By LARRY VAUGHT
In five games, Kentucky has 14 turnovers — eight fumbles and six interceptions. Kentucky opponents have just seven turnovers, including only one lost fumble.
Kentucky faces a must-win game Saturday with visiting Vanderbilt if it has any chance to win six games and get bowl eligible. To beat Vanderbilt, Kentucky has to cut down on its turnovers. Just last week at Alabama, quarterback Stephen Johnson lost three fumbles and one was returned for a score.
‘We’ve just got to keep on coaching it like we’re doing. Reps help with Stephen. We talked about it all week, about not being back there dancing around with the ball,” Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said after the game. “You’ve got to make quick decisions and you certainly need to protect the ball.
“We talked about it all week about how many touchdowns they (Alabama) score non-offensively. And at that point we were actually hanging in the game, playing some good defense and you can’t turn it over. I think with Stephen it takes some more reps and some more experience.”
Stoops said at times Johnson did hold the ball too long.
“When it’s not there he definitely has to eat it and try to get a few yards and get down,” Stoops said.
Stoops said Alabama puts “stress” on opposing defenses and wears teams down.
Kentucky lost 34-6 to No. 1 Alabama after briefly leading 3-0 in the first quarter. So what does Stoops tell his team about what lies ahead?
“I’m worried about the next one, honestly. That’s what I just told them,” Stoops said.
On if Stephen Johnson was holding on to the ball and taking sacks because he was trying to do too much: “Yes. Yes.