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Stoops: “Tonight is game that I am not real proud of”


Kentucky coach Mark Stoops didn’t mince words after his team lost 59-17 at Georgia Saturday night.

“It was a tough night all the way around. We were not good enough in any area, starting with myself and the assistant coaches. It was not acceptable, and we didn’t have a good enough effort or good enough preparation,” said Stoops. “You have to give credit to Georgia. They came in with an attitude and took it to us from the opening kickoff to the end of the game.”

“We were not competitive, and that has a lot to do with Georgia and that has a lot to do with us. We were not prepared for this game.”

No excuses, either.

What about not having his starting cornerbacks — Nate Willis (injured) and Cody Quinn (suspended)?

“I don’t think having them would have made much of a difference. I would hope we would have been more competitive and had some different packages. It hurt a little bit, but we were beat from start to finish,” Stoops said.

What lies ahead?

“I think there is no mystery that we need some changes. We are working through this, but it’s a tough night. No one likes to go through nights like this. We have been competitive and we have fought our way through games, but tonight is game that I am not real proud of,” Stoops said. “I told the team that. It starts with me and I didn’t do a good enough job tonight.”

Stoops suspended Quinn and defensive end Jason Hatcher Thursday for the Georgia game and also announced an indefinite suspension for receiver Demarco Robinson.

“We’ve got policies and procedures and team rules and if you don’t meet them, there’s going to be consequences, that’s it,” Stoops said.

He admitted he hopes the suspensions send a needed message to players about what changes are necessary in the program.

“After you’re here for a whole year, you get a sense for what’s going on in the program and where changes need to be made, and I’m coming up on a year and there are things we need to be better at,” Stoops said. “ “We’ll move forward. There’s no doubt in my mind, but there needs to be some changes, absolutely.

“It’s either right or wrong. It’s very simple with me. We’re going to have discipline in our program. I hope it sends a message, but I don’t do it just for the message. I do it because it’s right and wrong.”

Freshman JoJo Kemp said the message was easy to understand.

“He was just trying to set an example. He wants to keep pushing this program in the right direction, so he doesn’t want anything to bring us down,” Kemp said.

“We have rules and regulations and whatever happens with those, if you break the rules and regulations, things are going to happen. And that goes for any school in this country,” backup quarterback Maxwell Smith, who played after Jalen Whitlow was hurt, said. “ “I don’t think that was a distraction. I just think we got our butts kicked.”

Stoops also made it clear that despite rumors and Internet speculation that senior running back Raymond Sanders was never going to be kicked off the team. However, Sanders did not start and played only sparingly for what Stoops said was a disciplinary issue.

“It was never a situation where Raymond was going to be off the team. There were some things we were working through with Raymond. It cost him some practice time,” Stoops said.

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  1. Ira

    You know Coach Stoops said,” they got their butt kicked from start to finish.” He is correct in that. What I see in the problem to that is this… It’s ok as fans we see where this game is going and we say dang UK is going to get mauled tonight, or this game is over before it’s even began. Our team can’t do this. I believe that has been one of the biggest challenges that have faced UK football in its history. It’s not just a Stoops problem, it was a Joker problem, a problem Brooks had and combatted.

    I think though once Joker’s players are gone, a mindset will be gone with them. Stoops will have nothing but young players, and he can mold them and teach them to think and have a winning mindset. Believe it starts next year.

  2. Mike

    Coach says “we were not prepared for this game”. We also were not prepared for our first game and most in between. I think that coach Stoops seems like a very nice guy and an excellent recruiter but where is the body of evidence that he will be a good HC. These players do not take the field with the belief or expectation that they will be able to win the game. Our game plan on both sides of the ball has been mostly predictable and vanilla. We still have problems tackling, putting pressure on the quarterback, blocking on offense, covering passes (especially slants), and throwing down field. Winning game preparation and strategy starts with the coaching staff. I read a couple of comments last night that the players have quit on the coaches. I am not sure I would go that far but there is some temptation. In addition to leadership voids, there seems to be some discipline or chemistry issues between players and staff and little evidence of team development during the year.

  3. cats79

    Mike ,we just don’t have the horses and you should have known that before you and other critics that’s been harping on this team.Long before the season even started everybody knew this football season wasn’t gonna be a pleasant one to see to unfold. We won’t be a powerhouse in the near future but i do see daylight coming due to the fact the recruits that’s coming.GO CATS!!!!

  4. Mike

    Cats79…..Yes, I think we all knew that we wouldn’t have the horses to match up every game, but I don’t think too many of us would have expected to end 2-10. A win against UT would send the seniors out with a better feeling and give us a little year end momentum heading into off season, but we would have to play our best game to pull this out. I would bet UT 7-10 pts. because they have a better defense and better OL.

  5. Larry Pup

    If UK does not rise to the occasion and play with some attitude UT will beat them, as has been the norm forever. I don’t know now if UK has the life left in them to get up for this game. I hope they prove me wrong. I did think Max played pretty well. Max should get the start against UT IMO. I think he earned it for his play against UGA. The onus is on these coaches now to get this team cranked up for an old UK border rival that has had UK’s number for way to long. I still love my CATS. But facts are facts.

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