Stoops Isn’t Feeling the Pressure
Even though there hasn’t been a home game with more hype since he’s been a head coach, Mark Stoops isn’t putting Saturday night’s game on a pedestal. He knows what it will mean for the fans and recruits to beat Florida, but he felt more pressure heading into the season opener against Lafayette than he does today.
“I was glad to get that one over with. I don’t feel as much now, just your normal day-to-day pressure,” Stoops said. “Now, I just wanna go out there and play to the best of our ability. That’s what I’m looking forward to. I can live with the results if they get our best shot and we play our best game.”
The Young Team has been Focused, for the most part
It’s easy for young players to buy into the hype and lose focus. The season is a long one and Stoops doesn’t want any early letdowns after only one SEC win. Stoops saw his team lose some focus yesterday. It wasn’t the best practice but, “we have our ways” of straightening them out.
It’s nothing to worry about. The Monday of the South Carolina week wasn’t that good, but just like this week, he felt good about the overall productivity from the week of practice.
The Recruiting Room Will Be Full
Stoops can’t speak specifically about the recruits attending, but he understands the magnitude of Saturday’s game. However, I can tell you who will be there. Check in here around 9:00 (hint: every commit in ’16 and ’17 will attend, plus many more).
There’s No Looking Back
They came close to taking them down last year, but that was last year’s team. If the players want to use it as motivation, they will, but he will not. More importantly, each week is a new opportunity for his team to grow.
Nico Firios is Questionable, but Horton is Good to Go
Firios made some good plays on Special Teams, but he got dinged up in the process and will likely have to sit out Saturday night. There was no mention of Ryan Flannigan, so I’ll expect the worst and hope for the best.
Mikel Horton and Jason Hatcher will both be important on Saturday night. Stoops felt Horton was poised for a big game until a neck injury sidelined him at South Carolina. He said Hatcher had an OK week back at practice and, “It will be good to have him back.”
Stoops has been in the Offensive Huddle More
“I’m certainly not calling plays,” but he’s been doing more hands-on management than he’s done before. He is pleased with Shannon’s playcalling, but he likes to inject his opinion on the overall flow of the game, like whether or not they need to ground and pound it, or take a shot deep.
See all of Stoops’ comments below.