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Seven Things we Learned at Mark Stoops’ Pre-Florida Press Conference

While most of America was off for Labor Day, Mark Stoops took 30 minutes out of his busy day to speak with the media about the Cats’ first win of the season and the upcoming road trip to Gainesville.  You’ve already seen what he had to say about The Streak, but he touched on many more significant topics.

1. Mum on the Quarterbacks

Terry Wilson remained atop Kentucky’s depth chart, even though he committed three turnovers in the first half against Central Michigan.  Stoops said after the game he doesn’t know if both QBs will continue to play, but he said today he liked seeing them fight through adversity.

“Both guys did some really good things and both did some things you would expect from first time playing. I really enjoy having both guys” Stoops said.

“I appreciate Gunnar stepping in a difficult situation, making some plays and putting it in the end zone. That was really important for us, at that point, to go in leading (at halftime) after giving up four turnovers in the first half. That doesn’t happen very often. That was a big touchdown for him and really sparked us. It was also good to get Terry back in the second half and play well.”

2. Mark Stoops and Nick Saban, Kindred Spirits

You might be hard-pressed to find some commonalities between the Kentucky and Alabama head coaches, but after Saban’s Saturday night outburst, Stoops understands Saban’s plight.

“Well I don’t think I could get after you like he can,” he joked. “I mean I could, but I don’t know how well that’s going to go over. I know seven days later I’ll have a big bullseye on my chest.”

All joking aside, Stoops can relate to how Saban has publicly dealt with a quarterback competition.

“It was very poignant in that I don’t want to talk anything negative about either of our guys, any of our guys, including Danny [Clark]. When people try to get you to ask what one guy’s doing, it’s insinuating that the other one’s not doing that. I can relate to that and just want to be very positive about our guys. And what better example than this past Saturday for us? With the way Gunnar went in, again that is a very big moment. It’s a great teaching moment for our team. For our young guys because he could have gone in the tank and moped, cried or complained or pointed fingers, but he just worried about himself and preparing and went in in a very difficult situation and performed. I’m proud of him for that.”

3. These Cats are Close

When fans think of position competitions, we tend to believe each player is at the other’s throat as they try to take the top spot.  That has not been the case at Kentucky.

After the game, A.J. Rose said he was prepared to be at his best when he learned his roommate, Benny Snell, was sick with a viral infection.

“They are very close. That’s a lot like our team right now,” Stoops said.  “I think the team is a lot like that. There was zero panic on the sideline Saturday. There was no finger pointing. Everybody’s just going to move on to the next play and that’s what the team did, so I was very pleased with that.”

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4. Stoops is Not Over the Targeting Penalty

The head coach was pretty pleased with his defense’s first performance of the season.  When the offense put them in a bad situation, they held the line.  He had only positive things to say about the defense across the board, except for two plays.

One was a missed tackle on third down that extended a Central Michigan drive.  The other infuriating moment was Chris Westry’s third down hit.  Instead of getting the ball back after a third and long, Westry hit the CMU receiver directly in the head.  On those two scoring drives the Kentucky defense did not take advantage of an opportunity to get off the field.  That must change on Saturday.

5. Bouvier Finds Hidden Yards

David Bouvier showed how he earned a scholarship on Saturday.  The slot receiver caught three passes for 48 yards and a touchdown.  As UK’s punt returner, he put the offense in good positions when the punter didn’t completely knock him out of the play.

He saved us yards by fielding (the ball). Get what he can and get down, not try to do too much. He probably already saved 15 yards in hidden yardage right there by fielding that ball.”

Stoops estimates Kentucky gained about 60 yards on hidden yardage in special teams.  Bouvier put one on the dirt, but it’s the first time Stoops has ever seen him cough up the ball.  Hopefully Bouvier’s nerves are gone for good.

6. Feleipe Franks is Better

The Florida quarterback posted gaudy numbers in the Gators’ first victory of the season.  Franks completed 16-of-24 passes for 219 yards and 5 touchdowns in the 53-6 win over Charleston Southern.

“He just looked much more comfortable,” Stoops said.  “I think they gave him just enough reads and quarterback runs where he was comfortable in his decisions. Threw some very accurate passes. He’s got some good weapons to throw to. So, he just looked like a year older and very comfortable.”

7. Can you Prepare Newcomers for The Swamp?

“No. No. No.”

Noise will be piped in during practice, but it cannot replicate what the atmosphere will be like when the Cats take the field Saturday night.  Stoops is emphasizing all week to start fast and focus on the details.

“You do the little things right over and over and over, big things will happen. We have some unbelievable clips of the past game where if we just do the little things, big plays were going to happen…When you’re in that environment, you have to embrace it, but you have to concentrate on what you have to do.”


Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

24 Comments for Seven Things we Learned at Mark Stoops’ Pre-Florida Press Conference

  1. Catcasey1
    4:26 pm September 3, 2018 Permalink

    The eight thing we learned is that poops still can’t coach.

    • Booby Petrino
      4:32 pm September 3, 2018 Permalink

      Poops, how original.

    • cats646
      4:33 pm September 3, 2018 Permalink

      How did we learn that moron?

    • kjd
      8:11 pm September 3, 2018 Permalink

      I believe you meant earn…..learn in this instance sounds moronic.

