Johnson takes blame for fumble, says UK was in “wrong formation” on crucial 4th down play

Stephen Johnson (Vicky Graff Photo)

Here is some of what Kentucky quarterback Stephen Johnson had to say after Saturday’s TaxSlayer Bowl loss to Georgia Tech.

On his fumble in the first quarter…
“It was just me not holding on to the ball. If I just hold on to the ball we’re not down 10 points like that. I tried to pull it up. I had the ball extended away from my body which I shouldn’t do and they hit it out from me.”

On Georgia Tech’s pressure…
“They have a lot of fast guys so they were able to get around the edges a little quicker but overall the protection wasn’t that bad. Some of the throws I needed to throw earlier.”

On having to go more to the air after Georgia Tech stopped the run…
“They started going to more of a 3-man front instead of a 4-man front and dropping eight guys. Their offense controlled the ball a lot of the time too so it really put us behind in time, as well.”

On what he saw on his scramble for a touchdown … 
“My first read was the post, which was covered. The other guy was double-covered, so I tried to take off and Ryan Timmons made a great block for me to get to the outside to punch it in for the touchdown.”

On how much the game changed on the failed fourth down …
“That just takes points off the board for us. We kind of lined up in the wrong formation – a few things went wrong on that play. If we get that first down, we get more points on the board.”

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  1. The easy thing to say is that we got out played and out coached in this game. Stoops said all week that he was happy with the intensity and the work/play balance, but did this look like a team that came out prepared to play in the 1st half? Did this look like the team that finished the season on a roll? There has been a conspicuous absence of any commentary from anyone associated with the OL. We know Myers got his butt whupped more than once, but this wasn’t a team that had any recognigition of having any type of pass rush all season. It would be nice if someone had maybe interviewed Toth to get his take on what happened. Our strength, once season got started, has been the push and support of the OL and that was no where to be found yesterday. Gran’s fingerprints are all over this lackluster offensive showing as well. I didn’t see hardly any trickery, deceit, or misdirection as well. It looked straight out of the vanilla cook book Had we carried over our play the way we ended the season this game should have been winnable. I guess you could say the same thing for the UGA game as well. A 9 win season would have been unthinkable but oh so close.

  2. Johnson’s fumble hurt UK big time. UK never seemed to recover after that play. On the 4th and 1 play, they ran the wrong running back on the play IMO. Snell is better on crucial short yardage plays and proved that all year. Maybe he was winded or hurt, but they ran Jojo who had just had a long run as I recall. When you can’t convert on 4th and 1 deep in your opponent’s territory, you will not win many games because of the momentum switch. They couldn’t run many offensive plays all day long, it seems, because the UK defense couldn’t get Tech offense off the field. Other than the fumble, Johnson came to play. He was a bright spot at QB all year and made the difference in the 2016 season. UK just did not use all their weapons yesterday because the Tech defense shut UK down, bottom line. The Tech defense was extremely quick and physical. I put this loss on the UK coaches in many ways.

  3. Gran might have been the only one in the stadium that would have played Jojo in that situation. His like type stubbornness throughout the season was clearly evident. Gran does deserve a lot of credit for our offensive efficiency this year, but I feel that more of our production has been dependent on the quality of our athletes and their execution. To say that Gran is any type of offensive guru would be very premature.

    1. We lost the game on line play on both sides of the ball. If you are going to have a chance at winning, you have to control at least one side of the line of scrimmage – offense or defense. We got whipped all night on both lines of scrimmage. Gran’s play calling made me scratch my head a few times — critical times.

      1. Right on RJ, especially on the 4th and 1 call. Tech stuffed the UK back for a loss. Like I said, when a team can’t pick up a 1st down on 4th and 1 after a long drive, and close to the red zone, it hurts, but I did not fault the call to go for it there. I just thought Snell should have been in the UK backfield on that play. Hell, fake the dive play and roll out and throw it. The Tech defense was bunched up to stop the run. Perfect time to pass.

  4. Mike and Larry Pup you guys got lot of nerves doing some point finger at the players and the coaches. The coaches and the players worjk there butt off to accomplish in what they did, while you guys run your mouth thank you could have done better. My hat’s off to coach Stoops and his staff and the players for the fun ride . With majority of players coming back for 2017 season looking forward to it. Go Cats!!

  5. I’d still like to see UK make a run at another coach. Like Les Miles.

  6. Grant, that’s not gonna happen. Stoops has the ball rolling the right direction and we can’t afford him.

  7. I think this is fools gold. That’s all. But who knows I hope I am wrong.

    1. Grant…..I am buying into your fools gold thinking here. This team had everything to be jacked up for this game, and they came out flat and unprepared. This is on the coach and his staff. I am still wondering why nobody has mentioned either line being controlled for the whole game. I appreciate the good year the team and staff had this year but am still not convinced that Stoops is long term answer.

      1. Why change something that’s not broke, if we hire another coach we be a fool we would lose some of recruits that made UK there choice and lose some currently on roster. Then we would be back to square one starting to get back over the hump. Were setting were we need to be not go backwards with a new coach. It doesn’t make sense

      2. Apparently the coaches who were polled in the SEC coach of the year aren’t as smart as you seem to be. They voted Coach Stoops as the runner-up in their coach of the year award behind only Coach Saban. But what the hell do they know right “Coach Mike” ? You’re the genius in Kentucky coaching circles. Still have your “Ditch Mitch and Rich” bumper stickers I’d assume.

  8. Tough Loss no doubt but it happens. UL got whipped by LSU 29-6. Turnovers are huge whether it is 1 or however many. We will get better next season. This team made huge strides after the 0-2 debacle. I am confident with the depth and recruiting, we will be able to field a better team.

  9. Well we’ll see. I am not sure how far this program has come . I am skeptical. This is the perfect time to upgrade. Joker , went to a bowl game and brooks went bowling to. I am not buying it. If it ticks you off oh well it’s my opinion and that’s all it is. Is the big picture to bowl or get in the the championship tournament. In my opinion UK is settling. If you go to a bowl game after being terrible for 3 or four years of course you look good , if you’re stoops , but how much of his hand was in them being bad ? I want UK to be in the big game of at least compete for it. 40 plus bowls every year , means 80 something teams. It’s not that difficult to make a bowl.

  10. Grant, yes your entitled to your opinion. Do you wonder why the ticket prices go up when it comes to firing coaches and then gotta pay off there contract like we did Joker no wonder they can’t fill up our stadium. People like me can’t afford them. I’ve have talk to a lot of ex season ticket holders drop there’s because of it.

  11. I feel for you Cats. I do. Joker ” coach in waiting'” horrible business decision for UK. Gillespie too for that matter. Unfortunately good fans like you literally pay the price. Unfortunately my vision or delusion is expensive, and I know it is. I am just not satisfied with any old bowl game, even if UK won. I would love to see UK go to heights in football that hasn’t been seen since they won a championship eons ago.

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