Jen Smith on UK Football

Q&A: Stoops on the streak, the apology and the Gators’ balanced offense

MARK STOOPS

“We’re excited about another great opportunity, a great challenge to go down to Florida and play a 3:30 kickoff in the Swamp. It’ll be a real challenge against a real quality football team, a real talented football team that’s obviously very well coached. Our team has to get back to work. After reviewing the film from Southern Miss, we’re very disappointed with the finish of our team. We played exceptionally well for a half and did not finish it, did not play very good in the second half. We’ve got to get some things cleaned up and corrected as we move forward to play a quality team like Florida.”

On Florida’s offense: “The Gators offense are very good team, just like you would expect, some guys that can really go outside. They have some very dangerous receivers; they have some running backs that run extremely hard and quarterback that was very efficient in his first start in Luke Del Rio. They’re everything that you would expect from a Florida team. They’re very well coached and very balanced.”

On if 29-game losing streak will be a motivating factor:No. No, not from my point of view. I think each season each and every team is totally different from another. The fact that we played Florida well the past two games and the fact the we played 'em well two years ago when we went down there means nothing to us. I'm concerned about our games and you look at the mistakes and the tendencies that you've played with, but the past 30 years have nothing to do with us and this team. Really not concerned with it at all. We're really worried about this week. We have enough to worry about with Kentucky and our team and getting any mistakes cleaned up and technique, assignments cleaned up and just work on ourselves. We know we're playing a very good team. To answer your question, no, we're not worried about the last 30 years. No.”

On learning to trust the defensive backups in a hostile environment: “Yeah, we do have to continue to bring some guys along. We played 95 snaps this past week, we played our starters too many snaps. We’re going down in The Swamp, different talents, probably very hot and humid. Hopefully we won’t have 95 snaps again but you never know. We’ll get them ready and that just comes from hard work in practice and the trust to get them in there and get them some game reps. We’ll run some guys along this week, play some different guys up front, try to get our backup nose in there a little bit, Naquez Pringle. We’ll get him some reps. We feel like we have another pass rusher in De’Niro Laster that we can get in the game some out on the edges to play. Tymere Dubose is coming off a knee injury, played some for us a year ago. He’s been coming off a knee surgery that was some time ago but he’s getting closer and closer to game ready so we hope to bring him along as well. We have a freshman in T.J. Carter who we feel like is going to be a very good player but we’ve got to get him settled in and be able to execute.”

On the apology after last week’s game: “Yeah, I said it at the time that I didn’t think I’d ever do that, but it’s just what I felt. It was on my heart at the time, said what I felt and that’s it.”

On Florida coach discussing being happy to win ugly and how UK’s style meshes with that: “I’m really not sure how to answer that question. By all means, we’ll take a win by any means necessary. How they play and what style they play with and how they win and lose games is really -- I have no opinion on. I just have an opinion on our team and how we go try to play. I kinda guess I second that from Coach (McElwain) that if we win a football game that’s all that really matters and if we lose, that’s all that really matters. We hope to go down and try to get a victory by any means necessary.”

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