Tuesday’s offensive press conference was made up in large part of talk leading up to Saturday’s Senior Day. Seniors JoJo Kemp, Jon Toth, and Ryan Timmons all spoke to the media following comments from Eddie Gran and Darin Hinshaw. It’s been a roller coaster for the seniors in their time at UK, and that was the main focus today. Here are the key takeaways from Tuesday’s press conference.
Six, not three- The red zone was a hot button issue after Saturday’s loss to Tennessee. Both coaches talked at length about struggling to finish inside the 20. “We had our opportunities early in the game,” said Hinshaw. “We had a plan to run the ball and then, if we needed to, throw on third down and we just didn’t convert on some of our third down throws in the end zone. Looking back at it, we could have been more aggressive had we known what was going to happen later in the game.” Hinshaw said that the fumble in the red zone was the big turning point in the game.
Stephen Johnson has improved against SEC opponents- No player has withstood more criticism and been a better leader for this team than Johnson, and his coaches are noticing. “He’s more comfortable, his footwork is ten times better than when we first started, his reads and his decision making have gotten better,” said Hinshaw. “The thing we’ve really worked on are the details of his targets.” There were times on Saturday when Johnson took some huge hits after throws, but he is getting tougher as the season goes on. “These guys in the SEC are no joke,” said Johnson. “You just have to learn to take that hit and get back up the next play.”
Senior Day is a big day for the Cats- Timmons, Toth, and Kemp were the focus of the press conference yesterday. The three players have been with Coach Stoops for the full ride and have an opportunity to see the program come full circle on their senior day. “It’s a blessing that I got the opportunity to get the sixth win on senior day, I’m just really focused on finishing strong,” said Kemp. The program has changed a great deal since Stoops’ first recruiting class got to campus. “I think our depth and our maturity, the way this program takes each week and prepares, I think our team has changed in that way,” said Timmons. “We want that to be our standard, for not settling for not going to a bowl game. It should be what bowl game are we going to, that’s the mindset we want to set for our freshmen and sophomores.”