UK-Georgia notes: Stoops promises changes coming to program

jsmith3@herald-leader.comNovember 24, 2013 

  • Tennessee at Kentucky

    When: 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30

    TV: ESPNU

    Records: Kentucky 2-9 (0-7 SEC); Tennessee 4-7 (1-6)

ATHENS, Ga. — There was as much talk of "policies and procedures" in Kentucky's post-game news conference Saturday as there is in a copy of Robert's Rules of Order.

On Thursday night, UK announced a one-game suspension of defensive back Cody Quinn, defensive end Jason Hatcher and an indefinite suspension of wide receiver Demarco Robinson.

Saturday, after UK's 59-17 throttling at Georgia, Coach Mark Stoops said, "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."

Rumors floated around the Internet that other players, including senior running back Raymond Sanders, had been kicked off the team.

But Stoops debunked that report. "It was never a situation where Raymond was going to be off the team."

Sanders, who finished with one carry for 2 yards and two catches for 5 yards, sat out until late in the first half, which the head coach confirmed was disciplinary.

"There were some things we were working through with Raymond," Stoops said. "It cost him some practice time."

Both Hatcher and Quinn will return for the Cats' season finale against Tennessee on Saturday, Stoops said.

After the loss, Stoops several times made references to changes needing to be made within the program, saying, "We'll move forward. There's no doubt in my mind, but there needs to be some changes, absolutely."

When asked what he meant, Stoops continued: "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."

Was the head coach hoping that the suspensions of key players will send a message?

"I hope so," he said quietly.

And then added: "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."

Backup quarterback Maxwell Smith said the suspensions and other disciplinary actions were not distractions for Kentucky.

"Nah, nah, not at all," he said. "I don't think that was a distraction. I just think we got our butts kicked, and that's it, plain and simple."

Mobley has big night

Having surgery late in the summer kept Dyshawn Mobley out of some early rotations in the UK offense, and the running back has been working his way back ever since.

The sophomore had a 69-yard touchdown run, 4 more yards than he'd had this season on his 16 previous carries combined. He finished the night with 10 carries for 92 yards and drew praise from his coach.

"I like the way Dyshawn's been playing," Stoops said. "And we do have to get him some more reps and get him in there and get him going."

Injury updates

Quarterback Jalen Whitlow went out early in the game with what Stoops called a recurring issue, likely his joint soreness on his left, non-throwing shoulder.

"I hope it's nothing serious," Stoops said. "I think it's some muscles. X-rays and all that stuff checked out OK, so we'll see where he's at."

Running back Jojo Kemp, who hurt his ankle on the final play of the first half, came back in and said after the game that he had previous ankle injuries in high school but was fine now.

Stoops was asked if he regretted letting Kemp run with so few seconds left in the first half and he said no.

"Well, I think a young guy goes in there and he ran straight up and down," Stoops responded. "I mean, those are some big dudes. You know what I mean? They weren't taking that play off. You know, so we were just running it. We've got to protect ourselves at all times."

Jennifer Smith: (859) 231-3241. Twitter: @jenheraldleader. Blog: ukfootball.bloginky.com.

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