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TRANSCRIPT: Mark Stoops recaps Miss. St,. previews Tennessee

Miss Mark Stoops’ press conference today? Have no fear, we have a video replay and a transcript so you can see every little word Stoops said about his team’s win over Mississippi State and Saturday’s game at Tennessee.

Opening Statement …

“To recap Saturday’s victory, as I said after the game I thought it was a very good team effort, really proud of how the defense responded. Really worked hard a week ago to try to get things corrected from not playing well against Mississippi. You can tell just by what is going on in the league and the scoring that is happening and the yards and the points, these teams are difficult to defend. Much like I talked about last Monday, we did a lot of good things in the Ole Miss game, in particular offensively, but didn’t feel like we played as good defensively. But just challenge the defense and I really felt like they responded well and came out and played a good game. Offensively, we have got to get some things corrected, did not play well. We know that and know there are some things we can get fixed. Some things are easy fixes and some things are difficult. We have to play as a team and find a way to win. We need the offensive to respond much like the defense did last week to come out and put it all together. That is what gives us hope as we move forward. As I mentioned, it is an unbelievably challenging schedule and we need to put it all together to go play a great game against Tennessee. This is an important game for us and our fan base and another league (game) and our division. You look at it and again, as Coach (Mike) Leach said after the game and I said it a week ago, it is going to be a grind. You just hit the reset button each week. You look at it and feel disappointed letting a game slip away here or there, but it is going to be a tough grind. There are only six teams in our league that have a better record than us and eight teams that have the same or worse. So it is NFL parity this year in the SEC and it is going to be a challenge each and every week and looking forward to this opportunity with Tennessee. (They are a) Very good team, a team that seems to be more physical each year Jeremy (Coach Jeremy Pruitt) is there and the way they recruit and the way they are coaching. They are getting better at each level and they are an improved football team, so we are looking forward to the challenge.”

On how important the game is for the players …

“Well, it’s important. It is a team that is on your side of the league. It’s an East game, it’s a rival game, it’s our neighbor. It’s an important football game.”

On what are the easy fixes for the offense …

“The self-inflicted plays that are hurting us, we can control those things. There are many plays that are up to us and up to coaches and up to each individual. There are things we can get corrected. There are things we have done this year exceptionally well. We have to put it all together and the defense is a great example. I was ready to pull what little hair I have out all last week and we came out and responded against a very good team. To hold that team to zero (offensive) points, to shut them out for the first time in Mike Leach’s (head coaching) career is a compliment to our players and our staff with the way they responded.”

On Josh Paschal’s interception and reflecting on the moment considering what he has been through …

“It really does. He is an amazing individual. I don’t make too much of it and I don’t need y’all to dig into it, but it is just his leadership and the way he responded at halftime. He had injured his knee, he was hurt,  unsure whether he could play, unsure how significant that injury is.  He’s a guy that wanted to speak at halftime with me and to address the team and to lead. He is a courageous young man. He’s a leader and passionate about the way he plays and it affects other people. He is a remarkable young man. It is something, especially when you think about that and what he has been through and you think about what Coach (John) Schlarman is going through and I can tell you without getting into details, that it is amazing and inspirational what John is doing. It is tough on him. Also, to go up and see Chris (Oats) yesterday and deliver that game ball to him and see what Chris is going through. We don’t take enough time to be grateful for what we have and our team needs to understand that and things can change in a moment.  we have enough situations on our team where we can look right at those examples and realize how fortunate we are and we need to make the most of every opportunity that we have. To see Chris like that, it was good to see him. He is strong and doing good but it is a tough, long road to recovery that he has. Josh has been through some tough situations and to see him come out on the other side is also inspirational.”

On Paschal’s health and status for the Tennessee game and the performance of the receivers …

“On Josh, we expect him back. He is day-to-day and will be out there at some point this week. We will be glad to have him back when he is ready, nothing major there. With the receivers, we didn’t have a good day and it was a combination of things. Certainly, Terry (Wilson) didn’t have a good day and missed some guys that were open. There were times we had catches that could have been made and times there were very difficult catches because of the accuracy of the ball. We had the worst protection issues we have had all year. So the O-Line has some things that we have to get cleaned up. It was just overall. We have to have all 11 guys playing at a high level to be efficient and that didn’t happen on Saturday.”

On if the wide receivers are where he wants to be developmentally …

“I think just like our team, we are constantly trying to get better. I don’t want to single out that group because there are plenty of areas on the team that we are constantly trying to develop and get better. We need to do that.”

