With the Thursday night game Mark Stoops, Shannon Dawson and D.J. Eliot spoke during Stoops’ Monday’s weekly press conference.
Stoops believes there are still areas of improvement
Stoops stated two specific areas that his team needs to get better at. On the defensive side of the ball, the team needs have a better position on the football and making good tackles and finishing plays. On the offensive side of the ball it’s consistency. One player has the ability to derail a whole series, so having all 11 players on the same page is key to the offense’s success.
It doesn’t matter who is at quarterback on Thursday night
Both Stoops and Eliot said that the defense’s preparation will not change when Auburn named a starting quarterback, which they will do later this week. Kentucky will prepare the same way it has been the last two weeks. “I know that each quarterback has different talents, but the attack I don’t think is much different. They have the scheme that they run and you have to be able to defend a lot of things,” Eliot said.
The bye week helps develop younger players
Some of the members of the scout team were able to get some reps this week with the offense and defense. Stoops notes the importance of developing some of the young players on the team. Kentucky is in a good place where they can redshirt some of the more talented freshmen to even further develop their game.
Consistency continues to be the key for the offense
The most frustrating thing for the coaches and even fans is the inconsistent play of the offense. We’ve seen the offense come out and play some really good football and then come out and play a horrible after the halftime. “You can get frustrated with it or you can just keep working. My mind set is to keep pushing along,” Dawson said. Dawson attributes the inconsistency to an execution issue and not a lack of effort, which they continue to work on and improve on each week.
The defense has been preparing for a quick tempo offense
When facing an fast tempo offense, a defense has to “think fast, you have to be able to line up fast and you have to be able to communicate fast,” Eliot said. These type of offenses can get you if you aren’t lined up quickly, and the coaches has emphasized that this week. The defense has done a good job of handling the tempo of the offense this in practice and Eliot expects them to do just fine against Auburn.
The coaches are high on Dorian Baker
When the game has been on the line, Baker has been the player to step and save the game (and season). Stoops and Dawson both appreciate the consistent play Baker brings to the offense. His focus to execute and make plays when the game is on the line is a key aspect of his game. “He brings an energy that you appreciate as a coach,” Stoops said.
We will see more of Alex Montgomery
After tearing his ACL as a freshman back in 2013, Montgomery’s long road to recovery has finally come to an end. The junior wide receiver has played really well the last two weeks and the coaches have taken notice.