With a titanic tilt looming on the horizon, one that will be instrumental on if his team goes bowling, at the Swamp against Florida on Saturday, UK Head Coach Mark Stoops kept his post-practice remarks brief and on point.
If the Cats are going to spring their first win over the Gators since Ronald Reagan was in office, quarterback Drew Barker needs to a have a big game in a stadium legendary for its hostile environment.
Stoops is confident that Barker won’t be intimidated in Gainesville due to his experience traveling with the team last season.
"He's been around. He's been around for a while so he does know what to expect. And he did play at Vandy last year."
The coaching staff did not even venture outside of the norm to prepare Barker for his first road start.
"Well we've just done our normal crowd noise and just gone about our business. I don't anticipate that it'll be an issue. It's loud and you're gonna have to deal with that and we have at practice. He's been efficient, so I don't know what else you can do."
After appearing lost in the desert in the second half against Southern Miss., the Kentucky defense clearly needs leaders. Redshirt sophomore linebacker Denzil Ware stepped up this week and called for a player’s only meeting for the defense.
"I want to say all year he’s tried to be a leader, he’s tried to be a leader and do the very best he can. Denzil means very well, and I think Denzil will be the first one to tell you he’s talking to himself too because he made some critical, critical errors. So I don’t think that was anything about pointing fingers. It was about, ‘Let’s get on the same page and let’s get our act together", Stoops said on the subject.
Even with budding leadership the thin depth on the defensive side of the ball is still a concern and the only remedy at this point in Stoops’ eyes is practice, practice and more practice.
"We’ve got a long season with a lot of practices. In particular on Tuesday and Wednesday they gotta get out here and have some big physical days. That’s where we’ve gotta continue to bring guys along and develop them and we’ve done that."
Overall, Coach Stoops seemed pleased with effort and focus by his players after the difficult opening week loss, but for the team to have the kind of success they want in Gainesville and the rest of the season they will need to play with consistency.
"We’ve seen us play some good football, we just have to see it more."