LEXINGTON, KY. (WDRB) – Those expecting a gloom and doom press conference from UK head coach Mark Stoops following his team’s loss to top ranked Alabama Saturday were in for a disappointment Monday.
Yes, Stoops didn’t like the final score nor did he didn’t like some of the numbers in the box score but he did like the continued progress his team has made this season.
“Night and day, really,” said Stoops of his team now compared to the start of the season. “We’re growing and getting better. That’s all of us. Together we’re figuring it out and making some improvement and I think you’ll continue to see that.”
In case you don’t believe Stoops, his numbers back him up. In UK’s last two games including this past weekend against the defending champions, they gave up 264 yards rushing. In their first game, they gave up nearly the exact same number to Southern Miss.
The Cats are showing heart and more importantly, they’re starting to execute the game plan better.
“I think our position on the football is getting better,” said Stoops. “We did make some adjustment that helped us on some of that. You could see it last week too, just missed tackles and that’s the most frustrating part.”
Make no mistake if the 2 and 3 Cats still hope to make a bowl game, they know it’s important to take care of business against 2 and 3 Vanderbilt this Saturday. Stoops knows it will be a big test for his team, especially on the offensive end.
“What sticks out to you, too, when you think about Vandy on defense is how mature they are. I believe they have five fifth-year seniors starting and five fourth-year juniors starting and two juniors so that’s a pretty veteran group.
Experience is something that Cats don’t have a lot of at quarterback but Stoops says transfer Stephen Johnson continues to grow in the position. On Saturday, Johnson lost two fumbles. That’s something Stoops knows can’t happen again this weekend.
“The big determining factor will be turnovers. If you turn it over and not play good defense that’s a recipe to get beat by anyone. That’s a big piece of it with Stephen.”
Kickoff is at 4pm Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium.
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