Stoops likes way team has got “some things fixed”

Kentucky has rebounded from an 0-2 start to 4-3 after a dramatic win over Mississippi State. (Wade Upchurch photo)

Kentucky has rebounded from an 0-2 start to 4-3 after a dramatic win over Mississippi State. (Wade Upchurch photo)


After an 0-2 start, Kentucky has rebounded to win four of five games going into Saturday afternoon’s game at Missouri.

Kentucky coach Mark Stoops would not bite Monday when asked if he thought his team had overachieved, underachieved or simply met expectations at this point.

“I’ve said it over and over that I was not pleased with the start. I don’t want to go back there, we don’t need to write about all that, but some of that was not acceptable, wasn’t good enough and we were going to build on it,” Stoops said.

Fair enough because UK now has three SEC wins and the only loss in the last five games was to No. 1 and unbeaten Alabama. UK rallied to beat Mississippi State 40-38 Saturday.

“We were going to go back to work and get some things fixed. That’s what I like about where we’re at now: Because we’re able to build right now,” Stoops said. “All the weaknesses or areas where we did not play well we can work on, get corrected and the guys will have a focus about them and an understanding about them that we can get these things fixed. ‘Here, look at it and here’s how we can get better.’

“There’s always going to be one-on-one situations in games. Those always can go either way. You’re going to compete for them, but the structure of things our players can see in our building of things.”

Stoops admitted despite losing at Alabama, UK did have some “small victories” with the way it played in the game.

“A lot of times you have to live with the results if your preparation and your assignments are right. If you feel like you had the right game plan, if you had the right situation, if your guys competed, did the very best they could, then as a coach you’ve gotta live with the results. Because you’ve gotta move on,” Stoops said.

“But you always analyze yourself, see what you did good, what you did bad, what you would do over. So you always gotta take small victories, in your preparation and in your play. Doesn’t mean you’re content with it.

“You’re never going to accept losing – that’s never the case – but it’s about everything you can do to win, and put yourself in a situation. And everything you can do in your prep and in your effort.”


Skip to comment form

  1. I don’t know who all should get the credit for it, but I believe we would all agree that this team right now doesn’t look like the team that started 0-2. Even against Alabama, there were positives when you compare that game to what Bama has done to everyone else on their schedule. The defense has improved dramatically, the Oline has started blowing holes in some pretty good defenses, the running game has really benefitted from the Oline play. Now if ball security improves and the passing game starts being consistent, there is a real upside to this season. Who knows, six wins might be on the low side this year.

  2. I was ready to write Stoops off after the first 2 games. It seemed that his efforts were heading backwards and much of the blame I laid at his feet for things like play calling. I have to admit that he finally started doing some things that weren’t expected and it helped a lot plus he found himself a few players that made a big difference on the team. The addition of Benny Snell to the running back corp made a huge impact IMO. The Cats had 2 really good speed backs but they needed an up the middle, hard charging, push the pile kind of back. They found it in Snell. He gave the offense a whole new set of options. And it made the offense far less predictable. Then there was the QB change. Barker was just too predictable IMO. Stephen Johnson II has been a breath of fresh air. I’ll take surprising over perfectionist play every time. Barker really wasn’t good enough to be a perfectionist IMO. I think it may be a mistake to go back to him should he recover. Johnson has given the offense yet another set of options that must be addressed. He can move the ball with his feet and that means at least one linebacker has to account for him and possibly two have to do it. That frees up all sorts of other plays.

    The Cats are playing smarter for whatever reason and smarter wins football games. I’ve seen great teams flounder for lack of options. i just saw Ohio St. do last weekend.

    Whatever the case Stoops has earned at least 2 more years at UK. He has shown improvement and that’s all anyone can ask. Winning 3 games in the SEC is never easy for UK and it looks like they could add to that total. That’s a big improvement and any coach that can lead UK to do that even once is doing something right. He’s a great recruiter. He always has been IMO. I had problems with the way he runs games though. He might change all that in the next few weeks. I see Loserville sitting like a fat plum at the end of the season. If he could pull that off after the way UL has been playing you can color me seriously impressed.

  3. I think Coach Stoops finally has his feet under him. It’s difficult to take that next step up the career ladder, and the learning curve gets real tough when that move gets to the top of the food chain. It is never is as easy as it looks and there is always a plethora of unwanted surprises to be dealt with around the next bend. New position, new job, new boss, new staff, new players, new surroundings, new fan base, and new expectations… the hits just keep coming.
    Granted there have been times when I have been frustrated as a fan. But I held true to Coach Stoops because of his track record, recruiting ability and commitment to character. I’ve down this road before in my own career and like to think I know leadership when I see it. But even with all that said, my faith in Stoops began to falter after the Louisville and Southern Miss meltdowns. Then the pieces began to fall in place for him and sync up. I am so very happy to see Coach settle in and have the opportunity to see this team grow and prosper. Yes, there is a lot of work to do but I am convinced our days of three steps forward and two steps back are behind us now. Will we stumble? Undoubtedly. But we will prevail. I am now sure of it.

    GO CATS !!!!!

  4. I think when we look back, we will see that part of this is Stoops learning to make the leap to a Head Coach. And doing that at a place with the snake bitten history like UK? This is a huge task and he took it on. Probably over his head for a place like UK. When you also have to build things behind the scene that makes a big program run smooth. That my friends is executive level adjustments.
    I’m proud of the fan base for wanting more and now demanding more. But this guy is going to be good. And I stand by my initial reaction that Stoops is the perfect guy for this job. The staff really needs the excitement level back up, to help them bring in the next recruiting class that I’m sure they can get back in on now that results are showing.

    1. I stood by him for a long time based on his ability to bring in better talent than the team had seen for a while. But even with the better talent I haven’t seen the kind of great players we have seen at UK at times. Brooks brought in Randall Cobb among other strong players. We need to see that level of talent in a few players at least. And just to be honest I look at where UK and Loserville were when Brooks was the coach at UK and I look at what Strong and Petrino have done for that program and I wonder why this just never happens at UK. I realize UK is in the super tough SEC but Loserville has been kicking butt and taking names against the Cats. Stoops has definitely improved some aspects of his coaching this season. His play calling has gotten so much better it is amazing. But they still have a long way to go. UK was beating UL pretty much every year under Brooks. Look at where the two are now. UK is better this year but UL is amazingly good and you can’t imagine how much I hate saying that. If not for a loss at Clemson they would be in the hunt for national championship. If you saw them play NC ST. recently you’ll know why I’m impressed. NC St. lost to Clemson by a very small margin. UL had NC St. down 44-0 at halftime with 390 yards of offense and over 300 of that was in the air – in a half. That’s crazy good. Now excuse me while I got wash my fingers with battery acid for having typed those words.

    2. Amen brother.

  5. Stoops has to prove it this year IMO. Playing on the road against Missouri will not be a cake walk. They are better than their 2-5 record indicates, and they will see UK as a winnable game in their house. Their backs are against the wall too. They are averaging over 500 yards of total offense per game. Their weakness is on defense. I heard they ran 112 offensive plays in one game recently. They will spread you out and throw it. The UK defense has to get them off the field, and then crank up the UK offense and score in the red zone, and I mean touchdowns. UK has no room for error in getting to the magic 6 win needed in 2016 to get bowl eligible. Drop this one, and it gets much harder. UK must take care of business. UK was very fortunate to win against MS, can’t have fumbles and turn overs and beat this Tiger team on the road. We’ll see what happens.

Leave a Reply