By LARRY VAUGHT
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.
“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.