Jen Smith on UK Football

‘I’m the one that has to get the team ready to play. We didn’t have enough juice today.’

Mark Stoops takes responsibility for UK’s loss at Tennessee

Kentucky football coach Mark Stoops talks to the media after his team's 24-7 loss at Tennessee on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. It was the Wildcats' 17th straight loss to the Volunteers in Knoxville. UK is now 7-3 overall and 5-3 in the SEC.
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Kentucky football coach Mark Stoops talks to the media after his team's 24-7 loss at Tennessee on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. It was the Wildcats' 17th straight loss to the Volunteers in Knoxville. UK is now 7-3 overall and 5-3 in the SEC.

MARK STOOPS

“OK, not a very good effort. Really starts with me and really ends with me. Didn’t have the team prepared. Not a good enough job by myself and I’ve gotta accept that responsibility, get back to work and do some things differently and try to get a better result. Not a very good effort. Needed to do a better job. We’ll get back to it tomorrow for the coaching staff and the team will get back at it Monday.”

On if he thought there was a hangover from last week: “I don’t know. There can’t be. Wasn’t good enough and obviously I didn’t have the team prepared. That’s on me.”

On if he had any indication earlier in the week they weren’t ready to play: “No I really didn’t. I didn’t feel that. Obviously, you know, maybe it was. I don’t know. But again, that’s on me.”

On giving up chunk plays defensively: “Yeah, they did a good job with it. We knew all along they were going to make their hay on first, second down because they can protect it with the deception and just some play action and they hit some big plays. They have some skilled wide receivers. They did a nice job and they hit us with an over and then the next time, our safety got out of the middle to protect the over and they wheel a guy up the middle and just created some plays. They did a nice job. We were just a bit slow in our reaction and our punch outs and covering those zones.”

On the offensive line and Terry running for his life: “Yeah, he has. He has. It gets uncomfortable. You’ve heard me talk about that before with quarterbacks and effecting the quarterback. He again was affected. There’s things he can do better and he’ll be the first one to admit that, but there’s things we can do to help him as well. I agree with you. I think it’s just been very uncomfortable for him. On the one late we just absolutely blew the protection call and just went the wrong way. That was late in the game. That was a huge loss right there.”

On the mistakes on the offensive line being mental or physically: “A bit of both. I think that one was completely mental. But there’s other times when we’re trying to get the ball down the field and probably need to do a better job of chipping and blocking, but we were in tempo mode and didn’t protect when we’re trying to get the ball down the field. We gave up a sack there. There’s things we could do better. Coming from behind and playing catch up is not a good scenario for a lot of teams and it’s certainly not for us.”

On when he knew it was about effort and not execution: “I don’t know. I’m not sure what point. Obviously I just don’t feel like we played our best and that’s on me. I’ve gotta get them to play harder and play better.”

On not going for a two-point conversion after the touchdown: “We would’ve needed three touchdowns and three two-point conversions. Felt like it was in the third quarter. Let’s hope that would’ve been a problem. It wasn’t.”

On the sequence before the half: “Yeah, that was a big play. The run on third down was a huge play. It led to seven points. That was a big, big play for us. That one we’ll be kicking ourselves for a while with the call that we made and that set up for seven. That’s kind of like a punch in the gut when you give up one of those hail marys at the end of the half there. That was a tough one to come back from.”

On changing message from week to week: “There will be a different message, believe me. That’s on me and I’ve gotta get them ready to play. That didn’t happen this week.”

On preparing week for week and not having a full tank: “Again, it’s on me. I take responsibility for that. I’m the one that has to get the team ready to play. We didn’t have enough juice today. That starts with me and ends with me.”

On the running game not being as effective now and if teams are playing UK differently: “Obviously we’re playing some teams that are stout. Tennessee, early in the system with Jeremy and what they were doing, a lot of times they were beating themselves. They’re obviously not doing that lately. I talked to him before the game about how hard they were playing and how much more effective they’ve been. You can see them getting more and more comfortable in the system. They have some talented guys and they just beat us. They beat us on predictable pass. Again, we can beat a lot of teams when it’s predictable pass too. We let ourselves get to that position. That’s not a good position to be in, when you’ve gotta just straight drop back pass and get the ball down the field. That’s not a good scenario for a lot of teams. We put ourselves in that position. It’s tough to come back from that.”

On putting Gunnar Hoak in at the end to keep Terry from taking more hits: “Yeah, he was getting beat up at that point. He was playing banged up all night. Just thought we’d put Gunnar in there and get him some reps.”

On changes they could make offensively at this point: “We always could look at things. We won’t be drastic, but there’s things we can do to be more effective and we have to take responsibility for that and put our kids in a position to be successful. There’s things, as a team, we didn’t do well today. We get the ball down there, I think it was late in the first, and we drop the ball and get behind the chains and end up missing the field goal on that possession. Those are just things we can’t do. Just felt like we were chasing it all night really. Just not ahead of the chains. We talked about being first down efficient and limiting them, but their explosive plays on first down efficiency. That obviously didn’t happen because they made some big plays on first down and we were behind the chains most of the night.”

On the Hail Mary before half: “Really, like I said, the play that really aggravates me is the third down run that gave them the opportunity. That was just a situation where we were jamming and running with them and he came up, it was my understanding, he came up behind them. Some of our defenders were shielded by the other guys. They’re big and they boxed us out and went up and made a play.”

On Chris Oats and DeAndre Square forcing fumbles: “I think they did some good things. Chris had the big strip there late. It’s nice to play with some linebackers with their hands. I don’t know. I’ll have to look at it and just see how they all played.”

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