LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Mark Stoops felt like his team was moving forward despite one-sided defeats to Mississippi State and Tennessee. He didn't come away from last Saturday's 27-3 defeat at Georgia feeling the same way.
"I felt like throughout this year and the times you hear me talk about opponents, what we are going up against and what we are going to do, one thing I applaud and talk about with other teams when I see it and with our own team is playing with that great passion, energy, desire and fundamentally trying to get better with everything that we do," said Stoops. "That was not the case this past week and that is the frustrating part of it for myself and I am sure the fan base."
After beginning the season 4-1, the Wildcats have dropped four straight with in many ways, each loss getting progressively worse. Georgia amassed over twice as many yards and first downs as the Cats in the game in Athens.
Now Kentucky (4-5, 2-5 in SEC) travels to Vanderbilt (3-6, 1-4 in SEC), one of the teams looking up at them in the SEC East standings. Patrick Towles is still listed as the starting quarterback, but Stoops said Drew Barker will get a few more reps in practice this week and a possibility of more time in Saturday's game against the Commodores.
"We will see how the week goes, said Stoops. "Whoever gives us the best chance to go into Vandy and win will take the first snaps. If we feel confident in both guys and one is struggling then we will go to the other."
For the second straight year, the opportunity to play in a bowl game is slipping away. UK has three games remaining (Vanderbilt, Charlotte, Louisville) to get the two wins necessary for bowl eligibility. And the coach knows that it's on the minds of many players.
"Well, of course," said Stoops. "I’ve never said those words out of my mouth but I’ve read some quotes and had some things told to me that ‘it was bowl game or bust’ or whatever they were saying. Well, I’m going to ask them about that. I am going to ask them to get up and say what they believe. If that is important to them then they better start with a one-week season this week."
The Wildcats and Commodores kick off at 4:00 pm Saturday at Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville.
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