Kentucky football head coach Mark Stoops was less than thrilled with what he saw from his team during their first major fall scrimmage.
Stoops came away visibly upset, calling the overall effort as “average.”
Season opener is coming up quick
The Wildcats got after it for a pre season scrimmage on Saturday at Kroger Field. In three very short weeks, practice will be over and Kentucky will be playing its season opener against Central Michigan. With many questions still to be answered, like who will start at quarterback, these final practice reps are critical for Stoops to begin narrowing down a plan of attack.
Stoops addressed reporters after practice and was in an overall mood of complete dissatisfaction. You get the feeling that his sense of urgency is beginning to rise in preparation for what will be a tough opponent to open the season.
He immediately began by saying.
“I am disappointed to be honest with you. Just the overall scrimmage was in general. I expected more out of these guys across the board. I felt like we were just sloppy. We had some pre snap penalties that hurt some drives offensively. We had some drops, late in the scrimmage put the ball on the ground. Defensively just average. I felt like we were just average across the board. I didn’t really see exceptional play from either side. Just good enough to be average today and that’s really not what we’re looking for.” Stoops said.
When asked if these are just the normal ups and downs that teams face throughout the year, Stoops responded.
“I’d like to see us consistently grow and come out here but I’m gonna tell the team the truth just like I tell you guys the truth. I’m not calculated and gonna decide how I feel until after the scrimmage or the practice, I’m just not pleased. I just feel like there's a lot more with us. It’s a long training camp but I expect more.” Said told reporters on Saturday.
It really seem like Mark Stoops was containing his emotions and was extremely upset with how the scrimmage went. He did take the time to address some questions surrounding the team.
Stoops said that nobody has really set themselves apart in the quarterback race and notated that the QB’s were inconsistent on Saturday. This is going to be the biggest remaining question in the preseason for the Wildcats.
Terry Wilson or Gunnar Hoak could potentially both get a chance in the season opener if this trend of inconsistency continues. Stoops made mention of the offense looking sluggish and having turnovers late in drives during the scrimmage. It wasn’t clear if they were fumbles or interceptions. But it was apparent that Stoops was not happy with the offense.
Turnovers are something that Kentucky cannot not afford and ball security will be crucial for the Cats to win conference games.
Snell sat out of the scrimmage with a leg injury on Saturday. It didn’t seem serious at all and Stoops brushed it off as a “calf injury he has been dealing with a bit.”
Probably for the best to limit any unnecessary contact for Snell, who the Cats will be relying on heavily to carry a huge work load. Kentucky needs Snell to stay healthy for the entire season, his health is monumentally important for the success of the overall season.
This is a very important season for Mark Stoops and the program as a whole. Kentucky has all the pieces to take a major step forward and assert themselves as legitimate contenders in the SEC east.
The Cats have the pieces, like Benny Snell, to potentially win 8 or 9 games and secure a bowl victory. If that were to happen, it would provide a foundation that Stoops can build on for years to come.
Football will be back in just three weeks when Kentucky hosts Central Michigan on September 1st in the season opener at Kroger Field. From the tone of Mark Stoops today, Kentucky will really need to step up in order to be ready for Game 1.