Stoops: Vanderbilt loss will “bother me the rest of my life”

Mark Stoops has not forgot last year's loss to Vandy. (Vicky Graff Photo)

Mark Stoops has not forgot last year’s loss to Vandy. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky’s loss at Vanderbilt last season infuriated fans and cost Kentucky a likely bowl bid. It could have been the low point of the Mark Stoops’ era, even below this year’s loss to Southern Mississippi.

“Does last year’s Vanderbilt game hurt? Absolutely. It bothers me and will probably bother me the rest of my life. But this is a total new year,” Stoops said.

It is and UK hosts Vanderbilt Saturday with a chance to even its record at 3-3. But that loss should bother him because UK looked both unprepared and uninspired.

Saturday the Cats have to stop running back Ralph Webb, Vandy’s only consistent offensive threat.

“He’s a very good player. Very good vision, strong, breaks tackles, so he’s a complete back,” Stoops said.

Vanderbilt’s defense fared much better last week against Florida — which was without the same starting quarterback it had when it routed UK due to injury.

“They played really hard. They do a good job. Florida missed some opportunities and was playing with a backup quarterback, but Vandy will do that (to a team). They’ve got some very big guys in the front of their defense,” Stoops said.

“What sticks out to you, too, when you think about Vandy on defense is how mature they are. I believe they have five fifth-year seniors starting and five fourth-year juniors starting and two juniors so that’s a pretty veteran group. The two big boys inside are big guys with some experience.”

3 comments

  1. Two years ago, the loss to Florida in OT was a killer when a missed opportunity to close the game with an interception failed because the player did not finish the play.

    Last year, the loss to Vanderbilt stings for many of the reasons cited above.

    This year, the loss to Southern Mississippi is critical because the team failed to play a full game over a team it could beat, needed to beat, and HAD them beaten until allowing them to get off the mat late in the second quarter.

    The lesson for UK football in 2016 is exactly the same as it has been for decades. Take care of business in the games you can and should win. The games against the major opponents will take care of themselves, with an occasional upset, but the first priority, which somehow seems to be lost in the the focus part of the game, bites UK football teams too often.

    This leads to an observation often made by posters on these pages; how can any UK football player or coach ever take any opponent lightly?

  2. You’re right Prof. Take a team lightly in this league and it will bite you in be behind.

  3. The UK Basketball team rarely takes a team lightly, or mails in the game, and the results of that focus are self evident. I don’t think Alabama takes opponents lightly, not ever, and the results speak for themselves. Each of these however have at least earned the right to take a cupcake opponent for granted based on their own achievements. The UK football program, year after year, are void of any record of achievement, yet they are the ones that seem to explain afterwards that they did not take an opponent seriously.

    Really? Yes, I have heard it said too many time!!!!!

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