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Stoops said time wasn’t the issue on final drive against Auburn


It’s been three and a half days and the inside draw on second down with under a minute remaining is still a hot topic around Kentucky football.

During his Monday press conference, Mark Stoops was asked once again about Shannon Dawson’s unpopular play call and Dawson’s postgame comment about having the courage to call a play fans may not agree with.

Stoops said he would’ve called a pass, knowing what he knows now. But time wasn’t the problem:

I think, you know, there was one other call in the game in a similar situation that we didn’t run the ball. I think, like I said after the game, it’s always easy to second guess. People that say, ‘Would you do anything different?’ I mean most people would be lying if it didn’t work, right? Certainly, if you can let me do that play over again, of course we’d call a pass. But time wasn’t the issue in that game. Downs were. We lost a down there. We didn’t lose — time didn’t necessarily — I think we had a lot of time, you know, to finish that game off.

It’s understandable to get some criticism over that. We can handle it. That’s fine. But I support the call because we have to — I’ve said it all along: whether it’s a situation of dealing with time right there or any time in the game, if you can play with two safeties and play two deep and roll up on our receivers, then you have to be able to run the ball. We’ve done it before and it worked and had we popped that run for some good yards, I think all of you would be sitting there writing about what a genius (Coach Dawson) was.

Stoops did not defend the eight-man punt return, however. When asked about that one, he said, “We messed that up. I messed that up. I take responsibility for that.”

He expected Auburn to go for it (as did everyone else) and things got all messed up with packages and personnel when he tried to sub the punt safe. He wishes he had left the returner and subbed one person for one person.

“That’s my fault and it could’ve cost it. Luckily, we had so many people running off we weren’t going to get called for twelve.”

Article written by Drew Franklin

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

22 Comments for Stoops said time wasn’t the issue on final drive against Auburn

  1. eric
    1:11 pm October 19, 2015 Permalink

    Running the ball with under 2 minutes left on the clock with no timeouts is always a mistake. Bad enough to make a bad play call but, equally worse when you can’t own up to the mistakes. This coaching staff does a poor job managing the clock and until they admit such they aren’t going to get any better.

    • DerbyDemon
      1:19 pm October 19, 2015 Permalink

      It’s even worse when you call a running play up the middle with a little better than 30 SECONDS left… I agree with you 100%. Poorest clock management in the world (and not just in the Auburn game) plus no special teams coach.

    • inside info2
      1:38 pm October 19, 2015 Permalink

      Clock management has been an issue with Stoops and staff since he has been here. It didn’t matter when we were 2-10 and he was still learning. He’s had enough raises and enough time that these shouldn’t be happening now.

      We are one good quarterback and one or two more good defensive players and a little bit more depth from having a legit SEC team. I don’t want to see bad clock management costing us a win or two down the road.

    • android guy
      1:45 pm October 19, 2015 Permalink

      It’s not like the clock was even a factor for us. We turned it over on downs with about 45 seconds remaining, so what difference would getting back ten seconds have made? Auburn would have had to take a knee twice instead of once? ZERO impact on the outcome.

      As it was explained, that run had a pretty good chance of catching Auburn with its pants down. It didn’t work, but good ideas don’t work sometimes. That’s how football goes.

    • CatsBy80
      1:49 pm October 19, 2015 Permalink

      agree with Android completely. The problem wasn’t the run.. the problem was the deep ball on 3rd & 4. get the first down and continue the drive. don’t put yourself in a 4th and medium yardage situation. towles has got to know better than throw the deep ball in that situation unless it is a 100% sure thing, which it obviously was not.

    • CatsBy80
      1:51 pm October 19, 2015 Permalink

      additionally, this point would be moot if Boom would’ve caught the pass a few plays prior. he had a lot of room to run and who knows what would’ve happened had he hauled that one in… i would love to see us play a clean game this weekend in Starkville. Even if we lose the game, a clean game would be a breath of fresh air.

    • inside info2
      1:58 pm October 19, 2015 Permalink

      The clock wasn’t an issue for us because we gave the ball up on downs. What if we had gotten a first down? Clock would’ve eventually been an issue. Let me rephrase that–for a normal team who used a normal 2 minute offense it would’ve been an issue. Most normal teams would’ve gone for a few yards at a time to chip away at the first down, then repeat until we are in field goal range. If you mean time wouldn’t have been an issue because of the phantom miracle yards the hand off would’ve made IF it had worked and then the hail mary to the end zone that MIGHT’VE worked, then no, time wouldn’t have been an issue.

    • Bourbon Breath
      2:24 pm October 19, 2015 Permalink

      Sounds like some of you would be so much better than Stoops and his staff. Are you head coaches somewhere? How are your records for your football team? Maybe you should try to be a college coach if you know it all. Otherwise you’re just someone with a bunch of what-ifs and shoulda, woulda, could of.

    • inside info2
      2:39 pm October 19, 2015 Permalink

      Bourbon it’s kinda ironic that you say that considering the head coach’s whole defense of the play call is based on what if it had worked, it shoulda worked, and it could have worked.

    • Dude
      2:42 pm October 19, 2015 Permalink

      Inside info2, seriously, you should just not watch UK sports. It’s obviously upsetting you too much.

    • theWilkman
      2:46 pm October 19, 2015 Permalink

      I think it was a pretty bad call, especially when combined with the following play.

