Skip to content

Kentucky Sports Radio

University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.

TRANSCRIPT: Mark Stoops previews Mississippi State

Opening Statement…

“Again, as I said after the (Murray State) game, I thought it was a good sign for our football team. The maturity about us to go out there and prepare the right way last week and to go out and play a good football game.  We’re going to have to do the same thing this week. We are going to have to kick it up a notch. It is a big game against Mississippi State. We are excited and the guys are ready to get to work on that.”

On Mississippi State being different under leadership of new head coach… 

“They are some things that carry over and then you see his wrinkle, his nuances, with the offense and what he is doing. They are still very, very good and still very physical.”

On the importance of this week’s game … 

“I think it is important. It is the next game. That is why it is most important. It is the game that we are focusing on. It is a big opportunity against a ranked opponent at home. There are lots of reasons why it is big game. Part of that is to win at home in a good environment like we are going to have and I expect this week.”

On Miss. State QB Nick Fitzgerald and his strengths… 

“He has experience. He is physical. He makes plays when he has to. He is talented with his arm. As always, when you play a team like this, it is not only physical when they run the ball, but they have a physical quarterback and they use quarterback runs. That makes you play with numbers and then he is talented enough with the receiving corps and the tight ends are talented enough to hurt you throwing the ball. So, it puts a lot of pressure on you.”

On Mississippi State’s defense…

“They are very good defensively. As always, seems like when we talk about them, they are very long. They’re big, they’re physical and they are experienced. They have, I want to say, three seniors on their front that are very big and athletic and one junior. Then, across the rest of their defense, a bunch of juniors and seniors. They sprinkle in a couple of sophomores, but they are an experienced group and a big physical group, very active.”

On Kentucky’s physicality matching Mississippi State’s… 

“I guess it is because that is the nature of this league. You have to be. You could look to the success of Mississippi State because of the way they play and they’re as physical as anybody you are going to play in the league, if not more. So, you have to match them. It starts there. But again, there are a lot of other things that are going to go into it, but that is a big piece of it.”

On the second string offensive line playing vs. Murray State… 

“I think it was good in general to get a lot of guys in there. I want to say we played 11 offensive lineman. So, it was really good to get some reps for them, get their feet wet, get some experience.”

On the younger players catching his attention…  

“Lots of guys did some good things. We talked about the offensive line. I think Darian Kinnard showed some good things. We haven’t talked much. He isn’t so much a young guy, but Luke Fortner is doing some really good things. Luke (Fortner) has played some good football. Mason Wolfe is doing some good things. Again, not a young guy, but Kengera Daniel is playing good football for us. We need that at outside linebacker. I really like the way he is playing. Jordan Wright got significant snaps because Boogie (Watson) was a little banged up last week so we held him and Jordan Wright did some good things. We talked about Allen Dailey and Zy’Aire (Hughes) getting a touchdown was big. Keaton Upshaw got hurt last week in practice. We are going to have to redshirt him. So, he is going to be out for the year. We did play Brenden Bates some in that position. Chris Rodriguez did a good job. You could go on and on. A lot of those guys I was impressed with.”

On Boogie Watson returning this week… 

“Yes.”

On Marquan McCall …

“He did a good job. He is powerful at the point of attack. There were some things that showed up. He needs to get in shape. He needs to get his butt moving a little bit. He knows that. We will continue push him a little bit.”

On Terry Wilson feeling comfortable and his improvement… 

“It does say a lot about him because we have seen that. You have heard me talk about that at least two or three times. We makes improvement often. He takes the coaching. He works at it. He comes early. He stays late. He does what he has to do to do the studying on his own. Also, take the coaching. It does not surprise me much because I anticipated that. I mentioned that after week one in here that he is a sophomore and in game one there was no doubt in our mind that he would improve and he has.”

On the SEC at this point… 

“Just when we watch the crossover (games on video), we see it. Just this past week getting done early for a change and being able to watch some football in general doesn’t surprise me. The league is deep. We all know that. Like I always say, there’s nobody that’s going backwards. The teams are working extremely hard to improve their program and I saw that. One team that just jumps out at me, many of them are, but I watched Vandy. Vandy is a good football team and had every opportunity to win at Notre Dame. It says a lot about what they’re doing.”

On keeping opponents scoreless in the third quarter so far this season …  

“I do not know much has changed. I think the experience of our group helps and the group being intentional about going into the locker room is a sign of maturity. The (position) groups and the leaders within the groups discussing things before the coaches get in there and I like that. They have been intentional about that, about getting together, sitting with each other and reviewing the things that are hurting us, how to get them corrected, things we are doing good and how to attack and so on.”

