Mark Stoops just wrapped up his first postgame press conference, and it wasn’t a happy one. Stoops said he was incredibly disappointed in his team, especially the defense, and he really believed the Cats would come out and play better than they did:
“Rough day, I’m not very pleased with the way we played. I thought we’d play better than that.”
The big question afterwards was who would start next week against Miami: Jalen Whitlow or Maxwell Smith. Stoops refused to tip his hand, but said that the staff will “continue to look at the QB situation,” noting that both QBs did good things, especially Smith.
Fans booed Stoops after he decided to kick a field goal in the fourth quarter instead of going for it on fourth down. How did that make him feel?
“You’ve got to stay the course. I plan on being a head coach a long time, you have to do what you think is right. …Shoot, half of me wanted to go for it too.”
One of the most frustrating things about UK’s performance were all of the missed tackles, drops, and stupid penalties. Don’t worry, Stoops was especially discouraged by the fundamental mistakes the teams made on defense, and their lack of leverage and position on the football.
Interestingly, Stoops noted that the team didn’t seem very excited before the game, and that usually, he has to calm his players down before they go out on the field. Neal Brown agreed, and said the staff has to do a better job of getting them pumped up. (My take: How could you not be pumped up for the season opener against the team you said disrespected you last year??)
It’s gonna be a long bus ride back to Lexington.