Explosive plays, missed tackles led to UK’s defensive collapse at Tennessee

Kentucky's defense got gashed by Tennessee on big plays after missed tackles. (Wade Upchurch Photo)

Kentucky’s defense got gashed by Tennessee on big plays after missed tackles. (Wade Upchurch Photo)


How could Kentucky roll up 633 yards of total offense at Tennessee, keep the football over 35 minutes and still lose like it did Saturday?

Let coach Mark Stoops try to explain a bit more.

“All of us, whether it is scheme or structure of the defense or missed tackles or the details of the defense, we need to execute better. I think there was nine explosive plays (by Tennessee) for 272 yards. That is not good,” Stoops said Monday at his weekly media conference.

You think?

“The flip side of that, there was 32 run plays for 104 yards. So it shows that we can do some good things and we have to get back to doing that. When you have massive breakdowns in your defense, again it is a combination of those issues whether it is the structure, the details or missed tackles. We will get those things fixed and get back to work today and really push and grind on the details in all areas of our program.

“That is why we have improved a great deal. That is why we have gotten better through this season. In this past game, it wasn’t there are particular plays and you are not going to win against a very good team that puts a lot of stress on you anyway as I mentioned. Certainly if they get you in space and you have missed tackles you are going to have issues.”

The defense had been better — until last week when it was easily shredded for almost 600 yards.

“They put a lot of stress on you on the perimeter and inside and a lot of it is faking perimeter and coming back and running power plays inside. They influence and do a lot of things. As you’re bringing pressures you’ve got to be very precise,” Stoops said. “Even with the big runs we had we had 110 yards after missed tackles.

“You put all that together and you’re not going to win. You take the missed tackles out of there alone and I think you’ve got a good chance. I don’t know what would have happened but I know you can’t have 110 yards after contact.”

That is a staggering number. Winless Austin Peay won’t do that to UK this week, but think about what an even more explosive Louisville offense led by quarterback Lamar Jackson could do in two weeks when it needs to make a big statement to get in the national championship playoff?

“If our position on the football was much better we wouldn’t have missed as many tackles and some of it you have to give them credit, they’re very athletic and physical and made us miss,” Stoops said.

And made Kentucky miss a lot.


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  1. Coach you can talk all you want to with your clichés etc. but your words do not inspire anyone or produce production on the field. You came to UK with strong credentials, but you haven’t improved the defense in 4 yrs. In fact it might be getting worse. Maybe it was family history or quality of players around you, but your success at FSU has not carried over to UK at all. I just read earlier today that there are 30 teams that have rushed over 400 yds. this year, and we are the only team that lost. Congratulations, you have done it again.

  2. The problem is that we are one deep at every positon. When Snell is not in the game, we have no offense. When we lose a defensive guy, we have no defense. Players can’t get experience riding the pines.

    1. i thought we have been told that we r 2 deep on OL.

    2. I don’t know about that RJ. Boom is real a good back and so is Jojo. Use them more on the goal line IMO, especially Boom. Problem is, Gran can’t call a play to get them in the end zone it seems to me. If Snell is in there, and in the wildcat formation, the opposing defense knows that Snell will more than likely run the ball up the middle, and they put 8 or 9 in the box to stop it, and the rest is history in field goals made, and not TD’s. That killed UK at Tennessee Sat.

  3. You guys are entitled your opinion, but when saying same ole song on this post isn’t helping any. We they were i winning there no heap praise from you guys. All you guys want to be so negative to the players and coaches on this post. Like I said I ll back the football regardless life isn’t perfect. Go Cats!!!

    1. Who were we beating????

    2. Cats79..UK did win some ball games, you are right, and many of us gave credit where credit was due at that time during this 2016 season, but Stoops has proven, to me anyway, in four years at the helm, that he just can’t win the big ones. He lost to USM out of the gate, and had he won that one UK would right now be bowl eligible, and a big shot at 7 wins. When UK played UGA, as you will recall, they had a chance to go atop the SEC East. Everything was stacked in UK’s favor, momentum, home field advantage, bowl eligibility on the line, etc. What do they do, they blow it. They run up 600 plus yards of offense at UT last Sat but can’t score touchdowns in the red zone, and the UK defense was absent all day it seemed. That said, and as is always the case, UT wins to further pad there win streak against UK. I will say it again, if Calipari were to begin losing basketball games like Stoops does football games, watch what happens with all you loyal fans. It would not be tolerated. Certainly not for four years, you know it and I know it.

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