On the end of the second quarter… 

“That was a big topic last year. You knew how I felt about that last year because you knew how strong the team is and you are in that environment and I didn’t feel like we played our best and had an opportunity to go in either tied, or up or down three. That is a big difference between being down ten and having the all the momentum. We learned from that opportunity. That was big this year already. I want to say Florida, we may have been in the same situation and Eddie (Gran) and I discussed that at that moment and we were much more successful this year. It is not going to always be that way because it is hard. You have to make the first downs and understand what you’re trying to do with the clock but it was a big turning point in the game last year in the game with Mississippi State for sure.”

On if he sees similarities between what Dan Mullen did in Starkville and what Stoops is doing here at Kentucky…

“I do. Dan and I have talked about that and of course I’ve watched the success that he has along with everybody else in this league. Especially when you play them every year because you just look at their team, and you always saw their teams’ length and athletic ability. Were trying to be as big as we can and as athletic as we can, and part of that is recruiting and part of that is development, like we always talk about. Now we’re getting some experience with that as well and that’s what this team has for them. They have all those things and they have experience.”

On how he made the final decision to move Zyaire Hughes to receiver…

“He was just most comfortable with that and we discussed it, and he is talented with the ball in his hands. You know there’s a lot of other facets of the offense. We love Zy’aire, he’s a great kid. He works hard and he’s very dynamic and he’s got some speed, so I’d like him to put it all together to help us some out there because we need that speed at receiver.”

On what he’s seen of Max Duffy so far…

“Max is one of those guys that is very mature. He just kind of goes about his business and does it in a very professional way. He works on his craft all the time. He’s talented with his punting. You can see him getting better already, and that’s a good sign for us because he has some ability. He has a really strong leg and he has the talent to do different kicks. I really like what I see out of Max and glad we have him.”

On if he enjoys doing SEC Network features…

“You guys know you haven’t seen many features with me in the locker room. I feel like that’s an intimate setting with the team and myself and I don’t often let people into that because it’s just what I like to do with the team. I understand there a portion of it, with promoting and things like that, but I just really feel like what goes on behind closed doors with the team stays in there. In that case the network was in there. I’ll be honest with you, nobody even asked me (laughter). I just got talking and they were in there. So, it was really authentic because I really had no idea they were coming in. I meant to talk to you about that (laughter). I was glad that people got to see it because it was special I thought. You saw the genuine excitement from our team and you saw the team and us and the staff, how we feel about John (Schlarman) and Josh (Pascal) and the things were going through behind closed doors. You got a little peek at that, and that’s all good as well. It was a nice piece and glad you liked it.”

On what makes Mississippi State’s rushing attack so potent…

“You put together a physical offense line, a dynamic back, and a big beast at quarterback. That’s a lot of good things, and their tight ends. They’re big, they’re strong, and they’re explosive. They just put a lot of pressure on you. The quarterback run game, when you have a guy like Fitzgerald, who is fast and is also big and strong.”

On what is the matchup like with the receivers and cornerbacks this week…

“It’s going to be the same because again, you know what I’m going to say, we have to play with numbers. We got to play numbers in there; they make you do that and then therefore, puts a lot of stress outside. If you’re an offense and you hear me talking about it a lot, that creates an opportunity for big plays. So we have to match up and we have to win some of those one-on-ones because we have to put some pressure on those guys.”

On what he sees in Fitzgerald that makes him even more dangerous than last year…

“Just maturity and just experience. He’s still fresh. He’s only played in two games, and it hasn’t been close, so he looks good.”

On how similar is the challenge that Terry presents to the defense to what they will face in games…

“It’s similar in some ways, in some of the designed quarterback runs and some of the reads, so it helps. Why it’s different is because we all know the designed runs, both for them and for us, there’s opportunity but they also can be defensed. What really hurts you is when things break down in those guys. You see what Terry does, the same with Fitzgerald because you have to be disciplined in your rush lanes. Therefore, you just can’t be running up the field at them all the time because they could pull them down, there could be designed quarterback draws, or they could just pull it down when they see a gap. You saw that with Terry this last week. That’s what makes it very, very difficult for defensive coordinators at times to stop because they could have everything matched up very good and then a guy just pulls it down and runs it 54 yards or whatever it was for a touchdown. That’s hard to overcome.”

On if QB Danny Clark can give you a decent look in practice (imitating Fitzgerald)…

“Danny is similar to Fitzgerald in those ways because he is one of those great, big strong runners and can also throw it. He is practicing with our offense so he doesn’t give us the scout team looks, but when we do good against good, we may get some looks with him in there, because we practice on Tuesday and Wednesday portions of the practice offense vs. defense.”

On designing a play for Zy’Aire Hughes…

“Just to get him the football, get him going. Obviously, with our playbook, everybody knows, everybody has a bit of deception at times. They always look pretty when they work and you look very silly when they don’t.”

