Stoops transcript from Monday practice

With two full practices to go before the Blue-White Spring Game, Coach Mark Stoops discussed both lines, Bud Dupree, Avery Williamson and more. Read a full transcript here:

We had a decent practice today. Defense responded a little bit better than we did Saturday. They came out and tried to play with some energy and some enthusiasm and some toughness. Had some good periods. Offense had a good seven-on-seven period, weren’t so good in the blitz drill and things like that. Overall, good work.

WHAT DID YOU SEE FROM DEFENSE AFTER LOOKING AT SCRIMMAGE FILM? “There were some decent things. It was very frustrating. Anyone down the line, any twos or threes on defense was as bad as we thought it was. And the ones, there was some good play. There was some good play on both sides. The offense did extremely well and beat the defense overall, but there were some good things defensively overall, we just need to get some depth.”

JOHN CALIPARI HAS BEEN TWEETING OUT LINKS, URGING FANS TO SUPPORT SPRING GAME. WHAT HAS YOUR RELATIONSHIP BEEN LIKE? “He’s fantastic. He’s been really good and very supportive since the minute I got here. As I’ve said before, with recruits in December and January, inviting us into their locker room, into their facility and talking to our prospects before their games, making time for us. He’s been extremely supportive of us and I’m extremely appreciative of that. It means a lot to us and it means a lot to our recruits and our players.”

ON MARKETING THE SPRING GAME … “I don’t know if it’s intentional by our staff to do any marketing, we’re just doing our job, doing what we do and hopefully creating some excitement and working extremely hard to get this football team better. Outside of that, we’re not doing anything other than social media, working our recruits. I feel like the marketing people have done a good job and just the overall support — I’ve said that since I’ve been here — has been overwhelming at times. It’s greatly appreciated and really we’re very encouraged by that support and we’re working extremely hard to put a good product out there on that field.”

ADVANCED TICKET SALES ALONE SAY THIS WILL BE BEST ATTENDED SPRING GAME IN HISTORY. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT? “I feel great. I feel great. I feel like it’s a tribute to our coaching staff and how hard they’re working and to our players. We know we have a long way to go, but we’re working extremely hard to get there.”

ON THE SECONDARY: “I think Ashely (Lowery) has shown some flashes to be a (inaudible). We need to improve at the free safety position and at corners. Overall, we need to get better. I see us making some strides; we improved today. There were times today we competed hard and that’s a start.”

HOW’S THE OFFENSIVE LINE? “The offensive line has been a pleasant surprise. Part of that is what we do offensively and how Coach Brown calls plays and protects those guys here and there and the tempo and certain things. He mixed it up very well on Saturday. Overall I’ve been very pleased with the O-line.”

IS OFFENSE STRUGGLING WITH BLITZ? ARE SMITH, DUPREE THAT GOOD? “It’s something that takes some time for them to work through. Defense is doing a lot of different things, working on some pressures and all that. I think it’s a combination of the two.”

ANY NEWS ON QUARTERBACKS? “Again, I know it’s a broken record for us, but they’ve all shown flashes and they’re very good at times and they’ve all struggled at times. A big part of that is who’s around them and how we’re executing with the other 10 guys on the same page with the quarterbacks. There’s not much news on those guys (laughs). Nice try.”

WHO IS THE QUARTERBACK ON THE FIELD FOR THIS DEFENSE? IS THERE A POINT MAN BACK THERE? “Avery (Williamson) is the guy who needs to step up and he is. He’s a guy who has shown some leadership and we need him to continue to do that. He played well on Saturday.”

HOW HAS DEFENSIVE LINE LOOKED, ESPECIALLY WITHOUT DONTE RUMPH? “Defensive line, with Donte being out of there, we’re starting to thin out a little bit. Mister (Cobble) tweaked an ankle today or something. We’re getting a little bit thinner, but overall I think we’ll be solid there. We need to continue to bring the depth along with the twos, but been encouraged with way D-line’s playing.”

ANY UPDATES ON FORMAT FOR BLUE-WHITE? “I’m still working through that. I’m really gauging to see how we’re playing. There was a thought of putting all the ones on one team and all the twos and threes on the other or going one defense and two offense. It kind of depends on how Wednesday goes. I’m going to play it by ear. We’ll make that decision sometime this week.”

IS BUD DUPREE SETTLED IN ONE SPOT? “He is. But within our package, we’re versatile enough to do some things with him standing up as well. He’ll be at home with his hand in the dirt. He’s playing defensive end and playing it very well, doing a good job. He is versatile enough and some of the things we do with three down, he will be standing up as well.”

DOES IT HELP THAT HE’S DONE THAT BEFORE? “It does and he’s a good, instinctual player.”



About Jennifer Smith

Jen Smith has been a sports writer at the Herald-Leader since 2000, covering everything from high school sports to auto racing to various University of Kentucky sports. A native of Louisville and a graduate of the University of Kentucky (much to the dismay of her Louisville graduate mother and Indiana graduate father), Jen now resides in downtown Lexington with her husband and two young sons. You can follow her on Twitter @jenheraldleader or send her an email at
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