    • mashburnfan1
      6:22 pm September 3, 2018 Permalink

      yea he turned it over on all those plays. I say having 4 turnovers in a half and still leading is pretty damn good cvoaching. Still think Gran is too conservative. On all 3 deep passes we threw our WR’s were wide open. We had an over throw, Dorian dive instead of running through the ball and a PI penalty. seemd obvious they could not cover us deep but we refused to throw it, was really hoping the 1st play of the ga,e he would have let TT throw a bomb, may have settled him in since it is supposed to be a strength, if completed I am sure it would have settled him in quickly. Fans around me were saying how ell Gunner did, 1t they were in a prevent oninitialpart of drive and on the TD they blitzed, sent 7 guys. Oline and RB did a great job of giving enough time and Gunner did make the right read for the easy TD but that is not how all defense will be played. In regular D Gunner struggled, still think Gran is partly responsible. They could really focus on the run and short passes, no deep throws to worry about.

    4:57 pm September 3, 2018 Permalink

    When it comes to defending QBs, in recent years (including the Joker era) UK makes ALL of them look much better than they are. That goes double for SEC teams, and this weekend will likely be no different. So it really doesn’t matter if Franks is or isn’t “better”, or what he did in his first game….we’ll make him look like a Top-5, Heisman hopeful. Bank on it. Hopefully our 2-QB system becomes a good thing, like with Alabama, and not a necessary evil like it was Saturday.

    • mashburnfan1
      6:16 pm September 3, 2018 Permalink

      Oh, you mean this same Franks that we made look so bad last year he lost his job, can’t say ALL now can we. Now he and the team are better this year {they had some key guys suspended last year} but our D is better as well. Why speak and make yourself a known idiot, could have said nothing and we would never know what a dumbass you are.

      7:28 pm September 3, 2018 Permalink

      Florida used 2 QBs last year (3, if you count 1 play by Toney), split evenly between Franks and Del Rio. Their stats were nearly identical, except Del Rio had 1 int, whereas Franks had ZERO. No fumbles, 1 int, and combined 63% passing with 209 total passing yards…for a team that primarily ran the ball.
      Last year was an REALLY bad one for Florida, going 4-7….yet they still came back and beat us, AT HOME.
      Perhaps you should take your own advice, Skippy.

    • Cmart0907
      7:36 pm September 3, 2018 Permalink

      That first sentence couldn’t be more true!!!

    • A_Blue_Wildcat
      12:06 am September 4, 2018 Permalink

      I agree with the exceptions of South Carolina and Vandy, no matter what we do the qbs on those teams still suck even against us.

  3. W1ldCats4Life
    9:00 pm September 3, 2018 Permalink

    Charleston Southern is really bad….REALLYbad. Florida did typical Dan Mullen things but had zero competition. Cats have a chance, but they cannot afford any mistakes. The margin for error here I the swamp is NIL.

    • CommonSense5
      12:23 am September 4, 2018 Permalink

      Central Michigan is bad…REALLY bad, and UK had trouble with them.

    • Natureboy42
      12:49 am September 4, 2018 Permalink

      CMU would beat Charleston Southern by 20. I’m sick of hearing from all the Debbie Downer’s about our qb’s and coaching. We have a good squad this year and We be match up well with anyone on the schedule. If all you couch experts can’t get behind this team great get on the bandwagon and cheer for bama.

    • Alex90
      10:08 am September 4, 2018 Permalink

      UK football fan base is 70% cry babies

    • truBLU
      7:31 pm September 4, 2018 Permalink

      Central Michigan is not “bad”. They are an 8 win team that plays good mid majors and the occasional majors.

  4. notFromhere
    12:34 am September 4, 2018 Permalink

    I’m gonna enjoy this Sunday more than most. Can’t wait for the game

  5. Angelo
    2:36 am September 4, 2018 Permalink

    College football ? coaches are the most overpaid guys on earth ?!!

  6. N-UR-i
    8:09 am September 4, 2018 Permalink

    I am hung up on why we cannot develop a decent quarterback. Most of the FCS teams have better QB play than us, and it has been going on for a decade now.

      4:24 pm September 4, 2018 Permalink

      I’d love to see Couch or Woodson come “home” and be a QB coach/Asst Coach. J-Lo would be good too, but he really needs to get his weight way down, or he won’t be around much longer.

  7. Swizzle
    9:10 am September 4, 2018 Permalink

    Florida was out gained on the ground, but someone has to throw a decent pass to keep them honest. Seems Gunnar is the best fit for that.

  8. Jiminy Crickets
    9:55 am September 4, 2018 Permalink

    So what are the scenarios?
    If uk wins fan base goes nuts
    If uk barely loses fan base thinks we’re contenders
    But if it’s a bad loss, where is fan base? Still rebuilding, or fire stoops?

    • ukcamel
      11:20 am September 4, 2018 Permalink

      Let’s just support the team and not talk about what we’d do if we lose. Even if you don’t like Stoops, the kids don’t deserve negative BS from our fans.

  9. tippytoe
    1:48 pm September 4, 2018 Permalink

    It’s simple. One cat turnover, Gators by 21.
    Two turnovers, Gators by 40.
    If Wilson starts ,Gators by 70