      If he had just reached the first down marker, though, the clock would have stopped, so I see his point about the time not really being an issue.

    • inside info2
      3:10 pm October 19, 2015 Permalink

      Dude– I love UK football. I seriously think this would be a football school if we had a team that could consistently win 7,8 and occasionally 9 games a year. We are probably as close as we have been to that point in the last 20+ years I have been watching UK football.

      I can criticize UK football and the staff. I didn’t cheer lead when Joker was the coach and I was right. I didn’t cheer lead when Brooks was the coach the first couple of years and I was wrong. I did cheer lead in his last few years and am thankful for him being here.

      I think this staff should be criticized. Nothing wrong with that. You think I’m bad, then go to UM’s board today or go to Auburn’s board at any point this year. I think I am pretty fair and level-headed in my criticism. I’ll cheer lead when the staff has earned it. Not until then.

    • lonnieb
      3:46 pm October 19, 2015 Permalink

      Wilkman spot on.
      3rd down made the run worse
      Then qb freezing and trying what was a pretty determined scramble was the worse. He never even looked down field.

      Time management was only a problem if they were going to try for a td. Obviously the mission was a fg and tie for ot……we still don’t quite have winning mentality. Better now than anytime recently…..but we still play not to lose

    • Ha!
      3:47 pm October 19, 2015 Permalink

      So you were right about the coaches 50% of the time. That’s not exactly a great record. So, don’t get mad when people criticize you. You are negative way too much, and I think people are getting tired of hearing you cry about everything and giving your 20/20 hindsight opinion.

      This includes basketball, too. We’ve had a 6 year run under Cal that might be the best in this school’s history, so I don’t think there should be much to criticize. Yet you still find SOMETHING. “We’d win a few more games this year if Cal wasn’t so arrogant and stubborn” I believe was one of your quotes you used recently.

      Quit being so damn negative, and try to have some fun for once. Its a GAME. Its supposed to be FUN. And its obvious you are having a hard time grasping that concept. 😉

    • Ha!
      3:49 pm October 19, 2015 Permalink

      Inside info2: You even complain and criticize the WRITERS ON THIS SITE.

      Get over yourself, man…..

    • theWilkman
      3:52 pm October 19, 2015 Permalink

      lonnieb – If that was a designed scramble then you’re absolutely right, that was a terrible call. I didn’t see the post game comments, only read excerpts, so I’m not sure what was called. I just figured they had the WRs covered and Towles thought he could make the play.

    • inside info2
      3:54 pm October 19, 2015 Permalink

      This is a message board, not life. So pardon me if I take your criticism about as seriously as I imagine everyone takes mine. As long as Matt and the rest of KSR allow me to post, i’m going to post when I feel the urge. Admittedly Matt and the rest of KSR may wish I didn’t, but they haven’t stopped me yet.

      I am a pretty passionate UK fan. I am also pretty close to several people on both coaching staffs. So I can come here and say stuff that I can’t necessarily say in real life.

      The point about the coaches wasn’t my personal win/loss record. The very point is that I realize I am not always right.

  2. UKBlue
    1:47 pm October 19, 2015 Permalink

    I’m sorry there is no defending this offensive play call screw ups; clock running under 2 minutes, long yardage & needing to get into at least field goal territory to tie the game. Has no one in the FB complex heard of a 2 min offense? It should be automatic common sense you throw the ball esp short to medium distance passes & allow the WR to get out of bounds to stop the clock. We need what 5 yards, yea lets call a long throw on 3rd down. As well as the slant & crossing patterns were working why stop calling them if they’re working; doing this truly makes it KY Football, stop calling what works. I honestly don’t know who is worse at the timing of calling plays Neil Brown or Dawson; it might be a tie. I think we are figuring out why Dawson wasn’t allowed to call the plays at West Virginia.

  3. android guy
    4:21 pm October 19, 2015 Permalink

    As Coach Rupp was fond of saying, “If ifs and buts were cakes and nuts, we’d all be happy come Christmas”. We lost by three points, so any of a dozen ifs would have been the difference. Rather than that run, the play that hurts me the most is Baker’s dropped TD that would have been the difference had he held on. But, again, that’s football. The kid is getting better by the week, and he doesn’t need to let a bunch of middle-aged men on KSR affect his confidence, so I’m not criticizing him.

  4. NavyCat
    5:08 pm October 19, 2015 Permalink

    Time was a factor! Just look at how discombobulated we were trying to get 11 men on the field for the punt return. In my mind, everything seemed rushed and out of sync from that point forward. That being said, the only reason time was a factor was because of the leadership, coaching, or lack thereof, on the sidelines. There is simply no excuse for a program in the SEC to look that bad at the end of the game, same goes for the FL game, with a chance to win or, in the case of Auburn, at least tie the game. This is on Stoops & company. Glad we got him and love his recruiting thus far but better field decisions need to made if UK is going to take the next step.

  5. In other words
    5:52 pm October 19, 2015 Permalink

    In other words, Stoops & Co. got suckered into the run call. That sounds about right.

    With all of the millions invested in the stadium and the millionaire head coach, how about springing for $10k or $20k to have some clock management guru to come in and teach a weekend seminar to Stoops and the rest of the staff so they can be appear competent the next time we need to run a 2:00 offense.

    • Mitch Barnhart
      5:56 pm October 19, 2015 Permalink

      Someone like you? Haha!