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Stoops: Kentucky called deep passes, players failed to execute explosive plays

Photo by UK Athletics

UK Athletics

SEC Network analyst Jordan Rogers spent most of the fourth quarter pleading with the Kentucky offense to throw the ball downfield. Those throws never happened. Mark Stoops said after the game it was not for a lack of effort.

“You have to make some big plays to beat a team like that and we didn’t do it,” said Kentucky’s head coach.

“We tried. Sometimes they were covered and they went to check downs so it looks like a three-yard gain when in fact we had something called down the field to try to hit some verticals, try to hit some slants, try to hit some big plays that they took away. It’s not like we didn’t have those plays called. We did. We need to create them. We need to make some plays down the field, obviously. We definitely were working at that today. It didn’t always show up.”

In his first career start, quarterback Joey Gatewood completed 15-of-25 passes for 91 yards, an inefficient 3.6 yards per attempt. Kentucky’s longest pass play of the day went for only 11 yards.

Is the quarterback to blame for the lack of shots downfield or the wide receivers? Stoops is unable to appropriately diagnose the problem before studying the film, but Georgia’s highly-touted defense certainly deserves some of the credit.

“You saw late in the game in predictable pass how dangerous they can be. If you watch them this year, they can overwhelm you and obviously blow the game wide open with their defense, with strip sacks, with interceptions for touchdowns, creating havoc with their defense in predictable situations,” said Stoops.

Georgia sacked Gatewood four times, forced a fumble on a QB run and just dropped a pick six in the fourth quarter.

“First off, credit Georgia’s defense,” said Gatewood. “They’re a good, physical team up front and the secondary is obviously pretty good. Ya know, things just happen in the moment. If everything went the way I would have liked it to, it would have gone otherwise, but credit to them. They were a physical, good team, prepared. We’ll learn from all this and go from there.”

Since before the start of the 2019 season, the UK offense has been searching for explosive playmakers in the passing game. If the Wildcats cannot find ways to make big plays through the air, they will struggle to score against anybody, not just against the talented Georgia defense.

“We knew Georgia had one of the best defenses in the country, if not the best,” said Stoops. “They really played well, put a lot of pressure on us, did some really good things. I thought we gave ourselves an opportunity. We were better. I really liked our team’s energy, their focus all week. They played with great energy, played very physical. We’re playing physical enough on both sides of the line of scrimmage to win a game like that. We have to be able to create more opportunities for big plays. We have to get the ball in the end zone.

“We had a couple opportunities. The long drive we had in the second quarter we got three out of it. You need to be able to punch that in, put some pressure on them and that was the big difference in the game, obviously, our inability to create big plays and punch it in the end zone.”

Article written by Nick Roush

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

17 Comments for Stoops: Kentucky called deep passes, players failed to execute explosive plays

  1. blueballs80
    4:48 pm October 31, 2020 Permalink

    Excuses are getting old.

  2. zoupman
    5:08 pm October 31, 2020 Permalink

    To me it seemed like Joey never even looked downfield.
    Overall team played well and I was proud.
    Had no idea Joey was so slow footed.

  3. bigblue98
    5:25 pm October 31, 2020 Permalink

    Played not to lose big – he can use the same excuses and give the same bs answers, but the proof is what we just witnessed. As a coaching staff it is your responsibility to ensure the ball goes down the field. If the qb is checking it down then you have a conversation and give some guidance, especially in the fourth quarter when they got the ball with 9:06 remaining, bled off over 4 minutes, and only moved the ball 20 yards. I sometimes think that he believes we are all blind and should just accept what he says. This 14-3 loss was the same as Ga scoring 21, 28, 35, 42, 49, or 77 points. Once they got up by more than 7 no honest UK fan thought they had a chance to win. Our best offense right now is the hope that our defense will pick up a fumble for a td or get a pick six. I guarantee 4 games from now we’ll be saying the same thing because this staff won’t adjust. What the hell does Rose do better than Rodriguez, pass block? We don’t pass the d**n ball, yet we have to listen to Stoops even give a bs answer on that.

  4. Bluenblood
    5:30 pm October 31, 2020 Permalink


  5. 4burgoo
    5:31 pm October 31, 2020 Permalink

    What Coach meant to say was “we have won a lot of games the past few years despite our dysfunctional play calling, and now that we need to rely on some expertise in that area we have been completely exposed.”

  6. nadkin
    5:46 pm October 31, 2020 Permalink

    Sounds Like Old Stoopy Is Laying This One The Receivers!

  7. kjd
    5:56 pm October 31, 2020 Permalink

    Can’t recruit quality receivers.
    Played not to get blown out.

  8. DoubleB65
    7:49 pm October 31, 2020 Permalink

    BULLS$IT! Stop it Stoops. Quit lying thru your buck teeth.



    Next preseason let’s focus on football.

    • Middy
      10:26 am November 1, 2020 Permalink

      How is life in left field?

  9. itsfootballtimeinthebluegrass
    1:02 am November 1, 2020 Permalink

    Fire Eddie Gran and/or change the offensive philosophy. This shit is getting old.

  10. TBW3011
    1:39 am November 1, 2020 Permalink

    Like the first drive when 100% of the plays were runs including 3rd and 5 near mid field where we punted? What shot was covered, checked down or missed on that drive Mark?

  11. bbn606
    7:16 am November 1, 2020 Permalink

    Stoops’ most talented and deepest team is regressing. At least this gave us a butt kicking of Tennessee.

    • Middy
      10:35 am November 1, 2020 Permalink

      I wouldn’t say we’re regressing. We’re just not growing. Same offense as two years ago. We didn’t light up the skies then. It’s just a much more difficult schedule, so the results look worse. Losing 14-3 to number 5 Georgia isn’t a bad loss. It’s frustrating though when we’re a functional passing game from being able to win! Not so long ago we would’ve lost 49-3 because they rest of our team sucked too. Now all other aspects are ready to compete with top level teams like Georgia. Just need a passing game… unfortunately the a big puzzle piece!

  12. jinjerita
    8:55 am November 1, 2020 Permalink

    I don’t believe a word of that. Especially after watching Joey’s post game comments. Totally skirted the question about what Coach Stoops said about deep passes.

  13. Cat68
    9:46 am November 1, 2020 Permalink

    Seemed like Joey wasn’t getting the protection needed to stand in the pocket so WRs can finish routes. Several times I kept thinking about our OL supposedly being the best or nearly the best there is. I didn’t necessarily see it yesterday.