Jen Smith on UK Football

UK will ‘hit the reset button ... look at things we did successfully to get it to 5-1’


“Very disappointed with the outcome of this game. Really proud of our players and the effort that they put into it. Obviously we did not play winning football and certain areas. We’ve got to get to work on that and improve. Certainly we did some really good things and could be more proud of the defense, to play and hang in there as long as they did. To get the strip when it didn’t seem like we were getting anything moving offensively. We were in bad field position. They were playing really good and we couldn’t get much done offensively and they were playing good, to get the strip and get the touchdown was a huge play. Gave us an opportunity to win it in overtime. Just didn’t make enough plays. Bottom line. Thought they did a nice job of affecting the quarterback and that is with coverage and push in the pocket. He was not comfortable all night. That’s on everybody, not just on him. We have to do a better job as a coaching staff to put him in a position to get him some comfort. Our players have to give him some protection and we have to do some things better. That’s all of us. That’s not on any one guy. But he definitely was not very comfortable. And you talk about effecting the quarterback, they did that to him. They affected him in a big way. Again, other areas of our program, played really good. Obviously the punt returns hurt us as well. Bottom line, give them credit. They have a very good football team. Very talented football team. They played and beat us. Very proud of our guys effort. We just gotta get back to work and execute and do some things better.”

On the third-and-2 discussing giving it to Benny Snell: “We did. Didn’t happen. I’ll have to look at the film. I don’t know if it was there or not. We felt like there was a play open in the flat. Again, I don’t know. I’ll have to wait and see. It was on the far side.”

On Snell not getting many touches: “We were rotating AJ with him in the first half. That’s by design. And then we didn’t have a lot of plays. We felt like we had to throw the ball some coming into the game. In the first half we had 27 plays. Actually, ended up with what, 50? That’s not a lot of touches. Definitely need to get him going. We need to get him involved and I think part of that was when you’re not moving the ball. We’re not getting first downs. Not very good. Not every much fun.”

On penalties setting them back: “It definitely set us back. You know coming into this environment, playing that defense, getting behind the chains is not a good situation. We were behind the chains most of the night, whether it be penalties, incomplete pass, sacks, ineffective runs, you name it. We were behind the chains.”

On still being in overtime after not running a play on A&M’s side the entire game: “It says a lot for our defense. Again, give them credit. They really played good defensively. I thought our guys played really hard as well. We played a lot of snaps and it took its toll on us a little bit late. Again, very proud of our defensive effort.”

On Terry not having much time: “They do a nice job of mixing it up. But they also have guys that can get pressure with four. Zone blitzes, again, they made it not very comfortable for Terry.”

On concerns at kicker: “Yeah, Miles, it was right on his range. I had faith in him to get it done. He hit a good kick. He missed it by what, half yard? He didn’t quite hit it like he can.”

On Chance Poore almost going out: “I was debating. I was right on the cusp. Comfortable with Miles to about 44 (yards). So, you know, we burned the timeout the play before. That kind of bothered me too. We could’ve thought about it there a minute but didn’t have a timeout. 42. Miles hit a good kick. Came up eight inches short.”

On needing to throw the ball at the start: “Yeah, we knew they were going to make it difficult for us to run. We thought it would be difficult to run and sure enough it was. We felt like we had to keep it off balance and throw the ball. You saw we tried to do that early on. They covered us and again, we were ineffective. We have to create some explosive plays.”

On how Chris Oats filled in: “I thought Chris did a good job from what I could tell. There was nothing that stood out negatively in the first half. I was proud of him the way he stepped in and played.”

On Terry looking indecisive: “A little bit of all of the above. Him making quicker decisions, hanging in the pocket some and you know, I agree with you. Just watching it from the sidelines, you felt like there were times where if he just made a decision to pull it down and run it he may have gotten it. Or wait in the pocket and wait until a receiver cleared. But give them credit. They were very good. Good in their coverage. They were really good at escaping and tackling him when there were lanes. They have some athletic guys. It looks like there’s windows there and they would escape and get him down.”

On the process on 3rd and 2: “We had a play there on 3rd and 2 that we had worked that had an opportunity for a big play and an opportunity for a guy open in the flat. There were three options there. I’ll have to wait and see the film before I make any decision on that. I don’t know. I agree, I wish, obviously in hindsight we would hand that thing off. At worst you’re going to kick the field goal there and have an opportunity to get it.”

On CJ Conrad having catches and if that was scripted: “Yeah, you try to set a few things up here and there off pops and different things. Obviously they start looking for that. They can’t leave him uncovered. Those are run options. If they don’t cover them then they’re going to be there. Once they start covering them you hand it off. That’s an RPO, some of it. They didn’t cover one and we hit the seam there early. I can’t think of the other play.”

On the touchdown to Bowden and if they need more guys to do things on the outside: “Yeah, yeah. Definitely. We do. I don’t know. We just gotta look at the film and see. We obviously wanna get the ball down the field. The receivers are going to sit there and feel like they had some opportunities when they were open or maybe there was some pressure, it all kind of goes hand and hand. One things for sure, in that environment, dropping back and sitting there and being comfortable and distributing the ball and getting open, they don’t make it very easy on you. But we have to do a better job. Part of our success in that is being successful on first down and running it and keeping people off balance. We were ineffective tonight.”

On the battles with Jimbo on the practice field and how it was tonight: “They were. I think both of us, now that I’m a head coach, I’d like to see a little more offense on our side. For him, I’m sure to their credit they hung in there and were physical and tough all the way through. Made some plays down the stretch. Give them credit. They won.”

On if he was surprised on the number of UK fans who showed up: “It was incredible. Wish we could’ve finished it off and got that victory. But again, I am proud of our team. That’s a very, very difficult environment to play right here and have an opportunity to take it to overtime and win. You have to give our guys credit for that. I appreciate them. We came here expecting to win and preparing to win. We’re going to rest up for a day or two and then we’re going to get back to that mentality. I am proud of their effort and the way they hung in there.”

On not stalling momentum with the bye: “Our guys, they’re going to need to rest up. I said it last week. Win or lose there’d be a day or two where we’d need to decompress and rest up. Our prep has been really good. Our guys have been working hard. We have good leadership on this team. We’re going to hit the reset button here and look at things we did successfully to get it to 5-1 and we’ll look at the things we need to improve and work on those things. I don’t anticipate any issues there with this team.”