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Mark Stoops on the UK defense: “We did not play very good.”

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

Despite gashing the Ole Miss defense for a whopping 559 total yards and 408 on the ground, the UK defense managed to give up 42 points and 449 total yards, including 320 total yards and four touchdowns through the air.

More specifically, the Rebels gained 8.8 yards per play in the second half and overtime, scoring touchdowns on the UK defense in four of their six final drives. In a game where the offense was overwhelmingly positive and dominated in most statistical categories, the Wildcats still didn’t do enough defensively to pull off the win.

For UK head coach Mark Stoops, it was an effort that simply wasn’t good enough.

“You have to get stops in critical moments,” he said after the game. “We did not play very good defense tonight. That’s on us. We have to get them in position and play better.”

As Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin has done throughout his 24-year coaching career, the Rebel offense is explosive, fast, and keeps defenses off-balance. With a young, struggling secondary, the UK defense simply couldn’t keep up.

“They were doing what they wanted to do, to be honest with you,” Stoops said. “They really had us off balance. They spread you out. They go extremely fast. We’ve got to play better. We got it to a two touchdown lead, and then from there, we really played poor on defense, and they scored so quick that momentum can shift.

“You’re going to go through stretches in these games this season, again, with the margin for error is small. You have to do things right, and you definitely knew that going into the game that a team like that could put the foot on the gas and go extremely fast. Again, it will be very similar this next week.”

With the UK defense failing to slow down Ole Miss’ high-octane offense, Terry Wilson and the Kentucky offense had to play near-perfect football to have a chance.

For Stoops, that pressure is too much to put on one side of the football.

“Certainly, every possession, as you know, in a game like this, possessing the ball, getting yards and scoring points, they’re all important,” Stoops said. “With the way we were rushing the ball and creating explosive plays in the run game, it gave us the best opportunity, and it certainly added to that when we played such poor defense.

“It kind of puts pressure on myself and on the offense to where every possession was so important. Possessing the clock, but also scoring points is important. There comes a time when you get off balance like we were, you have to play as a team. I thought our offense responded several times tonight. Obviously, there’s things they could do better, but there were times they responded really well, where they had long drives and gave the defense an opportunity to kind of get over there and do some adjustments and try to get their feet up underneath them and play better.”

The Kentucky defense will look to turn things around when the Mississippi State Bulldogs head to Lexington next weekend.

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

10 Comments for Mark Stoops on the UK defense: “We did not play very good.”

  1. dhard
    10:22 pm October 3, 2020 Permalink

    Stating they played poorly is s huge understatement. They were coached poorly as well. Rushing 3 and dropping 8 didn’t work, but your staff continued the same plan.

  2. original slappy
    10:37 pm October 3, 2020 Permalink

    Funny how stoops specialty is the secondary and that seems to be where we struggle the most…

  3. UKCatAttack
    10:50 pm October 3, 2020 Permalink

    It’s odd we’ve had a good record the last couple of years but we’ve never passed the eye test of actually being a good football team. It’s seems we’ve had a couple of spectacular players that have carried us. I’m not seeing any of those spectacular players this year, especially on the defensive side of the ball. I hate to say it but I’m not seeing a path to more than 2 wins this year.

    • east-ky-boy
      11:00 pm October 3, 2020 Permalink

      I agree. We don’t win more than 2 IF we play defense like this. Especially pass coverage. Both games this year, the teams has been able to easily pass on us. I put that on coaching. I love stoops but we play a very vanilla defense. No elaborate blitz or changing a game plan mid game. We know what the offense is gonna do. The same we have done for years with gran. We have 4 basic offensive plays…. hand off, wildcat, screen pass and punt. If it’s not 4th down, the D should know it’s one of 3 plays. To be a better team, we must get a kicker, terry or someone has to be able to pass the ball DOWNFIELD (luckily tonight we played a sucky defense), our DB’s has to do better (understatement), we cant beat ourselves with fumbles and picks and dumb penalties and lastly the coaching staff needs to be willing to not be stubborn and make adjustments.

  4. Pensacola_Cat_Fan
    10:54 pm October 3, 2020 Permalink

    Didn’t we lose our DB coach from last year? Who’s our new one? Whoever it is should be fired immediately.

    • Middy
      1:51 am October 4, 2020 Permalink

      Yes… Dean Hood left. Some guy named Frank Buffano took over… no real pedigree or experience as a successful DB coach if I recall.

  5. Big Sexy
    10:16 am October 4, 2020 Permalink

    I think with Stoops we are going to be a 6-8 win team almost every year. Depending on the schedule and strength of the league, they can get to up to 10 wins obviously. A schedule with strictly SEC teams may bring us back down to earth a little it appears. Right now, I’m completely fine with a winning record and any bowl game. It will get stale though. With his recruiting, he’s built Kentucky into a respectable program. I don’t think we are going to go beyond that with any consistency though. I say all this because after 8 years I don’t know if I have confidence that he can fix the QB situation and have the passing game needed to compete in the SEC.

  6. WKY Cat
    11:50 am October 4, 2020 Permalink

    Where’s all the Stoop troops? Lol

  7. Don Kean
    10:00 pm October 4, 2020 Permalink

    The secondary cannot be blamed entirely, Our three man rush is not cutting it, Our d line is very good against the run but cannot get QB pressure. Three against five is always poor odds Either go 4-3 and or blitz more. We had two sacks and get this, (ZERO QB hurries), last night. A good QB with plenty of time, even if flushed will find someone open. If given enough time a receiver will get open no matter how good your secondary is. I watched Georgia hound Bo Nix to death last night, Nix still managed to make some great throws despite the pressure but Georgia got after him, and not with a three man rush. They were regularly rushing four and bringing regular blitzes. We are trying to play very vanilla on defense and that is okay against many teams on our schedule, but not the pass heavy ones. Hint: we got one coming to town this week. I would rather get burned long occasionally instead of seeing a steady diet of 4-6 play drives where we give up ten, and fifteen yard pass plays steadily. The offense played well enough last night. WE ARE NOT QUITE GOOD ENOUGH YET TO PLAY VANILLA ALL THE TIME ON DEFENSE, Try some rocky road for a change.

  8. Don Kean
    11:38 pm October 4, 2020 Permalink

    While the secondary is struggling somewhat , I cannot put all the blame on them. Both this week and last week we got practically no pressure on the opposing QB. I think we have a solid d line, their run defense proves it, however we must either play four down linemen and or blitz more against pass heavy teams. A three man rush is not working. We had two sacks last night and were credited with ZERO QB hurries. A good qb will eventually find an open receiver. A receiver if given enough time will get open, after all, the receiver knows where he intends to go and the db does not. I watched Georgia last night make Bo Nix miserable . Nix still made some incredible throws but Georgia REGULARLY sent him the heat, (Yes