By LARRY VAUGHT
Every week Kentucky coach Mark Stoops hopes his team can play a “great game” no matter who the opponent is.
It’s no different with Saturday’s game at Louisville that kicks off at noon.
“Hopefully we’ll put it together and play a great game this week. We’re going to need to. I feel good about our team. I feel good about where they’re at mentally. Physically we’re in good shape. We go back to all the things we talked about in the summer. Being strong at the end, mentally and physically being able to finish things. And they’ve been good. We’ve had great energetic practices,” said Kentucky coach Mark Stoops.
“Late in the year with a lot of teams, that mental fatigue is where you’ve got to be mentally sharp. I really feel like we’ve been good in that, but there’s a lot of ways to improve. Just going back to the past two, three games, that’s where they’ll be challenged. Not growing weary and getting stronger and really having a great week with great energy. We’ve been energetic. It’s just being extremely disciplined.
“There’s teams that come in and there’s new wrinkles, new plays, new schemes and you have to be able to settle down and just rely on your system and focus to execute. We’ll need that again with all the offense we’re going to see. We’ll have to be disciplined.”
Stoops knows that Louisville coach Bobby Petrino has a “lot of offense” to throw against Kentucky.
“You can see how well they do in the second half of games. They score a lot of points. I think they have a good way of seeing what you’re doing, what the problems are and coming back with something else. So, obviously, he’s got a lot of offense. Very good play caller, keeps you off balance,” Stoops said. “And obviously it doesn’t hurt with (quarterback) Lamar Jackson, when things break down, he can kill you. He’s a dynamic player.
“They’re No. 1 in the country offensively for a reason. They do things very well. They keep you off balance.”
Louisville’s defense also impresses Stoops.
“Very well coached. Todd (Grantham) does a great job. They’re very good. They’re multiple. They’re very good players. I’m familiar with quite a few of those guys,” Stoops said. “They’re good players and play extremely hard. They’ll play both four-down and some odd. They’re good across the board.”