On Tennessee QB Jarrett Guarantano …

“I really respect (him), he is a tough guy. He stands in that pocket and takes some shots and can deliver the football down the field. They do a nice job of creating some matchups and throwing some shot plays outside and deep and he has the arm strength to get it there and be accurate and drop it in, give his receivers an opportunity to make plays. I think that was a big difference the past two games with them.  You can look at several plays last year – that was a heckuva football game – and you can look at 3-4 competitive plays that they made that we didn’t and it separated the win and the loss, outside of the plays at the goal line at the end. They are doing that again this year. Even in the Georgia game, they created some one-on-one matchups and threw it up to make some really competitive catches and he gives them a catchable football.”

On doing anything different this year in the trip to Tennessee … (note: additional comments on the play of the defensive line)

“We do have a different change-up. I didn’t like the way we played a couple of years ago driving down there in the bus, long bus ride. It is in that tweener range on whether you fly or get on a charter or drive a bus down there, it is a long bus ride. We are doing some things different on Friday with our schedule and throughout the week. I will leave it at that and I have been thinking about it for some time and we are going to have a different change-up in our routine on Friday.

“I would also like to point out Saturday, I didn’t give these guys enough credit. Nobody ever wants to talk about the good things you do in the game, they always want to point out the negative, but I have to give a shout-out to the defense, like I did, but in particular some guys up front. I thought Quinton Bohanna, Phil Hoskins, guys you don’t see showing up on the stat sheet that just played exceptional football, played relentlessly hard. Everybody sees Jordan Wright’s stats and some of the guys that made picks and Jamin (Davis) played a good game and Boogie (Watson) played a really good game, but the guys up front. Quinton Bohanna caused two interceptions and that doesn’t ever show up on the stat sheet but he played exceptionally hard and has been working hard and Phil has been working hard. I just wanted to give a little credit to those guys because nobody sees it but they are working their tails off, played relentless on Saturday and really showing good leadership and I am appreciative of how hard they played up front and gave us an opportunity to play coverage on the back end. They really did a good job and I just want to mention those guys and Josh has been playing good all year but I really thought Q and Phil took it to another level and we are going to need that and so many of our young guys played good as well.”

On Akeem Hayes’ postgame tweets …

“I am going to talk with Akeem this afternoon.”

On recruiting vs. Tennessee, how has the dynamic of the rivalry changed since you’ve been here, especially with two former Stoops assistants (Derrick Ansley and Jimmy Brumbaugh) now on the Tennessee staff …

“No different than any other team. The guys that left here, I have a great relationship with. They are great coaches, great people, great families and still very close to and have a great relationship with. I wish those guys nothing but the best individually. Obviously, the game is competitive just like every other one we will play this year.”

On mistakes Tennessee made vs. Georgia and how much of it was Georgia forcing them into that …

“Just like any of us, a little bit of both. There is not a team that plays a game that doesn’t feel like there are so many things they can control to get better. It is like that every week, win or lose. Then there is part of it where you have to give credit to the other team.”

On Tennessee’s offensive line …

“They really have become physical and that is an area they have drastically improved since Jeremy (Pruitt) has been there. You can see the physicality. Getting Cade (Mays) in there as the transfer eligible helps them along with Trey (Smith) and all those guys. They are a big group and they’re physical. Just like all of us in this league, we all understand you have to have playmakers but you also have to be very physical and they definitely are that.”

On a common thread to the six interceptions on Saturday …

“(There were) A variety of things. You saw great individual effort like you did in Boogie’s (interception). That was a true takeaway of competitive play that Jamar made, created and took away. There were some that were caused by the D-line, like Quinton, hustling, playing hard and creating pressure. Q had a direct correlation between the two interceptions which was a credit to him and the guys on the back end. There was some good coverage and confusion and a little bit of everything. There were certainly some down the stretch that were probably a little bit of gifts because they were in desperation mode and forcing some plays.”

On Isaiah Gibson’s performance …

“We need to continue to bring him along. I really feel like Isaiah has the length and the athleticism to be a really good player. He’s got to continue to work hard to play with that great intensity on every play, every snap. I think Anwar (defensive line coach Anwar Stewart) has done a really great job with our defensive line. I love the energy that Anwar brings every day and he is really getting those guys to play hard. Obviously, fundamentally at that position you have heard me talk about this for years and years, it is a fundamental game. The closer to the ball you are, you have to be very, very precise fundamentally and play the game right.  Anwar is obviously doing that but also the energy that he brings and I think you’re starting to see that. The guys played really hard and Isaiah is a great example of that. He has to continue to really just take the medicine, take the coaching and continue to get better every day.”

