It had been almost a week since the media has seen Mark Stoops in a good mood. With camp letting out and the start of school yesterday, the Cats were in full pads to begin preparation for Louisiana- Lafayette. The changes in practice put a much better product on the field, “There was good concentration and I felt like guys were locked in,” Stoops said.
Although Angry Stoops can be entertaining, I prefer Stoops when he’s cracking jokes.
“He’s doing a good job, but don’t tell him I said.”
The first question of the day was about strong safety Marcus McWilson. After being consistently challenged by Stoops, he’s had a pretty consistent preseason. They were speaking during a break in practice when Stoops told him he wasn’t going to compliment him. McWilson replied, “Don’t even say a word till after the season (starts).” So Stoops won’t play nice…just yet.
It’s a great sign to see from someone who has everything down pat physically, but needs to prove it with consistency on the field.
True Freshmen that Will See the Field
Stoops’ short list of guys that are guaranteed to make the field: LB Eli Brown, CB Chris Westry, OT Big George, CB Derrick Baity, TE C.J. Conrad, RB Sihiem King, OLB Josh Allen and ILB Jordan Jones.
Jordan Jones has been out due to illness for the last few weeks, “He tells me he’ll be cleared next week,” Stoops said. “But we all know he’s not a doctor.”
The young receivers, Tavin Richardson and Jabari Greenwood, are “in the mix” but they will play the waiting game to see if their services are needed.
Flannigan’s Shoulder is in Question for Week One
It’s the burning question on the defense. After taking a hit from 330-pounder Jacob Hyde (OUCH!), he’s stayed in a no-contact jersey. His range of motion has returned, needing to add strength to be able to suit up on Saturday.
“He’s got to get 100% strength back in his shoulder before we can let him have contact. Hopefully that will happen in the next couple of days, Stoops said. “With the injury that he has, nobody can really tell me that (he’ll be ready), so we have to wait and see. We gotta prepare as if he won’t be there, but he is getting some reps.”
Flannigan is confident that he will be fully recovered and ready for the first game, but added, “Right now we’re just waiting to see. Everything is looking fine so far.”
Problems ULL Presents the Defense
If you’ve followed Freddie Maggard’s analysis, Public Enemy #1 is running back Elijah McGuire, last year’s Sun Belt player of the year. Stopping that facet of the run game is only one aspect to their offense – they’ll also have to contain a running quarterback. Stoops’ defense have done better than most in the past, but the pressure mostly falls on the shoulders of the defensive ends and outside linebackers to make plays in one-on-one situations.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. It’s a new year.”
Mark Stoops has put Jordan Swindle’s false start problems in the past. We won’t know if Swindle’s work with the sports psychologist has paid off until the season starts but, “If things don’t work out, then Ben (the sports psychologist) may be in trouble,” Stoops said.