1. A Heart-to-Heart with Badet
The day before the game, Mark Stoops had a coming to Jesus moment with the junior wide receiver, “Then he comes out and plays one of his best games on Saturday,” Mark Stoops said at today’s presser.
Stoops refused to elaborate on specifics, but the word “selfless” was used at one point, leading me to believe it may have to do with keeping the receivers happy when they aren’t getting the ball as much. Regardless, Kentucky could not have won without Badet’s 7 catches for 139 yards and two touchdowns. That Friday afternoon discussion probably had something to do with it.
2. Seeing the Payoff Pays Off
Mark Stoops said after the game he’d be proud of his team, win or lose. He stood by that statement, with a caveat.
“The players need to see some fruit from their labors. They need to get a payoff,” he said. “You know you’re making progress but players, fans, everybody needs to see the payoff.”
3. Read Options with Johnson in the Red Zone
Mark Stoops could live with Johnson’s first fumble, but not the second. “He had a bunch of people in his ear, starting with me.”
Even though he’s ran in a score with the read option in the red zone, keeping the ball in that specific situation was not wise. Moving forward, they’ll be much more hesitant to give him the option to keep it near the goal line. It’s not just because of the fumble; Stoops worries if his body can handle the physicality.
4. Stoops’ Players are No Longer Fragile
When bad things happen, this team does not fall apart. He had to constantly remind them of that at the beginning of the season. Now, “I feel like we’re over the hump here.”
If there’s one thing that defines this team, it’s how they respond to adversity. “If they don’t respond the right way, it’s never gonna work.” They’re one week closer to a major award.
Only three months and one day until Christmas.
5. McWilson’s Great Game
Stoops was extremely proud of McWilson’s performance on Saturday night, arguably the greatest game of his career. A starter for his first two years, he was beat out, but didn’t put his head down and pout. Stoops was happy to see his fellow Youngstown native succeed. “I’m very hard on him because I know he can take it and I know he needs it.”
6. Everybody’s Banged Up
“We’re banged up, but tell me one team that’s not.” Stoops didn’t provide any specifics, but he won’t let it be an excuse. Another day without a Drew Barker update makes his status for the year seem even more uncertain.
7. Missouri is like a Big 12 Team
People forget that Missouri used to be in the Big 12. Thanks for the reminder, Mark Stoops.
Stoops really wasn’t trying to throws jabs at the SEC newcomers form the Big 12, he was referencing their style of play. “They ran 112 plays last week. One hundred and twelve. That’s two games.”
Even though he’s familiar with offensive coordinator Josh Heupel from their time together at Arizona, Stoops said he may seek out advice from his brother Bob on how to handle Big 12 offenses.
8. Go Go
Power Rangers Kentucky Wildcats
“We’ve morphed into a team that’s found a way to win games. However that may be.”
9. Dorian Baker, The Almost Game-Winning Touchdown Maker
On the Cats final deep shot of the game, the football hit Dorian Baker’s hands in the end zone, but he could not reel in the difficult catch. “It was a tough catch but certainly one he could make.” Stoops remains confident in Baker, but coming off the injury he thinks Baker is “pressing to make big plays.”
I know most of you all don’t care and just want to bash Dorian Baker so I’ll share the text message I received Sunday morning: “Dorian Baker is still only good at dropping important passes.”
10. Shooting for Second in the East?
Everyone is aware of where the Cats currently stand and what’s at stake, but Stoops will not address that with his team or any ‘what ifs.’ “I won’t talk about that much because I’m really concerned with this game.”