Jen Smith on UK Football

Q&A: Stoops on Fan Day, open practice

MARK STOOPS

“It was really good to get the first two days of practice in since the last time I talked to you, but very pleased with where we're at. I feel like we're a lot of work done. It's sluggish as you would expect. It's very hot and very humid out here, but I was pleased with our guys' effort, their attitude. They've been on point with meetings and taking care of business. It's a good start, and that's all it is, is a start. We've got a lot of work to go, but I like where we're at physically, mentally, and we're in Day 2. So we're halfway through Day 2 and we've got to be consistent and that's all we're talking to 'em about, is finishing every day, taking care of business and being on point to meetings and handling their business. I'm pleased with where we're at so far, and we'll continue to push forward.

On how he approaches breaking in young guys:We're giving them reps as you saw out there today, so we're constantly giving third team guys reps, but we're also making a point to make sure all freshmen – if we do happen to be deep at that position, we're getting all freshmen some looks. And as camp goes on we'll take them specifically and work with them after practice as well and make sure they're getting the reps and staying up to date.”

On not having to play a lot of freshmen in key roles: ”It's a good feeling. It's a lot less frustrating when you walk off the practice field because you're not trying to feed somebody water with a fire hose. You're letting them come along the way they can. We have some very talented freshmen and some of them may play, but right now it is nice to see some older guys at the positions that have been around.”

On 90 percent of offense being installed and what the other 10 percent is:Just more plays. More plays. More. It's neverending. We're always adjusting, tweaking, and that's why we watch film all day and keep on pushing forward. But we've done a lot of work, whether it be in the spring and in the summer as well.”

On Boom Williams wearing a red jersey: “He was in blue yesterday and came out in red today. So, that’s (trainer) Jim’s call – Madaleno. He’s good to go. The object with him with the red is not to bring him to the ground. We’re not supposed to be doing that right now anyway. He’s fine. He’s good to go. We will be smart with him. We can’t be silly. He’s had some major injuries. So, we’ll have him ready to play but we do have to be somewhat cautious and let him work his way back.”

On difficult catches from receivers: “Yeah, it was good. They made some competitive catches. I like seeing that. I like seeing good coverage and good catches, because that’s what’s going to happen. Again, you’ve heard me talk about it, you don’t want one side to have success because the other side is not doing their job and leaving things wide open or being inept and not playing the way you’re supposed to. You want to see competitive plays.”

On Drew Barker not being gun shy: “Definitely. It was very hot and humid out there and he was throwing it around. But he is. He’s worked really hard. He’s been very decisive. We’ve got to connect. We had some deep balls open again that we’ve got to connect on. We’re constantly working on that, fundamentally from receivers to throwing the ball accurately as well. But there’s some things we can do better to connect on some deep balls.”

On home important it is for Regie Meant and Courtney Miggins to step up: “Yeah, it’s really important. I think it’s been – they’ve been working hard, and they look good physically. Courtney certainly is a guy being a newcomer a year ago that he’s much more comfortable right now. Regie has always played hard and given us everything he has.”

On Jared Tucker not being at practice: “Yeah, Jared is going to go play somewhere else. Really appreciate Jared. He’s a fine, young man and wish him the very best. There was no animosity on either side. He wants to go somewhere where he can get on the field and play.”

On if there is anything he can say about Sihiem King not being at practice: “No, I don’t want to comment on that. He’ll be back. He’ll be back.”

On a lot of guys cramping up: “Just cramps as far as I know, and that’s par for the course right now across the country. There will be some IV bags going up in there, but they’ll be fine. They’ve just got to work really hard to hydrate and we’ll take care of them between practices and right now in the nice big cold tub that we have in there right there. It’s kind of nice to go in there. We can fit a bunch of guys in there after practice and let them ice their legs down.”

On Jabari Greenwood: “He showed up. Yeah, Jabari did. He caught a couple deep balls. I noticed him in there. And (fellow redshirt freshman receiver) Tavin (Richardson) is doing very well as well. They’re both good players and they’ll both push some guys for some playing time.”

On fan day: “It was awesome. What a great day. It was great to see a lot of our alumni back; I had a chance to visit with a lot of them last night and they’re going to have lunch with our team today. It was awesome to have them and their families here. And the fans to come out and take part in fan day and sign some autographs. It was a great turnout. I love having them here watching practice – and you guys. I have nothing to hide. I’d like you to be able to come in here. We’ve just got to be able to operate, and we have a nice, big place in here now so we can let the fans in here to watch and get the media in here to watch and we still have room to operate. So it was a really good day that way.”

On if he’s seen Dorian Baker trying to be more mature: “I have, but it’s early. I have seen that. I’ve seen him very serious, very serious in the meetings and out here, not playing around too much.”

On if Drew Barker has been a good influence on Baker: “Drew and him spend a lot of time (together). And I’ve seen them, I’ve seen him out here throwing. They’ve been working hard.”

On how big of a role can Charles Walker play: “Big. Big role. Big role. I’ve said it since day one, I love how Charles plays. He’s a very good football player and no matter how talented someone is in front of him, they’d better play or he’ll be on the field. He’s too good of a player. He has a great heart, does a fantastic job in special teams. He does a lot of good things.”

On Walker’s comfort in punt return: “No doubt. He’s definitely an option. Definitely. That’s the No. 1 job is to secure the ball. We know we have to make good decisions. You’ve seen us over the years. It’s not just about securing the catch, but also about making good decisions, not letting a punt that we have a chance to field bounce and we lose 20, 30 yards in field position, That’s major. So you have to be able to get to the ball. It’s not just about explosive plays, which Charles can do that as well, but it’s about making good decisions and securing the ball.”

On what he thinks of Stephen Johnson: “He’s got work to do, but we’ll be in good shape. Stephen’s doing a good job.”

On importance of vocal leaders: “I think it’s real important to have vocal leaders, definitely think it is and you’re starting to see that more and more.”

On having Nate Northington and Wilbur Hackett at Fan Day: “They’re back with all of our ex-alumni, so it’s good to have them. I thought it was appropriate because they’re on the poster and we’re recognizing those guys and it was good for our fans to be able to see them, spend some time with them.”

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