On the performance of the tight ends on Saturday and if they seem to be coming along …

“Definitely. I was disappointed in the drop that Justin (Rigg) had. That was a big play in the game and we had good momentum. You know those are plays that kind of get the quarterback going as well. We had it set up and it should have been an explosive play there. That play was disappointing. We felt like Keaton’s (Upshaw) play was going to be there. Terry had an option at either tight end on that play. He hit Keaton in the seam and that was good to see. Brenden Bates, we’ve been impressed with him and the way he’s been playing all camp. Unfortunately he’s going to be out for a few weeks with an injury but he’s really played well and the same with Justin. We have to get them playing fast and with a great sense of urgency. There’s some options there, we just have to put it all together and put it on them.”

On underestimating the defensive backs the first two weeks …

“I think there was enough criticism to go around the first couple of weeks that was warranted. We didn’t play our best and there’s no excuses. I think what you do as a coaching staff, as a team, is to really look at that and get better each and every week. Believe me, there’s enough mistakes to go around for all of us across the country. It’s a matter of being able to overcome that, overcome mistakes that are going to happen. Nobody is going to play perfect but you also have to improve on it each and every week. I’m grateful that those guys took it personal as a defense and collectively went out there and had a great week of practice and took it to the field. Again, we’ve done that offensively at times as well but that’s what gives me great excitement when we put it all together. What better opportunity than this week? That’s the challenge to put it all together and look at what we can be if all sides play that way. It was great. I thought special teams played exceptionally well again. Max (Duffy) was phenomenal. He bailed us out and did his job remarkably well across the board. We just have to continue to improve but defensively I think they have done some really good things at times. As we’ve said in the Ole Miss game, I don’t know if you saw but they played pretty good again this past Saturday against a pretty good team. So they’re no joke in what they do puts some pressure on you. We had an opportunity to win that game and that’s on us. That’s what we’re trying to build on and build on the positive things and the mistakes get fixed. Sometimes it’s schemes, sometimes it’s poor discipline of eyes or technique. Sometimes it has to do with the opponent and what they’re doing to you and the stress that they put on you and the matchups that they put on you with some explosive players. You have to be able to hold up to that, so it’s going to be a different challenge each and every week.”

On UK’s run game vs. Mississippi State …

“I think we tried pretty hard to establish a run game and you have to give them credit. They played well at times and beat us at times and again just like anything, there are times when we need to block it better. Our guys have good experience but credit them. They do some different things and twist and put a little bit of doubt in your mind and there were certain plays where we wish we would have done it differently as far as the adjustments we make and how we block things. There were times when they beat us, there were times when we made some mistakes. So you put it all together and it wasn’t very efficient. And then it gets [inaudible, audio error] you have an opportunity to maybe separate and we turn the ball over again. That can’t happen. We can’t fumble the football away when you have an opportunity to start pulling away.”

On the offensive line and if he congratulated his nephew for the big catch against Texas…

“Yeah, the offensive line will be fine. Those guys are experienced. They’re veteran, they take pride in their work and we’ll get some things corrected, so they’ll be good. Not one of our best performances but they’ll respond the right way. And I did talk to Drake (Stoops) after his game, prior to our game, and was very excited for Drake and for (brother) Bob and Carol. You know there is a guy who grew up in Norman, grew up with that Sooner DNA in his blood from day one. For him to make that game-winning catch against Texas, in that game, very happy for him. He’s worked exceptionally hard, he’s a competitive kid, a really good player, so really happy for him.”

On Max Duffy after the game saying he thought he was average at best …

“I just think that’s him. He wants to be the best in the country. He has that competitive spirit and you know he’s being authentic there. He’s being real and that’s who he is but that’s what makes him great.”

On the amount of points being scored in the SEC …

“I’m not sure. You know I think it’s one of those things, the minute you say anything, there is no built-in excuses. It is what it is for all of us. I know as a team for us we’re getting better with every opportunity, with every practice, with every game. It is what it is. If I say it’s because of practice, or opportunity, or games, or spring you’re just making an excuse. It does seem like all of us are having the issue at times. That’s for sure. I think we improved a great deal between the opener and the third game. We got to continue to do that and we really have to do that across the board. As I mentioned, you’re not alone. This is going to be a grind and you just got to hit the reset button each week and you got to take it each week as just try to go 1-0 week and win or lose, put that game behind us and learn from our mistakes and move on.”

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.

2 Comments for TRANSCRIPT: Mark Stoops recaps Miss. St,. previews Tennessee



  1. mothandras
    7:30 pm October 12, 2020 Permalink

    Look at those Covid Pounds.



    • GoCatz
      9:56 pm October 12, 2020 Permalink

      I think he may be expecting