Mark Stoops got the chance to speak to the media today, ahead of Kentucky’s week two matchup against Eastern Michigan. It was a good week of practice for the Cats, according to Stoops. Despite the good week of practice and the Cats putting up 38 on Toledo, Stoops wants to see his offense get off to a cleaner and faster start against the Eagles.
Getting off to a faster start
Kentucky was tied at 14 with Toledo at halftime and that’s not good enough for Stoops.
“Offensively, we had too many three-and-outs this last week,” Stoops said. “We had a lot of possessions. Defensively, we had for stops of three-and-out or three or less, but offensively we had too many. Generally, if we do the little things right and get off to a good start, then big things can happen.
Keeping the Ball off the Turf
Despite the slow start against Toledo, it was still a good day for Terry Wilson especially as far as ball security goes. The guy who had been scrutinized for his turnovers in his first season at Kentucky committed zero turnovers in the season opener.
His teammates were a different story. Kentucky put the ball on the turf four times against the Rockets last Saturday, and that’s something Stoops wants to see cleaned up.
“(I’d like to be) More efficient, just cleaner,” Stoops emphasized on the one thing he’d like to see improve against EMU. “Obviously, ball security is a pretty big issue, we definitely want to see *that* cleaned up. Last week we were pretty efficient, we talk about first down efficiency generally, but it felt like a lot of our mistakes were on second down–they seemed to lead into a little longer third downs than we’d like. Overall, (I’d like to see) execution.”
High Praise for the Receivers
Stoops did, however, have high praise for his receivers.
“I just want to see them continuing to improve.” He wants to see them continue to play aggressively. “Make competitive catches like they did a week ago. We didn’t have any drops–continuing to be good there, we didn’t have any missed assignments, so that’s a good sign, and continuing to block when they don’t have the ball.”
Two Guys Missing on Defense
On the defensive side of the ball, there is going to be a lot of eyes on the linebacker spot with the absence of Chris Oats in the first half. Most people are curious as to who will pick up Oats’ slack in the first half, but that didn’t seem to be a concern of Stoops. They’re just going to roll with the same three-man rotation they have been going with all year.
One aspect of Kentucky’s game that people seemed to be a little let down with was the performance of the D-line, which may be in part to another absent Cat in Phil Hoskins..
Kentucky’s front seven should be just fine against EMU, but keep in mind this isn’t a defense that still won’t have all of their pieces until next Saturday (barring injury) when the Gators march into Lexington next week.
For now, beat Eastern Michigan.
Check out everything Stoops said at today’s press conference ahead of Saturday’s matchup with the Eastern Michigan Eagles: