Jen Smith on UK Football

Q&A: Mark Stoops not pleased with offense after third scrimmage


Opening statement: “I thought we made some improvement defensively today. Certainly the defense came out with more energy. I was disappointed for the first time all spring with just the mentality of our offense. I don’t know if it’s cold out here, windy, but it’s no excuse. Just was not up to par. I was pleased they did some situations very well. We did quite a bit of situational work in third downs. We did some third-and-shorts, we did some goal-line and we did some two-minute, and they executed in some situations well. But overall it just was not good enough offensively. Defensively I’ll have to see the tape, whether it was defensively making big gains or just the offense not executing and playing very well. So, I don’t want to take anything away defensively, because I thought we did have good juice, good energy and made some improvement in our run defense, which we needed to see and we saw that today. But overall, just in my opinion, just not good enough. It didn’t feel good enough, it didn’t feel like we had the right passion and energy out here. That was the first time all spring. It’s not good enough and not acceptable, and we’ll continue to push them.”

On it sounding as if offensive coordinator Eddie Gran was getting on players pretty loudly: “Sounds like he is, but they need it. It’s hard. That’s just it: You know that’s been our story. We’ve been too much hot and cold, and we need to be consistent. We’ve harped on that all along.”

On whether he thinks they’ve developed the leaders on offense needed to respond to a day like this: “It is. As I’ve said before, every day is a learning opportunity, and today we have to learn from this, what’s not acceptable and where we do need the leadership. Like I said, I do want to credit Drew (Barker) and some of our receivers in they threw the ball in some great spots in two-minute and in some situational drills. They did respond, which was good to see, instead of just laying an egg all day. So, that was definitely a positive.”

On what he liked about the defense: “It just seemed like – Mike Edwards made a fantastic play, the first play of the scrimmage. Overall up front we were definitely more stout up front and the pass rush was improved as well. Josh Allen had some nice rushes.”

On saying this week he was actually pretty pleased with the defensive line: “Well, I just think we know we have some work to do, but I know we’ll improve. I knew early on there were some things that we could get corrected. That’s why you’ve got to go live and scrimmage and do those things, but today you saw that improvement.”

On Gran talking this week about importance of playing well in situations like two-minute drill to make up for poor performance otherwise: “No doubt. That’s exactly right. He and I are on the exact same page that way. You could play good for the majority of the game, and if you don’t play a situation right you’re going to lose. So that’s where the learning comes from today. The last couple drives they stepped up and made some plays and scored. So that was good to see.”