More on the trick play and opponents seeing it on film…

“That’s what I’m saying. We always have a bit of deception. We always have a few plays here or there like everybody does. It’s always something for someone to look at and there could be plays off of it as well.”

On opening the playbook up for Terry Wilson …

“Terry’s done a great job with the playbook. It’s always like that with inexperience. It’s making sure they’re doing things they do well until they get their feet up underneath them, but he’s always done a good job of picking up the offense. You’ve got to understand when you’re doing things like that, the old school stuff progression, one-two-three-four-five, that’s chalkboard stuff. You know how many people really do that? You’ve got to have an awful lot of time and operation, and even in the NFL, you’re seeing things more segmented to half the field.”

On Jordan Jones’s play …

“You know what, he played really good Saturday. He did a nice job. He really was disciplined, good in his fits and really good in pass coverage, so he did some good things.”

On how Jones and Kash Daniel are playing together …

“I think they’re working very well together. It’s been a nice mix, and Kash played good again, and the two of them together, I’m happy with, yes.”

On playing Jordan Jones more in pass coverage …

“No, same defense, for the most part, give or take a few things. What they (Murray State) did Saturday put him out in space a little more maybe than you would see all the time, and he did a nice job with that.”

On Quinton Bohanna still being able to go Saturday …

“I am. I expect him to be out there this week. I do.”

On Dorian Baker breaking through some rust after not playing last season …

“He’s getting there. I think more and more opportunities, you’d like to see him continue to step up and make plays, make competitive plays. He had a couple of opportunities Saturday that you’d like to see him make and one of them is just simple things with hand placement, and again, that comes with opportunities and getting a bunch of catches and opportunities, so we’ll continue to work with him.”

On Lynn Bowden’s transition to wide receiver, he seems much more comfortable this season …

“Much more comfortable, and again, I’ve said it often, Lynn’s a bright kid. He gets it. He just needs to be coached and needs the reps, and needs to look at the good things and the negative things on film and build from it. I think he gets better with every opportunity.”

On what Stoops anticipates the atmosphere to be like on Saturday …

“I don’t know what to compare it to, but I just hope and expect to have a great crowd. I’m sure we will. The Big Blue Nation has not disappointed us in these big opportunities, and the team is excited about being here and being in this environment and working extremely hard this week to give ourselves an opportunity to win.”

On knowing Mississippi State coach Joe Moorhead …

“Not much. I just got to know him a bit through the league and the meetings. I’m really, really impressed with him, really good person. I know he’s a sharp football mind, but I really enjoy being around him, really pleasant guy, good guy. We both share an affinity for Italian restaurants, so he gave me one when we were at the meetings.”

On keeping Benny Snell focused with him being close to Randall Cobb’s all-time touchdown record …

“I don’t think there will be any problem with that. There’s many opportunities and records I’m sure that either Benny has passed or coming up on, so I don’t think that would distract him at all. Knowing Benny, he’s worried about playing good and helping his team get an opportunity to win a big game.”

On Snell asking to play a little more quarterback after his touchdown pass Saturday …

“Yea, probably. We had that opportunity last year where they didn’t cover Stephen (Johnson), and he threw it out there, and we dropped that one last year, I think it was South Carolina. So, we’re working on that, too, getting him to throw a little bit out of the wildcat (formation).”

On having your best player having a good work ethic …

“The good thing is I don’t even know who you’re talking about right now. There’s several of those guys that could fit that (description) that you just talked about. I like that about our team. It does show a sign of maturity, and we have an opportunity to build on that every week. This will be another opportunity for these guys to continue to do what they’ve done. I think the team is very close that way, they genuinely care about each other. I think that was evident again this past Saturday with the guys excited for guys to get in and play and have some positive things happen to them because it gets hard. As I’ve mentioned, there’s a lot of good players on our team, and we’re deeper than we’ve been, and there’s only one football. Guys want carries, guys want catches, they want to play, and you understand that, but they have to earn their way on the field. It’s really difficult to keep a 100 guys, 105 guys extremely happy because they do care about their personal interest as well, and that’s ok, but not at the team’s expense, and I think they understand that.”

On getting good players with good work ethics who also pull for each other, is it recruiting or developing it in the locker room …

“Both. Recruiting the right player that fits and understands his role, being intentional about the development and the leadership and what you’re teaching with the team aspect. You’re never going to be a 100 percent, but you strive for that, and you’re seeing that with this team. They’re very unselfish, but again, you’re never going to be a 100 percent in that aspect, but we’re much better than we’ve ever been, that’s for sure.”

[mobile_ad]

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

1 Comment for TRANSCRIPT: Mark Stoops previews Mississippi State



  1. cats646
    7:29 pm September 17, 2018 Permalink

    Can’t wait for the game!! Show up BBN!!!!