Jen Smith on UK Football

Q&A: Stoops’ final thoughts on seniors, how bowl practice helps young players

MARK STOOPS

“Beautiful day out there today. Wish we were playing today, but it was a good week so far and we're excited about this opportunity again. Excited for the last home game to hopefully go out and play a complete game, play good, play good for our fans, play good for our seniors the last time playing in this stadium.”

On younger guys were getting reps and what he has seen from them:Everybody's been working hard. We've had good weeks of preparation the last couple weeks. Guys have worked really hard and fundamentally we've tried to bring some guys along, some young guys. So hopefully they can step in help us, so we'll see.”

On if expects to have everyone available to play Saturday:We're in decent shape. There's a few guys banged up but we'll be all right.”

On if there are any redshirt players who have come on in the last few weeks: “Guys that are redshirting? Yeah. And we'll know more as we move forward. Hopefully would knock out another victory or two the last two games and have that opportunity to go to a bowl game, and then we really will fundamentally work a lot of guys. Give us a chance to maybe heal up for two, three, four days and then really work some younger guys whether they're redshirting or just are young players that didn't get enough reps this fall. So we'll continue to work with those guys.”

On how big of a leap he has seen players make during bowl practices at past jobs:Yeah, it's a really important step for that reason. We would approach it a lot like an extra spring practice, so fundamentally we would work hard on getting things corrected that we didn't do as well as we'd liked throughout this season and getting some younger guys a lot of reps, in particular the guys that have redshirted. So it's really important. I think just for the morale and for the reps, for the practice.”

On if he feels the same as seniors who said four years have flown by:I do. I do. And the guys that are true seniors – obviously the Jon Toths of the world, I wasn't here to recruit him – but the other guys that came in with us, it really does seem like it was a short time ago that I was sitting in their living room talking about coming here. And it's gone really fast. Now, mind you, I've been beating my head into the wall for the last four years (laughs). I'm getting tired of ramming my head into the wall. But no, we are gonna miss those guys. We really are. They've really helped us and they've been through some ups and some downs, and they've been very steady this year and I appreciate 'em.”

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