Stoops making changes to help UK stop beating itself

Mark Stoops (Vicky Graff Photo)

Mark Stoops (Vicky Graff Photo)


After two losses to start the season, Kentucky fans are ready for some changes. Apparently so is coach Mark Stoops.

On his weekly radio show Monday night, Stoops indicated to Tom Leach that he’ll be even more active with the defense. He was defensive coordinator at Florida State before coming to UK where D.J. Eliot has been his defensive coordinator.

The UK defense has been shredded the last eight games and Stoops has always had a hands-on approach with the defense. But now he might be ready to take completely over.

Earlier Monday the head coach said UK would change the game plan and make it more simplified.

“There are several breakdowns we have had this year in the secondary that are unacceptable and we cannot have that. You can’t give up some of things that we are doing. You can’t have guys that are unsure and do not play on the edge with energy. That is where it is not OK. That is where our fans – I am sure – have some frustrations and I do too,” Stoops said.

“We said our players mean well and worked hard and none of that was a lie. You saw that for a half. We lost our focus and concentration in the second half of the first game. Second half, I could talk until I was blue in the face about handling adversity and responding and we didn’t for whatever reason. That we will get fixed.”

Great. But UK fans have heard that before from Stoops. How will he fix it this time?

“It starts today, with us going out and practicing and going back and fundamentally working and getting our football IQ higher. We need to have a higher football IQ. We have guys and we have to be able to put them in position (to succeed.) We have who we have and we have some inexperience and we have to be able to get them to play better on the defensive side,” Stoops said.

“Offensively, you throw a freshman (Landon Young) in the mix at left tackle and it kind of muddies things up a little bit too. It is our job to put them in a position to be successful and that is where we will get back and change things up and fundamentally get better and get our football IQ better.

“Again, you cannot beat anybody until you stop beating yourselves and that is going to be a big message for us today as we get back to practice.”


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  1. When I was in the Corporate world for 38 years, I had many opportunities to view 1st hand the results of some muckety muck being transferred to take over a division and he takes with him his pal as his Tonto side kick. This hardly ever works. Either the guy’s pal outgrows his boss friend and moves on leaving the boss empty handed; or when boss’s pal gets placed in circumstances in the new division where the performance he had in the old division that made him the boss’s pal in the first place suddenly was not there, the boss gets caught by his short hairs. Letting emotions drive your decisions will almost always get you in trouble. Adam ended up wearing a fig leaf because of it.

    1. “Adam ended up wearing a fig leaf… “. Funny.
      I’d show your post to my wife if I didn’t have to close my eyes at night.

  2. If Stoops can fix his defense by taking over, he should have made that move about five or six games ago, dating back to mid point 2015. I know some high school coaches who would give this staff a run for their money. I feel for Stoops, but I really don’t think he has a clue on what to do. He readily admits he don’t know offensive football, and his defense has been abysmal under the current DC. Have his players quit on him? I don’t know the answer to that question, but we are about to find out starting Sat. He can still turn this thing around with 10 games left, but it will take a lot tough coaching on his part and him getting in the face of some of his players, and coaches holding them accountable. I am not sure he has the makeup or will to do that. The first thing he needs to do IMO is find 22 players that want to show some fight and desire, and then simplify schemes and his game plan so they are reacting instead of thinking. These 22 may not be the stars of the team either. OL guys that keep giving up sacks and getting the QB almost killed need to sit. The problem is, he may not have 22 guys with that type ability or mindset.

  3. Sounds like Stoops ‘ attention will be directed at Schlarman and Elliott. Just where it should be.

    1. Yep…………….

      1. Gran ain’t out of the picture either. He needs to start producing some offense, and Hinshaw needs to start warming up Gunnar.

        1. Amen to that old friend.

          Semper Fi Buddy

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