TRANSCRIPT & RAW VIDEO | UK coach Mark Stoops after 14-9 loss to - WDRB 41 Louisville News

TRANSCRIPT & RAW VIDEO | UK coach Mark Stoops after 14-9 loss to Florida

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By UK Athletics

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WDRB) -- University of Kentucky coach Mark Stoops was dispirited, but not discouraged, after his tell fell 14-3 to Florida on Saturday night. A transcript of his postgame discussion with reporters.

Opening statement: Very disappointing loss. Just disappointed with the way we played. Didn't play a clean enough football game. We talked about it all week. We just needed to play a good, clean football game. And play to our capabilities the best we can. And we didn't do that tonight and give Florida a lot of credit, because they had a lot to do with that. So, they played very good and very disruptive defensively, caused us a lot of problems all night. Really never got in any rhythm or any sync offensively. And again they had a lot to do with that. They had great cover guys who were very disruptive up front with their D line. It was very difficult for us to handle their pressure at times. We put ourselves in a hole. We didn't make plays when we had to. Starting again with an interception put them in great field position and defensively had every opportunity to stop them on fourth down and didn't get them down. It leads to the first touchdown.And their second touchdown, same thing. We had our opportunities, didn't execute what we needed to, gave up a big third down that gave them a fourth and a few inches and they converted that. But that third down I thought was critical for their second touchdown at the end of the first half. So, again, just we need to go back to work and become a better football team, play cleaner, do the little things that are necessary to win games like that. I'm very proud of our team's effort, they played hard, we're just not clean enough. So, but I'm done, I'm just going to ramble.

Q. You had a 40-yard touchdown pass dropped on your first series. How big a swing was that when they came back and scored?

STOOPS: Right at the beginning you talking about? Yeah, I mean, it's critical, because if I'm not mistaken right after that was the interception that set them up. So, you talk about a huge swing. And we never really gave our opportunity for our fans to really get into the game. We had great support, I thank the fans again. It was a great environment leading up to the game and the Cat Walk and seeing the stadium filled was incredible. And we need to play better to get them into it. That would have been a great start. It didn't happen.

Q. You mentioned a couple defensive miscues. When you give up 14 points and 240 yards, do you expect to win that football game?

STOOPS: Sure you do, but you never know how it's going to play out. We talk about it all the time. You could play a very good football game on both sides and if you don't play a situation right, you lose. Turnovers are critical. There were very few in the game, really, but I don't count the last one that Patrick threw. I can't hold that against him, he had to throw it up and give somebody a shot. But the one interception was critical. I was pleased with the defensive effort. I felt like the guys played hard, they prepared the right way. It's the urgency of the communication a lot on both sides of the ball and that's what I talk about in practice a lot and just preparing yourself to play well. That miscommunication on the third down that set up the fourth and short, that will bother me. We got to get some things switched or fixed up. But I was proud. I thought we had a good plan and guys played hard and put ourselves in a position to win the game. Offensively, the same thing. It's a lot to do with momentum and just like we talked about, that missed opportunity early set us back. And then you put the interception behind it and we played tentative the rest of the night.

Q. The offensive line had a tough time all night, what was going on with that group?

STOOPS: Yeah, there was some issues. We knew that going into the game. Watching them rush and we had -- we can't afford to take those negative plays and get behind the chains. Just like we saw last week with our own penalties, but this week with sacks or negative yardage plays, running the ball or getting sacked. Get behind the chains, we're in a world of hurt against a good football team. We can't do that, we got to be a little bit smarter in how we protect and take our shots. We did that. We hit the one late, we couldn't get it in the end zone.

Q. Did you think you had a shot on the 3rd and 5 pass that went just a little high?

STOOPS: Yeah, another missed opportunity. We had every shot to convert that and I felt like it was a little high. I felt like even down to the second to our last possession when we had the third and 13, we had a little slant right there. We had a great corner (against us) in (Vernon) Hargreaves, but we got a big wide out that we got to put it right in his chest and give him an opportunity to come down with it and we just missed them.

Q. What are your thoughts on Patrick Towles?

STOOPS: We'll get back. I don't want to comment on that right now. Patrick's done some very good things. I'm not going to sit here and throw him under the bus. We need to play better all around him. There were some drops out there, there were some protection issues that we talked about. There's enough blame to go around. It's not all on Patrick by any means just like the wins aren't, and he's doing some good things. Sure, I think he would be the first one to tell you and myself and coach Dawson, that we need to improve and he'll be held accountable to his mistakes just like the rest of our team.

Q. There's been a lot of talk about the improvement in wide receiver play. How do you think that group played tonight?

STOOPS: Just -- I don't want to throw any unit under the bus, but I felt like certainly we could play better than that.

Q. What about Florida's pass rush?

STOOPS: They're big athletic guys, disruptive guys. We watched it. I watched some tape on them and I saw some spots where I saw all four guys win one-on-ones and that caught my attention early in the week. When all four of your guys are winning in one-on-one pass rush situations, you know they can rush.

Q. And how difficult did Florida's secondary make it for you?

STOOPS: Yeah, it is. They're good. They have been for years now and they have good cover guys. Those cover guys with Vernon back in this game and those guys have been around for awhile, the majority of those guys in the back end, they have seen a lot of football and they're good cover guys and again they were active up front. And we always give them credit, because they deserve it, but we need to play better as well of the we had some opportunities, it was a tight football game. It always comes down a few plays, you just don't know what plays are going to make the difference. They made more than we did.

Q. How do you assess the overall defensive play?

STOOPS: Yeah, again, I was proud of the overall effort. I really was. I felt like the guys were in good position and that's what I look for of how we play all the situations. I felt like that Coach Eliot really had the guys prepared to make plays. Again, when we're ought there, we could tell whether things are giving us issues or not. We know there's matchup problems and you ain't ever going to just solve it all the time, but we had a good plan, we had guys in position, and I was proud of their effort. Again, I just wish we could have made a few more.

Q. On Grier's ability to extend plays …
COACH STOOPS: Well, it was really disappointed continuing with our effort at times, getting back to the first possession I think it was when they had it on the fourth and goal and had him sacked and didn't get him down. And then late in the game we had a big negative yardage play there and he gets away with it. So, you got to give him credit. He obviously has a nice knack for that and getting more and more comfortable with more reps he's getting. We're just starting to see him a lot and so it was good. It was impressive by him and those are some things we need to do better.

Q. Are you worried about the team's confidence?

STOOPS: No, no. I'm not worried about our confidence. It's a constant grind to get guys to understand to do the little things right. They're young guys, with a lot on their plate that have given us a great effort. And they will continue to give us a great effort. So we'll get back to work and improve. We'll have another great opportunity right here next week and I want everybody to keep the faith and come on back and support this team and we're going to go back to work on Monday and look to improve. No, I don't worry about our confidence we know these are hard fought games, all of them. And here's another game that came down to the wire. And they made the plays and we didn't. So we'll go back to work to look to improve and can't wait to get back out there Monday.

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