Jen Smith on UK Football

Q&A: Stoops updates Barker injury, has strong feelings about defense’s poor play

Herald-Leader

MARK STOOPS

Decided to talk to you today to update you on the injury situation. This’ll be the last time I talk this week. But not a very good practice today. I was really encouraged after yesterday’s practice. I thought we played in practice the right way and then came back out today and defensively, were not very good. So not very pleased with the way we’re practicing defensively. We better get a whole lot better in a couple days.”

On Drew Barker’s injury: ”Drew – there’s been a lot talked about and tweeted. The bottom line is Drew will be out. He has an injury that does not require surgery at this point in time, and he will be out for a significant amount of time. I have no idea how long that’ll be. When I say significant, he’s out for the foreseeable future, the next two, three, four weeks. After that we’ll re-evaluate him and see where he’s at. He saw a specialist. His mother, his father, Drew, Jim Madaleno and our doctors are all on the same page, and they believe the best treatment is rest right now and some treatment, and the best idea for him is non-operative at this point in time. If that changes, I’ll let you know. When he gets back out on the field, I’ll let you know. But he is out for a significant amount of time.”

On the defense having a good practice yesterday:Like I said in the statement, I thought we practiced the way we should practice yesterday, and I thought we absolutely regressed today, and that’s our problem. That’s our problem. Until we get it changed, we’re gonna have the same darn results that we have in that stadium which is bull crap. So until we grow up and get a mentality about us and have some guys step up and get tougher, then we’re gonna look like the same bunch of crap. Some guys need to grow up in a hurry. We have no idea what it takes to have concentration, from the beginning of the week through the end and through a whole game and so on. You get the picture? We’re not real tough, we’re not real smart and we’ve got a long way to go.”

On if Barker’s injury changes the approach with freshman quarterback Gunnar Hoak:Yes. Gunnar is preparing to play. Just like Stephen (Johnson) always prepared as the backup, he would as well. Gunnar will prepare to be the backup quarterback. If Stephen goes down, Gunnar will go in. And Luke (Wright) will be available as well.”

On if it’s one of the strongest talking to’s Stoops has given this season: It’s one of them. Why were you eavesdropping on me? (laughs). Yeah I got after them a little bit. I’m not pleased. I’m just, you know, it’s frustrating. We try to teach, try to coach, try to educate, and sometimes all that don’t work. The truth is the truth. If we’re so fragile we can’t handle the truth, we’re not going to win many games. I told them the truth.”

On if they responded: “We’ll see. There was no discussion.”

On if Drew will get treatment and then be reevaluated: “Exactly. That’s the plan. The specialist’s recommendation is non operative. Everybody understands that. We’ll get him some medicine, get him some treatment, get him some rest and see.”

On if it’s all in the back: “Yes.”

On if he’ll be around practice: “He will. Right now we’re trying to get him as much rest and treatment as we can.”

On if he’ll be involved with play calling again: “I’ll be heavily involved with it along with input from Coach Eliot. We’ll do it together. He’ll have quite a bit of input, but yes, we’ll do it together as we always do. But yes, I’ll be heavily involved.”

On if any of the redshirted guys have a chance to play: “No, there’s nobody I anticipate playing right now other than Gunnar. Gunnar will be ready to play. He’s on board with that.”

On if the team will be a part of tomorrow’s statue ceremony: “Yes. The guys will come if they don’t have class. When we get done tomorrow we’ll get cleaned up and come over.”

On how Drew is doing: “He’s doing OK. Disappointed as you could imagine. He’s worked extremely hard. I really feel for him because he’s put a lot of time and energy and work to get in this position. And uh, so that’s tough on him. He did do some very good things in Game 1, in Game 2 he got hit early, and that hit bothered him. He’s not one, and we’re not one to make an excuse for him, but it’s a fact. It’s a legitimate serious injury. He’s not just a quarterback who took a shot. I don’t know if that gave him the injury, but it certainly bothered him after that and probably was a big part of the reason why he played the way he did. He certainly showed all signs of playing like he did in Game 1.”

