Jen Smith on UK Football

Q&A: Gran talks run game, what went right and wrong vs. Southern Miss


On what wasn’t working in the second half, kept them from extending drives: “Biggest thing is execution. In anything, it’s details. It’s everything. It’s coaching. It’s fundamentals. It’s them taking care of their business, maybe a play call. You can go back and look at the 56 plays or whatever it is and I wish I had about six calls back. I really do, but you can’t do that every week. You’re not going to be able to take those six calls back. So we’ve got to be able to handle adversity when things, when momentums shift. We’ve got to be able to handle that better.”

On how they handled adversity: “They played hard. They frickin’ played hard. You watch at the end, was anybody not going to the ball and doing the right things, but it came down to when it got down to the end, OK, then you’ve got to do all the little things where you go 6 yards, 6 yards, 6 yards, I think 7 yards and then a holding call. But you can’t put that on anybody, OK, because it’s always we. It’s about our offense; it’s about the play; it’s about the process of the play. Well, we had a couple of things that happened on that play that nobody knows about that if we insert right we don’t get knocked back a little bit, we’ve got an unbelievable play. It’s those little details we’ve got to clean up.”

On short drives, wearing down defense and if there’s an emphasis to get the run game going: “Absolutely. We were taking what they gave us and it was great and everything in the first half and short drives are OK then when you’re scoring. But you’re right, when you’re not scoring and you go three-and-out, you can’t do that. So the emphasis on the run game will be the same every week. We’ve got to run the football to be successful, so that’s never going to change.”

On what Barker was doing when things were going well: “In the second half, he was 4 of 5, he made really two bad decisions, you know what I mean? No. 1 we didn’t extend drives, but he threw that ball (the pick). In the first half you asked me what he was doing well in the first half? We were protecting; we were doing the right things and he was doing the right reads. He was making great throws. And in the second half, he had five opportunities, one of them he wishes he had back. He can’t throw that ball. That was the one bad decision, I wish, he wishes he could’ve taken back. And then on the fumble, you’ve got to tuck it, protect it, get it to second-and-10 and get us an opportunity for a field goal. The first time on the exact same play, he did that, he extended the play and we threw a touchdown pass. That’s going to be him learning. So I thought for his first game with this system, I thought he handled himself pretty darn well.”

On how team responded to loss in film and practice: “We’re moving on. We have to, especially in this league. It doesn’t get any easier. You’ve got to put it behind you there’s 12 more games left. So it’s like any other thing, there’s a lot of people out there today looking out, saying, ‘God, I wish we would’ve won.’ But you keep dealing with that, you’re going to have a serious problem. It’s about us, nobody else right now. It’s about Kentucky. It’s about us, we. That’s what Coach (Stoops) has talked about. We do that, we’ve got a chance to be a really good football team.”

On Florida’s defense: “You know, solid top 10 defense: good up front. Their front four are really, really powerful and quick, athletic. Their linebackers are solid and their secondary. Great defense. When you talk about a top 10 defense, they’re doing something right. You know, normal Florida.”

On Boom Williams in his return: “Pretty good. I thought he hit the holes a little bit better, didn’t dance around. I really did. He’s got to work on his protection and keep continuing to develop that. But I thought he didn’t dance as much and he hit it. He was patient on some of our outside plays and it looked like him being in shape, he looked like he was pretty good.”

On improvement between week one and two and what area he needs to see improvement: “We’re gonna need to for this week. We’re going to need to make the most improvement. I’m looking for it right there (points at field) after this practice right here. Detailed. Exactly what coach is talking about, the fundamentals. On every single route are we lining up in the perfect alignment? Is the running back -- you know we were in one play and that’s got a chance to hit real big and it’s a difference of 1 yard where the running back is in relationship to the quarterback. We’ve got to change that. That’s what we’re harping on right now. We’re harping on the details and the little things. And the little things make the big things happen.”