Jen Smith on UK Football

Does Kentucky’s Gran hear the fan criticism about his play calling?


Sounds like the energy level is pretty good: “It is. It was a good energy level. It was a really good start yesterday to practice. Really excited about today. They came out and they worked on -- the theme, focus, detail, execute, offensively especially. Every play matters. Every single play matters. They’re finding that out. We talked about it before. Play one, play 67, somewhere in between. Every one of them matters. The details, the execution, that’s what we were looking for today. It was really good.”

On what he said to Blake Bone after his snapchat video saying they’d be unstoppable if they threw the ball more: “It’s already been addressed. Coach addressed it. We’re good to go.”

On what they have to do to be better running the ball: “The recipe is perfect alignment, perfect assignment, perfect footwork. We did some things in the game everywhere that we reverted back to maybe day one or two. Correcting those steps and those fundamentals. You cannot do that. Not in this league. This is a big boy league. You’ve gotta compete. You’ve gotta get after it and you’ve gotta be right every time. Everybody is taking ownership of it. Coaches, us as a staff and we’ll coach them harder and we’re making sure the detail and focus is there. It started right out there yesterday and we had another good one today. That’s how it gets fixed. There’s no magical recipe for it.”

On if the thinks they have the offensive personnel to run the ball the way he wants: “Absolutely. I feel like that every week. That’s the way I’m made. That’s the way I am. Everybody's gotta be on the same page. We weren’t last week. We’re gonna be this week.”

On what A.J. Rose showed: “He was downhill. He did some really good things. His technique he has to continue to work on, but I thought he did some things that got me excited. The biggest part of it was he had two blitz pickups and he was perfect. That was awesome to see for him. That was an improvement from the last time he was in a game. That’s what you want to see. He’d kinda been doing that in the weeks prior in practice, which was really good. He’s got a change every thing about him and what he was doing in the meeting rooms, just locking in the focus and being a part of it and wanting to play. So that was good.”

On if he saw Rose become more motivated after getting reps: “I don’t think there’s any question. Absolutely. If you’re hungry and you really want it, yes. I think he’s going to do everything he can to keep pushing everybody.”

On if the loss to Mississippi State can be used as a ‘wake up’ moment: “Better be woken up. There’s good pride and bad pride. After 31 years, I’ve been bloody before and been down on the ground. You’ve gotta pick yourself back up and gotta have a great attitude the next day. Coach talked about it. Attitudes are contagious. Is yours worth catching? If you don’t have a good attitude and you want to go out there and get ready for another war, you’re in the wrong business. You don’t need to be playing Saturday night. I think they got that message. We got that message. You’ve gotta go to the next one. I’m thankful we’ve got another one. I really am.”

On what he’s seen from Tennessee’s defense: “I think they’re strong and physical up front. They’ve got good pass rushers. The linebackers are active. Their secondary is solid. It’s a good Tennessee defense. They do a good job.”

On if he sees Tennessee still playing hard on film: “Absolutely. There ain’t no doubt about it. There will be no quit in them. Zero. So, we’ve got to be ready to go. There’s no doubt about it.”

On if takes too much from last year’s film: “(Shakes head). You can look at the scheme, and you can look at what they’re doing. Same coordinator. Different personnel, and then there are some guys that are back. Same thing they’re looking at us: We’ve got some guys that are gone and some guys that are back. So, you can take some, absolutely.”

On what has trailed off with C.J. Conrad: “You know what? He’s been banged up a little bit, you know? In and out. It’s like everybody. You can pick out a lot of guys. C.J. can handle it. Motivate him, get him going, get him ready to role. It can be everybody. I can go right down the list. But, yeah, we’ve got to get better on all 11 positions.”

On if they do anything to prepare for cold weather: “Strap it up, let’s go. Can’t do anything about the weather. It was cold at Louisville last year. At least to me; they said it wasn’t. It was cold to me.”

On if it’s possible young players might lose focus due to grind: “They’re in the wrong business if they’re losing focus too much. That’s the stuff that everybody fights. You hear coaches all over the country talk about that midseason, the grind, every week, getting up for games, getting down. It’s part of it. Got to go. Tennessee is showing up 7:30 in that stadium right there, so you better be focused and you better be ready to go, because if you’re not we’re going to get bloodied again.”

On what leadership he wants from Stephen Johnson right now: “Well, you got to put it past you. Short-term memory right? Short-term memory, and move on. All the great quarterbacks in every league, they have good days, bad days. That wasn’t such a good day last week. So, put it behind you, learn from your mistakes and move forward.”

On if Johnson does a good job with that: “Great job with it. We talked Sunday, had a great visit. Talked about just how he can be a great leader and where we need to go from from here. Totally on board and looking forward to 7:30, because really you want another opportunity, you know?”

On positives from Drake Jackson’s first start: “You know what? There was about three plays where he kind of got pushed back. The good part of it is it’s fixable. It’s technique. But I tell you, he competes, he knows what to do for the most part. I think he’s kind of in the same shoes as Landon was last year. As Landon went and he grew, I think Drake is growing too. I think those inside guys – Nick (Haynes) is really helping him and guys are really working to help him get to the next level.”

On how much of being a good coordinator is being confident enough to drown out criticism: “Well, first of all, I read nothing that you write. I am so sorry. I don’t read a blog. If I hear something bad about me it’s coming from the street or something like that. Somebody might flip me off or whatever. I don’t know, whatever. I don’t worry about that. I really don’t. We can score 50 and we didn’t run the ball enough. We could score 30 and we didn’t pass the ball enough. You know what? It is what it is. My job is to get this offense ready to go and score more points than the defense each and every week. I’m going to do that to my best, and that’s my job.”

On if he expects Landon Young back Saturday: “I don’t have any idea.”

On if Young has been practicing: “I have no idea.”

On if many people are flipping him off on the street: “It’s happened in my 31 years. (Laughter).”