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By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky coach Mark Stoops says there is no division on his team even though the defense has outplayed the offense the past few games.

“We’re a team, and I thought the offense played extremely hard (at Vanderbilt). If they didn’t, I’d be very upset,” said Stoops Monday. “I thought we played very hard. On either side of the ball, and in special teams, we’re not always the smartest and we don’t always execute everything perfectly, but I thought for a team effort, that was as good an effort and the attitude was right and the fight was right, and that’s something that I’m proud of and happy to see.

“I think you’re starting to see more accountability on this team as guys understand us and start understanding that whether it’s off the field or little things, it all matters, and I think we’re starting to get some leadership. We need more, more accountability with everything that we’re doing.”

Kentucky plays at Georgia Saturday and needs a win then or in the final game against Tennessee to avoid duplicating last year’s 2-10 finish in Stoops’ first season as UK’s head coach. Yet Stoops insists he is not discouraged.

“I just looked last week, and I thought, again, under some tough circumstances with the wins and losses not going the way we want it to be, I thought our preparation was right and I thought our attitude was right and I thought our fight was right,” Stoops said. “As a coach you always look to do things better. You always look to execute better.

“We could all call plays better sometimes, myself included, and decisions and all those things. You try to do the best you can. But at the end of the day, I’ve got to look at how we’re doing things and are we moving forward and are we getting better and is the attitude right, and again, I thought last week was as good as we’ve played all year with that mentality, a toughness and a desire and a hunger across the board to go out and win.”

Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari noted after Sunday’s win how freshman Marcus Lee went the wrong way on the opening play after UK had practiced that same play seven straight times earlier in the day. Stoops understands that feeling.

“It comes down to habit.  Under extreme pressure your habits come straight to the surface, and a lot of coaches have said that, and it’s very true, and that’s why you constantly try to do things right over and over and over again. Then when it’s just a habit you automatically do the right thing,” Stoops said.

“I don’t need to speak for coach Cal, but he’s playing with young guys, and I’m sure he’ll get it straight. But that’s why we do it over and over and over again. That comes to find balance all the time with what are we doing, how much are you doing on offense and defense and special teams and how much can you handle and how much can you execute for us, because there’s so much that goes into it that way.

“And I do feel like things are coming together. Again, go back to defensively, I’m very happy with the way we’ve progressed through the year and being very multiple and doing different things, and some guys stepping up, and the attitude is playing better.

“Offensively the same way.  Believe me, (offensive coordinator) Neal (Brown) and the offensive coaches and players are very frustrated, but they play extremely hard. There’s good plays set up. We’ve got to make plays. They’re there. If you look at the last game, just look at that. They made some plays and we didn’t. Give them credit. They did it, and we need to learn how to do that.”

8 Responses to Stoops on UK offense: “There’s good plays set up. We’ve got to make plays. They’re there”

  • Larry Pup says:

    Keep pushing Coach. Things have to get better, and they will.

  • Little Baron says:

    Stoops has over half century of mostly ‘losing football culture’ to overcome. Not easy. Ive often considered the need to clean house of most players, much the way the staff is completely replaced when a new HC is hired. Keep the Avery & Dupree types & send most packing. Load up with freshmen, JUCOs & walk-ons. So you lose a lot of games for the first year or two – so what’s new about that?

    The “culture” of expecting and accepting losing week after week is engrained in the UK football program – thanks to an indifferent administration for half century. It’s not easy to turn around … Just ask all the coaches were winners before stepping foot on the UK gridiron.

    I do realize this is not feasible, but do believe it does need to be partially implemented. Stoop & staff immediately did what they could, landing recruits who could play as true freshmen & transfers, and weeding out some who were offers scholarships by the joke regime. And it’s not as simple as sweeping house as thoroughly as Calipari was a or to do. But the principle of clearing out the “losing culture” is a key to success.

    Although I have been unhappy with the offense & OC decisions, we have definitely seen progress the past several games on defense – surely impacted by the defensive genius Stoops. I saw an analysis by The Professor which significantly substantiated the defensive improvemt, and that bodes well for the future. Thanks to to Stoops & staff & to players like Dupree, Avery & out JUCO transfer!

  • FTJFL Coach says:

    (offensive coordinator) Neal (Brown) and the offensive coaches and players are very frustrated.

    Add the town of Fort Thomas to the frustration statement.

  • Ira says:

    LB,

    The staff did to a certain degree clean house. I think could be wrong as many as 12 left the program after Coach Stoops got here. I could be high, but I remember a few conversations and people were getting worried about depth with the number of people leaving the program.

    Not only that we will see probably another exodus again. Coach Stoops will not keep anyone that is not going to help this team win games. He is going to free up scholarship numbers one way or another.

    No more coming to Kentucky and just getting an education and half a$$ing it for the team.
    You try that anymore and you are out of here. Coach Stoops has been stressing we need play makers. Hope we get a few more coming in this upcoming class.

    • larryvaught says:

      Ira, Kentucky lost some for discipline, some for academics and some who just knew they could not play here. Believe number was about 10 but counting seniors lost off last year’s team I know they lost 25-26 players total

  • Little Baron says:

    Ira… Stoops basically did as much sweeping as possible and practical … just in “theory” could he have done any more. There are probably ar least a dozen UK students who played HS football that would give 110% but just not talented enough. I like those who wear UK jerseys with pride – who wanted to since youth – over those who are average and could care less.

    Next year will be a big test for our OC… The fan base patience will wear way beyond thin if we continue with the same style offense and don’t open it up, speed it up and not be so conservative.

  • Ira says:

    LB

    think our offense will be better. I really think our OL will improve. He has mentioned now a couple of RS freshmen that could potentially help our struggling OL. Add in a JUCO that we have a good chance with as recruit and sign Dec,our OL could very well be decent next year. This could potentially give us that pocket passer OC Brown wants or has used in the pars to run his Air Raid offense.

    Not sure on this but we may sign 2 JUCO OL. Know for sure we are going after 1, and we do have 1 extra spot avail now, Coach Stoops has said he would sign the best avail with last scholly and that would probably be another OL, DB, or DL, and we are looking at some JUCO DL real hard. Hope we get them.

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