Jen Smith on UK Football

‘We knew we’d ... have to play some very good football on our end. I really didn’t feel like we did that,’ Stoops says.

MARK STOOPS

“A very difficult loss. You have to credit Georgia for what they did and how they played. Georgia played a very good football game today. They responded from the difficult loss last week and came back and played like the team that was the No. 1 team in the country for a long, good bit of the season. I was disappointed in the way we played. We knew we’d have to play a very good football team and we’d have to play some very good football on our end. I really didn’t feel like we did that. I felt like early, we let some opportunities slip, starting with the mistake of roughing (the punter). You know it’s going to be a strong, a tough grind all day. We got some early momentum and we rough ‘em. Make us defend another eight, nine plays and they score. It was an uphill climb from that point on. Again, give Georgia credit. They put pressure on us all night in all phases. Played very good. It’s a very physical team that’s very well coached. They played like the number one team in the country tonight. We need to step it up and play a lot better. We expect to get back on track here this week.”

On the roughing the punter: “It didn’t work. Dean (Hood) has done an excellent job. Our special teams have been efficient all year. We felt like we had to create some pressure on them to create some opportunities tonight. It backfired. We had a chance to get good field position. We had good momentum and we roughed them. We came after them and played pretty aggressively with that block but it backfired. Again, we can’t second guess the call. We’ve just got to be more precise in our technique and execute it better.”

On facing the duo of Chubb/Michel: “They’re exceptional backs. They really are. They’re physical. They’re a physical group. They keep you off balance with dynamic playmakers outside, but their running backs are really strong and really good players. They’ve been around for a while. I have a lot of respect for those players.”

On if the run defense struggles are because of playing better teams or something on their end: “I think it’s always a combination. You have to give credit to the opponents. Certainly Georgia, which was much more physical than us. They out-executed us. It’s a combination of things. We need to make sure we have them in the right position and we have to have great position on the football. There were some long runs. I’ll have to look at the film. Again, our position on the ball wasn’t great. On the perimeter was some of that. Then you add in the physical nature of their running backs and they’re making us miss and breaking some tackles. Put it all together and way too many yards. You’re not going to win very many football games when you give up that kind of rush yards.”

On Georgia’s touchdown at the end of the half: “It was not good. It was a big possession for them to get that score. I could’ve opted for the field goal there at the end. It was no guarantee. It would’ve been what, 50 — I want to say 50 yards — and into a little breeze. No guarantee you’re gonna make it. Felt like we could convert it, and you know we dropped the pass and that’s not gonna help the cause there.”

On how important it is to end on a high note against Louisville: “It’s very important. Just to get another victory and to get our eighth win is big. We haven’t done that in a while and it’s important for us to play against Louisville – our rival — and play at home and to finish the season. I have no doubt, that’s what I told the team. Give Georgia credit. They sat there a week ago in the locker room, much like us, and took a loss, and they responded like we knew they would. (inaudible sentence) And I told you guys that all year, told the team that, that they need to get a shower, get cleaned up, and get on the bus, and get on the plane, and go home, and regroup and get ready to play a game and I’m sure we’ll respond the right way.”

On Mike Edwards playing through pain: “He did. He’s banged up. He’s sore. He had a hip. He got hit in the hip, a hip pointer, and those things hurt. He was trying to play through it.”

On C.J. Conrad’s injury: “He has a foot. Yeah, he has a foot. He’s in a boot, on crutches right now, so I don’t know. I really don’t.”

On if it’s broken: “No, I don’t think so. But, I don’t know.”

On Quinton Bohanna’s injury:“He had an ankle.”

On if Stephen Johnson was a little off: “Well, I don’t know if it was all Stephen. I think they put a lot of pressure on us offensively. They were making very quick calls to run to the ball and they were getting good pressure. You watched them on film, and we knew we were gonna have to throw it and keep them off balanced early, on early downs. But, in predictable pass, it’s tough against them. When they get ahead it puts a lot of pressure on you with the way they cover and with the way they rush. So, that can disrupt any quarterback.”

On if that was the best defense they played this year: “I don’t know. Certainly they played very good tonight. They’re long, they’re athletic and you watch them, across the board all year, predictable pass is a difficult situation. And so, we had the game ready to go in and try to take some shots and throw it on first and second down. We did that some. We had opportunities early to hang in there and didn’t make enough plays.”

On if he talked to Eddie Gran before Lynn Bowden’s throw: “No. I didn’t.”

On Jake Fromm: “Yeah, he’s good. He’s a good player. They had a lot of time because they do a nice job of throwing and mixing it up on early downs as well. They mix in the run and pass, they protect it and have very good wideouts. And you have to load up the box against them as you can see. They still rushed the ball for 200 yards but you’re putting guys up there and then they have dangerous wideouts and they can protect it that way as well. We didn’t get them in enough third and longs.”

On Kentucky’s third and long inefficiency: “As I said, I think when you get in predictable pass against this group it’s gonna be a long night.”

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