On if there’s any real possibility of him playing this season: “You’re going too far, but I’ll answer that because I know everybody’s going to bring it up and speculate. The plan is, and Drew’s on board, his parents are on board, our docs are on board that he will be out a significant amount of time. Again, what that is at least three, four, five weeks. At that point in time, we’ll see. You don’t know how the back’s going to respond at this point. So we will re-evaluate it, but we’re certainly not going to re-evaluate it for at least three weeks or so. And so I have no idea whether he’ll be able to come back and play this year or not.”

On Stephen Johnson being even keeled and if he expects him to respond to this situation with that sort of mindset: “I do. I expect it. He’s been like that; we’ve talked about that, just how calm he’s been since he’s been here and he certainly showed that to us last week. I was asked on my call-in show today for the SEC call-in show if that surprised me. And yeah. We knew he was a good player, but I didn’t know he’d have that kind of game with those kind of numbers. You take away that first series and he was absolutely remarkable. So let’s hope he can keep that going. Either way, if he’s not perfect, we know he’ll keep his poise and operate this offense and move the offense. We have a lot of confidence in him.”

D.J. ELIOT

On Stoops not being happy at practice: “Yeah, we could’ve done better. We could’ve done a lot better today. It was discouraging because I thought we had a really good practice yesterday. So we’re just immature. I don’t know why we just can’t lock in and go to work every day. We just can’t take it seriously every day and that’s disappointing.”

On if that’s a lack of leadership: “Could be. Could be. We lost a lot of leaders from last year and a lot of those guys from last year were very serious and very disciplined. Our group this year, we don’t have as many guys like that.”

On if that can that be altered week to week: “Yesterday we had a good practice and we had a good focus, so I think the consistency is what the problem is. It’s not that it can’t be done, it’s that it’s not done as often.”

On if the practice was alarming because of being so close to an important game: “It’s alarming if we had to play the game today. It’s alarming if we came out today with this type of approach. That’s alarming, but we still have a few more days to prepare for our opponent and get it right.”

On if they can get that intensity in a Thursday practice that’s not fully padded: “You can because the intensity that we’re looking for tomorrow is the focus, the communication, the alignment, the execution, more than it is the physical strain of practice.”

On if facing Stephen Johnson in practice and camp helps prepare for an athletic QB: “It does. It’s made us better because we face an athletic quarterback every day in practice. It’s made our defense better in that aspect.”

On how the new arrangement with Mark Stoops being more involved in defensive calls worked in the game and if it will be the same against South Carolina: “It will be the same. It was a communication between he and I on what we thought we should do. It was good to have another mind in that aspect of it. Then it also allowed me to free up and look for some other things.”

On if he came to sideline in the second half: “No, I didn’t, but I was asked that question a lot. But I did not.”

On how long the headsets went out: “They were only out for, I think, two or three series. They were out for about two or three series.”

On Courtney Love: “Courtney works extremely hard. Courtney was one of those guys that does take the right approach to the game. Courtney is trying to be a leader. Courtney is very serious about football. Courtney has all the intangibles. Courtney doesn’t have the experience that we’ve had at the MIKE linebacker the last few years, so he still makes mistakes at times but he has all the intangibles that we’re looking for.”

On if Love is thinking too much: “I don’t think so. I think it’s just the repetitions, but as you can tell from his play count he’s gotten a lot of reps in the last three games. So he’ll get better hopefully every play.”

On T.J. Carter’s progression: “T.J. is a young guy that has all the tools. He’s about 6-3, 290 pounds and he’s athletic and he’s explosive, he’s physical. He’s a guy that’s physically ready to play this year. That’s why we opted not to redshirt him. He’s continued to get better every week. Still makes some freshman mistakes, but we’re seeing an improvement from him every week.”

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