Head coach Mark Stoops held his weekly press conference Monday afternoon following an eventful win over Central Michigan.
Overall, Stoops was pleased with his team’s game.
“Really proud of a lot of things we did this past Saturday. It’s always good to get the opener under your belt and getting that victory.”
As pleased as Stoops was, he always knows there is a lot to improve upon.
One of those things will be the turnovers. Kentucky turned the ball over four times in the win over CMU. Stoops wants improvement especially when it comes to limiting fumbles.
“Interceptions are going to happen. Fumbles we have to avoid. We have to get it under control. From our past experience if you go back two years if we turn the ball over like we did that year the results are not going to be very good.”
Another big question following the win is how the team will go forward at quarterback. Both Terry Wilson and Gunnar Hoak saw playing time and did some good things and some not-so-good things.
However, Stoops was pleased with both of his signal callers.
“Both guys did some really good things, and both did what you’d expect from their first time playing. I really enjoy having both guys. I appreciate Gunnar stepping in a difficult situation and making some plays and putting it in the end zone. It was also good to get Terry back in the second half and play well.”
As for the defense that shutout CMU in the second half, Stoops enjoyed it but still see’s room for improvement.
“I was really pleased defensively. I felt were a couple of situations that were easily corrected and we need to get those corrected. Overall the effort was really good I thought we were very sharp in our communication, our tackling was very strong for the first game, so overall pleased.”
Lastly, Stoops couldn’t have been more proud of the stellar special teams effort his team displayed.
“I want to say we gained the neighborhood of 60 somewhat yards in Special teams yardage and that’s a big factor we are looking for plus 15, so that was significant.
Turning the page on CMU, Stoops began to preview the team’s next opponent the Florida Gators.
Football: @UKCoachStoops takes a look at Kentucky’s prime time matchup with Florida this coming Saturday. pic.twitter.com/xzBgnO62Zu— John Morgan Francis (@MonJorgan) September 3, 2018
It has been 31 years since the Kentucky Wildcats last took down Florida, and Stoops is well aware of it.
“I never dance around that question, but we can’t focus on it for that reason. We need to focus on it because it’s this year, it’s an SEC opponent in the east. These guys can’t worry about 30 something years.”
This Florida team surely has a much-different look this time around. They are under to new leadership in head coach Dan Mullen, and Stoops knows it’s hard to know what to expect from Florida in 2018 looking at just one week of tape.
Stoops was noticeably impressed with Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks, who threw for 219 yards and five touchdowns in the Gators opening day win.
“He looked much more comfortable. They gave him just enough reads and quarterback runs that he was comfortable with his decisions and threw some very accurate passes.”
As for his team’s game plan, the big question was, of course, the quarterbacks.
Wilson is listed as the starter on the depth chart. However, Stoops did not give much of an indicator as to how both quarterbacks would be used.
He did however, assure there will not be a short leash for either quarterbacks even when mistakes are made.
“I don’t believe in having a short leash for a quarterback within reason.”
Football: @UKCoachStoops says his quarterbacks aren’t on a short leash, gives insight on their growth. pic.twitter.com/2Iem54D4HK— John Morgan Francis (@MonJorgan) September 3, 2018
As for prepping his team for the Swamp, Stoops said there isn’t too much he can do.
“We prepare with the things we coach them to do we concentrate our nerves, assignments and little things. If we do the little things right over and over again good things will happen.”
Stoops’ team has a lot of work to do this week as they like to finally end the aforementioned losing streak against Florida.