The Kentucky Wildcats were fortunate to escape with a 34-27 win last Saturday against the Eastern Kentucky Colonels.
While the bye week is here, the Cats don't have much time to lick their wounds with another big game looming on the horizon. UK Head Coach Mark Stoops met with the media Tuesday to give his thoughts on the near historic upset and other topics.
Stoops did not shy away from the fact that EKU gave a tremendous effort in Commonwealth Stadium and that his team’s effort has to improve.
"After watching the film of EKU, muck like I said after the game, I felt like EKU did an excellent job. They were well coached and played extremely hard. I feel like we pointed out some plays to our team. We can play with better effort, better discipline at times but fortunately, we made some plays down the stretch to win the game", said Stoops.
Stoops said that his team needs to play with more of an edge and that when they do so they can play with any team in the country.
After a stagnant performance for most of the game the UK offense sprung to life near the end fo the final quarter.
According to Stoops, what fans and the media saw was not an "Aha" moment.
"You saw effort", Stoops said, "A great effort. Sometimes it takes positive plays to get guys going, get the juice going, get the mojo going. Once they got rolling I think it helped."
The offensive line’s performance hindered the unit’s performance against a talented EKU defense. Stoops said that injuries and depth contributed to the group’s poor performance.
Defensive tackle Corey Johnson record an impressive 19 tackles last Saturday. Stoops said that is an indication that Johnson is playing with great effort and that tackles from his position means that "he is doing some damage."
Ace kicker Austin MacGinnis left the game with a groin injury but Stoops sounded optimistic about McGinnis’ recovery.
"The trainers tell me he should fine. We did an MRI and there is nothing but a pull", said Stoops, who also mentioned that McGinnis should be back by the end of the week."
As for the status of running back Boom Williams, Stoops confirmed he'll continue to practice during the bye and will be good to go next week against Auburn after sitting out this past week while dealing with personal issues.
"It was an issue with him, and it affected him," Stoops said. "Those issues that he had, that he shared with me, affected his performance, and it affected the way he acted and what he did."