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Stoops explains decision to not play Sawyer Smith

Fans were clamoring for Sawyer Smith to try his hand at quarterback once Kentucky got down by multiple scores in the second half. It was clear the offense wasn’t going to put any points on the board with Lynn Bowden running the ball out of the quarterback position, and Smith seemed healthy enough on the sideline to at least get a look.

However, Stoops did not make the switch, and Bowden finished out the game with zero points scored by the Wildcats. Afterwards, Stoops was asked if he considered a change to Smith, to which Stoops said, “it was tough” to make that call given the situation.

“Listen, it is difficult for me to continue to answer questions on this,” Stoops told reporters. “You know what I mean? I’m not trying to withhold information; you know me, I’m very up front and I try to be as honest as I can.

“He’s close,” Stoops continued. “It’s tough on a cold, rainy, miserable night to put him in when he’s just there or getting close to getting ready to play. He would go. You saw him go in the South Carolina game. He would play if his arm is falling off. But I can’t do that to him again. It was a tough night and I knew it was going to be a tough grind, so we gave ourselves the best option we felt like we had at that point.”

Without making excuses, Stoops reminded everyone the conditions did not favor throwing the ball anyway.

“It was a difficult night. Before everybody throws darts at Lynn in the passing game, I mean, they have one hell of a quarterback over there and threw the ball for 30 yards tonight. It was tough. It was difficult.”

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

32 Comments for Stoops explains decision to not play Sawyer Smith

  1. Bourbon-n-Coke
    10:05 pm October 19, 2019 Permalink

    Stoops is a dumbass! Fire him! He is a shitty coach! I was at the game and he made NO effort to actually try to win it!

    • ColoKid
      10:15 pm October 19, 2019 Permalink

      Your name says where your knowledge of Kentucky football is. Pump the brakes and lets rewind……
      Ok now that we have went down that street….

    • abobicesaevior
      10:23 pm October 19, 2019 Permalink

      Sarcasm or parody? I can’t tell.

    • satcheluk
      8:42 am October 20, 2019 Permalink

      I hope you’re drunk because that would explain how stupid this comment is. Or maybe you’re always a moron.

  2. MtnCat
    10:10 pm October 19, 2019 Permalink

    …best decision for all concerned. Still a lot to play for

    • drb243
      10:19 pm October 19, 2019 Permalink

      Agreed. Why risk getting Sawyer banged up again against Georgia if he isn’t 100%? Defense played really good. I love Lynn as a player and respect his ability to change the game, but he doesn’t have the arm strength to be the answer at QB. I hope Sawyer gets healthy and we can pull out 3 wins out of the last 5 to salvage a bowl.

  3. makeitstop
    10:14 pm October 19, 2019 Permalink

    Then put in Wood!! Don’t throw it much but in someone who isn’t ur best player getting hit every time or is outr recruiting at that position that bad? I support these guys but leaving him in was stupid or sadistic and I assume given his compassion for Smith it was the former.

    • blueballs80
      10:31 pm October 19, 2019 Permalink

      Really put Wood in so you can get a hard on for a moment? Lyn did his best. 2 holding calls were key. Your dumbass clearly didnt watch the game.

    • bennyboy
      10:42 pm October 19, 2019 Permalink

      Clearly you are the dumbass if you think keeping Bowden in the game until the very end when we are down 21-0. If you think we are screwed now wait until we lose Bowden and have to resort to Wood.

    • JPhelps
      8:20 am October 20, 2019 Permalink

      Yeah, 2 holding calls are why we lost 21-0 and didn’t score a point… what an idiot

    • satcheluk
      8:45 am October 20, 2019 Permalink

      Put in Richie!! The other player I know nothing about is always better than the player I’m disappointed in and the coaches just don’t realize it! Lol, do you really believe what you write or is your mind so incapable of recognizing its own ignorance that you feel you know more than the coaches on who the best option is?

    • makeitstop
      8:49 am October 20, 2019 Permalink

      What Stoops said after this loss and USC can’t be reconciled. He’s worried about getting someone hurt – or more banged up – so he regretted not taking Smith out sooner against USC, and he didn’t want to subject him to the cold wet weather and the beating last night when the game was out of hand? But he left his best guy in there with no ability to throw to get beat up in the cold wet weather? What? Just pull him. Put in Wood or Gilmore or the ball boy if u have to, but if throwing was out of the question in the wind and rain what difference does it make if Wood’s shoulder isn’t 100%? He’s not going to throw it. I am not calling for anyone’s head either just pointing out we aren’t idiots but they talk to us like we are and tell us incongruent nonsense like that and wonder why people question them. It’s not that hard – game out of hand, take out ur best guy before he too gets “more banged up.”

  4. zoupman
    10:15 pm October 19, 2019 Permalink

    I’m fine with not playing Smith, but why was Lynn taking hits with 3 min to go in a game that was unwinable.?
    Stoops does so many things well, but gets lost during games.

    • makeitstop
      10:28 pm October 19, 2019 Permalink

      I agree – How can you teach situational football when you don’t practice situational football? Adapt. Game lost. Weather bad. Saving Smith for next week? Cool. Put your only option isn’t let me keep putting my best player at risk until the bitter end. And if you think Walker Wood probably doesn’t have the arm what a great time to test it when the game is lost anyway and the expectations are zero and it will protect your quarterback and your best receiver? Just freakin’ think on ur feet!

