– Coach Stoops clearly wasn’t thrilled with today’s practice. You could see it on his face as he was walking towards the podium. The look of disappointment couldn’t have been any more obvious. “(I’m) just very frustrated. Preparation wasn’t good enough, effort wasn’t good enough, attitude wasn’t good enough; so it’s not good.” Stoops even went as far as saying that he hopes they will restart practice. When asked whether it was the offense or defense that made him so disappointed, he said that it was the entire team in general. “Guys are looking to hide under a rock,” which he later described as players saying “oh I just missed that throw,” or “I should have made that catch”.
– After the team displayed such a disappointing practice, Stoops wasn’t too optimistic about playing the #13 Gamecocks this weekend. “This is the most frustrated I’ve been because we’re right in the middle of our tough stretch, getting ready to play a tough game on the road in a hostile environment. If we go in there with that attitude, we’re gonna’ get rolled.” He also commented on the spread for the upcoming game, saying quite simply “(it’s) 21 points….and right now, that ain’t enough.” Not exactly the kind of thing you want to hear from a head coach, but at least Stoops is honest. “I’m gonna’ tell you like it is, there’s no games with me.”
– There was light at the end of the tunnel, folks. Stoops made it clear that he will get it out them, talking about the attitude and level of play he expects from the team. “I don’t know when, but this – the current attitude- is not OK.” RB Raymond Sanders later added that his teammates need to “wake up, and come out tomorrow with a better attitude and ready to perform.” Sanders believed some guys just weren’t feeling it today; lagging around on plays, walking through the motions. If anybody felt that this was acceptable, I’m sure Stoops showed them otherwise. Multiple players looked to be doing disciplinary-type workouts after practice; sit-ups, push-ups, and sprints.
– Offensive coordinator Neal Brown was less frustrated after practice, but you could tell his opinions were similar to that of Mark Stoops’. “It was a little bit better on our side of the ball today, we had a better focus on blitzes and things.” Of course, the major concern coming into today’s practice was who the starting QB would be. Prior to media availability, it was announced that the QB’s were off-limits. This wasn’t very surprising, considering that the coaching staff is doing their best to keep their game plan a secret.
– Speaking of the QB position, Brown went into further detail about the whole “more reps” situation. “When I say most of (the reps), I don’t think we’re at the position to go 90-10 or 95-5. We’re at more like 65-35 with the reps.” He also added that there hasn’t been the separation that he had hoped for at this point in the season. If one QB begins to out-perform the other with consistency, then we can expect to see that person earn the majority of the snaps. Overall, Brown said that they wanted to be a one-quarterback system. With the poor performances so far this season, it’s hard to make a decision, but we shall soon find out. For what it’s worth, Maxwell Smith and Coach Brown walked off the field together in a deep conversation. Could Smith be the guy come Saturday?
– When asked how UK’s offense was going to contain South Carolina’s DE Jadeveon Clowney, he chuckled, “If they let us, I’ll play with 15 (players). You have to account for him, he’s a dynamic player…he’s big, he’s strong, and explosive. He’s a disruptive player.” So far this season, Clowney has recorded a total of 12 tackles and only 2 sacks. While Coach Brown noted that Clowney’s numbers aren’t as spectacular as last year, that doesn’t mean he’s no longer a force on defense. They will need to do all they can to keep him out of the backfield and off whomever eventually earns the starting job.
– Freshman receiver, Ryan Timmons, shared his thoughts on what it was like in his SEC game debut. “It’s a tough league, guys were a lot faster than I thought and on top of it all, they hit a lot harder too.” He went on to mention that he was glad to get his first SEC game out of the way and excited to play in his first SEC road game. When asked about today’s poor practice, Timmons said that this was the roughest Coach Stoops had been since the beginning of practices. He added, “We have a great team that we are about to play, so we can’t have a wasted practice like we did today.” If UK has any chance of moving the ball Saturday, the young core of players like Timmons and RB Jojo Kemp will have to step up and be leaders on offense.