November 10, 2015 Permalink

    I honestly couldn’t care less what this football team does the rest of the season… They have quit on us so I’m not sure why Stoops expects that the fan base won’t quit on them. It’s now basketball season so the focus will quickly go there as the football team has not earned any respect. I’m honestly fine with losing SEC football games, but I cannot and will not accept a football team that quits at the first sign of adversity.

  21. Biscuits Old Dad
    9:08 am November 10, 2015 Permalink

    “We’ve heard rumors of a divide in the locker room, and when asked, Stoops said that’s a pretty common thing in college football and it doesn’t concern him.”

    Seriously? Wow.
    Now we know why this team doesn’t play with any fire or heart.
    I couldn’t believe that the first time I read it, had to go back over it a couple of times to make sure I hadn’t misread it. I can’t believe a Div. 1 coach (or any coach) would say that dissension in the locker room didn’t concern him.
    I guess the only thing that does concern him is payday.

  22. Long Dong Silver
    9:18 am November 10, 2015 Permalink

    “To ascend you must die, you kust be crucified, for our sins and our lies, goodbye!!!”

  23. Cato
    12:47 pm November 10, 2015 Permalink

    Offensive play calls have been quite offensive. When we’re down 21 late in the 3rd quarter on the road at Georgia, calling back to back run plays and not hurrying to the line is not only not indicative of this Air Raid we’ve been hearing about, but it is poor clock management from an offense that is surrendering instead of attacking. If you’re going to run the Wildcat, run variations, don’t just run the Jo Jo Kemp fake hand-off, dive up the middle play. Defenses are much better when they know what’s coming. Just some more peon advice that will fall on deaf ears. Ugh.

  24. Le Docteur
    4:51 pm November 10, 2015 Permalink

    Dear Coach Stoops:

    When in a hole, first stop digging. Please, for the love of God, stop talking and just go coach up your team and get them to play inspired football against Vanderbilt.