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Mark Stoops talks coaching vacancies, Vols, injuries and more

Mark Stoops gives injury updates, talks Vols, the potential weather impact this weekend, and his reaction to hearing his name mentioned in coaching openings.

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

The Kentucky Wildcats enter this Saturday’s border war against Tennessee on a two-game losing streak that has many Big Blue fans fearful of a sequel to last season’s woeful closing stretch.

Head coach Mark Stoops is not the least bit concerned about another long losing streak to end the season.

"Last year was year. This year is this year", he said.

Currently, several prominent football programs have coaching vacancies and Stoops’ name has been connected with a few, including Miami where Stoops has coached before. Stoops was adamant that he is only focused on this season with Kentucky and was honest that he really wishes that question would not come up during the season.

"I mean, come on, let me just try to go win a game," Stoops said of his focus. "I hope you have to ask that question as the year goes on. That means you’re winning games. What can I say? I really don’t have any answer other than I’m trying desperately to win a football game this weekend."

He was also quite honest and said that his resume might not stack in comparison to other candidates.

"I probably have not won enough like some other people have."

Instead, Stoops is focused on the Vols and versatile quarterback Joshua Dobbs. UK’s coach explained that the best way to contain Dobbs is to have a good game plan.

"You try to make sure you have a good game plan and you have good discipline in your rush lanes, and have a good plan overall. You just try to have a great plan and stick to it. With some of that is ad-libbing and athletic ability. It’s hard to prepare for certain things."

With rain in the forecast for Saturday, Stoops had the team practice in inclement weather at Commonwealth Stadium this week to prepare the quarterbacks and wide receivers for possibly playing on wet turf.

"I was going to go outside regardless of what the weather was yesterday. We got a little moisture, which was good just to get used to the quarterbacks throwing and the receivers catching with some wetness, get used to the surface, the whole deal. It just helped."

Earlier in the week, Stoops said that linebacker Jason Hatcher should be able to play against Tennessee, and today, confirmed that Hatcher has practiced all week, increasing the likelihood that he will play this week.

Backup quarterback Drew Barker injured his shoulder against Mississippi State, and according to Stoops, his status will be a gametime decision.

"He'll be out there. It'll be a gametime decision how good he is or how much velocity is on the ball."