On today’s SEC Coaches Teleconference, Mark Stoops was asked about his team’s disappointing start and what changes are being made on defense. On Monday evening, Stoops told Tom Leach that he will be more active on defense going forward, but didn’t elaborate. This afternoon, he gave some more insight, telling reporters that while he will be more involved on defense until things are turned around, DJ Eliot is still the defensive coordinator.
“The question was asked, and I think you’re asking the same thing, will you take a more active role? The answer to that question is yes, I will take a more active role,” Stoops said. “As far as the structure of our staff, that has not changed. Coach Eliot is the defensive coordinator, I’m assisting him, but I’m much more involved this week and I will be until we get things turned.”
When asked what surprised him most about his team’s 0-2 start, Stoops gave the answer that many of us would have: how a team that looked so good in the first half of the Southern Miss game can look so terrible since.
“The biggest surprise is how we can play like we did in the first half of game one and then since then, disappear. That is surprising. Did not see that coming. The way we started the game, everybody — as you talk about it for so long, you work during camp and you have your home opener, game one and you go out and really play very good football on all sides for a half, and then it turns on you. That’s surprising. I thought we would handle adversity better than we have. We’re a work in progress there and we’re constantly talking about it and it’s never going to change until we show that we can do it and we perform the way we can.”
Stoops said there are certain plays he keeps replaying in his head, specifically Blake McClain’s dropped interception at the start of the second half vs. Southern Miss.
“Again, I could go back and back, but you talk about opportunities and we just can’t – we’ve gotta make them. We’ve got to make plays. Once again, I could go back to game one and the first possession of the second half and the ball hits us right in the chest and we drop an interception. We have our opportunities. We’ve gotta to get back and focus on the things we do well, but that’s been the biggest surprise. How we didn’t handle adversity.”
Sounds about right.