    • bennyboy
      10:47 pm October 19, 2019 Permalink

      My question is, if Walker Wood doesn’t have the arm, then why in the hell does he hold a scholarship. I understand that the staff likes the guy but that doesn’t help the team win games.

    • UKnowMe
      11:41 pm October 19, 2019 Permalink

      If Walker Wood can not start over Bowden he should have his scholarship pulled. Ridiculous we do not have a 3rd string QB that actually plays the position. I know he was a pitty scholarship to get his O Lineman but if he does not have enough talent to be on the roster cut his ass.

    • satcheluk
      8:47 am October 20, 2019 Permalink

      He’s had two shoulder surgeries in two years. You going to pull a scholarship from a good kid due to his injuries when he keeps working to get back into playing shape and is also a good teammate and leader? Moron!

    • makeitstop
      9:26 am October 20, 2019 Permalink

      Yea no one is pulling scholarships for injuries – but maybe we shouldn’t list him on the depth chart if it’s not real. It’s fair to assume the depth chart is a reflection of current ability, not a seniority list. So none of us is saying we are smarter then the coach we are saying if what they told us is true then leaving in ur best player when the next guy on the depth chart is available does not make sense. Or is that too logical?

  5. kyrgaines_12
    10:17 pm October 19, 2019 Permalink


  6. Jester
    10:51 pm October 19, 2019 Permalink

    Let’s not pretend like a healthy Sawyer Smith would have made much of a difference in the outcome…

  7. bennyboy
    10:58 pm October 19, 2019 Permalink

    A healthy Sawyer Smith almost beat a damn good Florida team. Bowden at WR is more beneficial than having him at QB.

    • lizzyuk
      11:46 pm October 19, 2019 Permalink

      First off, from a strategic perspective, why put in sawyer in a nasty weather game where he’s not quite 100% and the weather takes away his key strength anyway? We were a huge underdog to begin with so it makes sense in the long run to save your best players to get healthy for winnable games so we can get to a bowl.

      Maybe consider all the factors before you talk shit about the best coaching staff U.K. football has had since Bear Bryant

      Find me another staff that can send a record breaking amount of players to the NFL, lost their starting veteran DB, lose their QB1 AND QB 2, and QB3 (scalzo) and still have a decent shot at a bowl game.

      If such a staff exists, I haven’t seen them and why would they come to KY anyway?

      Do the staff make mistakes? Of course. But to call for their heads is ridiculous and won’t help anything in the long run.

    • Dark Soul
      2:18 am October 20, 2019 Permalink

      Your making too much sense for a lot of people on here

    • KentuckyVSEveryone
      4:19 am October 20, 2019 Permalink

      Thank you lizzyuk!

    • bennyboy
      8:30 am October 20, 2019 Permalink

      Lizzyuk, I was commenting on Jester’s previous post. Also, I didn’t say a damn word about the coaching staff and it’s decision to not play Smith and I certainly didn’t call for their heads. However, if you are going to talk about saving our best players, then why would you keep Bowden in the game with three minutes left down 21-0? He is our best player and we were letting him continue to take hits in an unwinnable game. Even if this coaching staff is the best since Bear Bryant, it doesn’t mean they can’t be criticized when mistakes are made.

  8. Teamhhc1
    2:18 am October 20, 2019 Permalink

    Where is Amari Gilmore?

    • satcheluk
      8:48 am October 20, 2019 Permalink

      Redshirting because he is no where close to being ready to lead this team. He’s a project, as are just about every 3 star HS QB.

  9. RVaCat
    5:43 am October 20, 2019 Permalink

    Bennyboy, you dont/can’t pull a kids scholarship because the coaches made a mistake recruiting him. More like you should pull the coaches paycheck.

    • bennyboy
      8:10 am October 20, 2019 Permalink

      Athletic scholarships are usually a 1 year agreement and have to be renewed each year. If Walker Wood physically can’t throw the ball then why does he hold a scholarship at the QB position? I understand that the staff likes him and his leadership but that isn’t going to get us wins when our depth at that position has taken a massive hit.

    • neilbert
      9:02 am October 20, 2019 Permalink

      I applaud the coaching staff by honoring their agreement with the kid. In this win at all cost/throw away society we live in, it is nice to see them do the right thing. Not many schools have had 3 qb’s drop halfway through the year. Tough spot to be in. GO CATS

  10. stringmusic78
    9:32 am October 20, 2019 Permalink

    News flash…. Sawyer Smith is not that good and even worse of a decision maker. The coaching staff is only guilty of not having depth in the QB room but they are only slightly liable due to guys transferring.

    Let Coach Stoops determine if a kid can win under center and I tend to agree that Smith cannot.

    • neilbert
      10:20 am October 20, 2019 Permalink

      How many QB’s should a school have? How much depth can handle 3 qb’s getting injured? Newsflash…. the two QB’s that transferred were not very good. I liked Gunner, but everytime he had a shot he laid a turd.