Jen Smith on UK Football

Q&A: Stoops on SEC coaches’ teleconference

Mark Stoops was on the SEC teleconference Wednesday.
Mark Stoops was on the SEC teleconference Wednesday.

MARK STOOPS

Opening statement: “Did not have the opportunity to listen to any of the other coaches thus far but I’m sure the same sentiment that we’re excited to get going. We’re tired of competing against each other and practicing against the same color shirts, so we’re anxious to go play somebody else, and we have a big challenge ahead of us playing a very good opponent in Southern Miss. And looking forward to that this Saturday. Been very pleased with our team and the progress we’ve made. I felt we had an extremely difficult and challenging camp and our players responded very well. I feel like we’re in much better shape; we’re deeper; we’re physically and mentally stronger, so looking forward to the year and getting started this week with Southern Miss. It will be a real challenge, and I have great respect for Southern Miss. They won nine games a year ago and return a very good quarterback in Nick Mullens, extremely accurate and puts the ball in some very tight spots. So we’ll have to be on point.”

On what he’s seen from Mike Edwards: “Much like you’ve heard me talk about in the past, Mike is just a very good football player. He is fun to coach because he rarely makes the same mistake twice. He sees something on film, he reps it in practice and the next time he sees it he plays it much better. He’s a fun guy to coach. He has a full year of experience under his belt and he’s been very solid and I’m looking forward to him having a big year.”

On Nick Mullens and if he could be one of the better quarterbacks UK will face: “I don’t think there’s any doubt. We’ll face some very talented quarterbacks, that’s for sure, but I have great respect for this kid. He is very good, very poised, you can tell he has great vision. He’s seen everything. What I’ve been very impressed with is how accurate he is and how beautiful he throws the deep ball. He just drops it in there in some tight windows. He’s been very impressive, so we’ll have our hands full with him. It’s always a challenge when you’ve had an experienced guy back there that’s seen it all and seen all the different defenses and all that. So, we’re going to have to win some one-on-ones, and he’s a very talented quarterback and I definitely put him up there with some of the best we’ll play this year.”

On his policy about players legally owning hand guns: “Yeah, we do not allow any hand guns. I’ve made it very clear to them that I do not want them owning a hand gun, even if they have a legal permit for it. They obviously can never have a hand gun on campus, but I make it my policy to tell them no guns and come explain to me why they may need a gun because we definitely should not need a gun living in Lexington, Ky. So, that’s my policy.”

On what you learn as a first time college football coach in the SEC that you couldn’t prepare for until you experience it:I think the nice thing for those two gentleman (Kirby Smart and Barry Odom) is they have great experience in the SEC so they know exactly what they’re getting into. For myself coming into Kentucky, it’s hard to compare any new jobs and any type of coaching change, but we had our own challenges here that we’ve been fighting through, and they’ve been a handful. I don’t know if there’s any one point you could say that those guys don’t know. They’ve been in the league. They know what they’re up against. I think that’ll help those guys, definitely will help them have a great experience in the league. But it’s a real challenge, and I think those gentleman know that.”

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