Stoops comments after first practice

OPENING STATEMENT: “Good first practice. Very encouraged, just what we suspected: the guys did a lot of work in the summer. They’re more explosive, they’re in better shape; it’s nice to have more depth. We’re a better football team than when we left spring, so I’m encouraged. We did some really good things; we look a lot better. The biggest thing is they’ve had a really good attitude the past two days. That’s been evident. That’s the biggest thing. If we can be consistent with that attitude, then we have a chance to get better and improve this football team.”

“A couple things I want to go over Dyshawn Mobley was not out there today. You’ll see him. He’ll be back probably the middle of the month, about the 15th of August we expect him back. He had a surgery a couple of weeks ago, I’m not even sure of the exact date now. He’ll be back about August 15th. He had a hernia that he had fixed. He should be fine. Regie Meant will be fine. He just has a simple cut, an abrasion. You may have seen him with something on his hand; that got infected. They just need to take care of that infection and he’ll be back out here soon. Other than that, it looked like I think we were healthy out there for the first practice.”

ANY ACADEMIC CASUALTIES OR ARE ALL GRADES IN AND CLEARED? “Yeah. No. We do have a few that we’re working through right now. We’ll see how that goes.”

ARE THERE ANY POSITION CHANGES SINCE THE SPRING? “Nothing significant. Between Sam and Will (linebacker), but nothing major.”

ARE YOU STAYING IN THE DORMS, ARE PLAYERS STAYING IN DORMS DURING CAMP THIS YEAR? “We’re staying in our normal housing. It gives an opportunity for those guys to keep a little bit more money in their pocket right now and it saves us from moving two or three times. With the way school starts here so early, you’d only be in there — I want to say they were only going to let us stay in there for seven days and it’s not even worth the hassle.”

NICE TO SLEEP IN THEIR OWN BEDS, ETC.? “It is. We’ll see how that works. There’s always good and bad in everything, hopefully. We’ll be working them quite hard, so they’ll need to get home and get their rest and all that.”

ADDED ANOTHER JUNIOR COLLEGE WIDE RECEIVER (JOEY HERRICK?): “We’ve been working on him as a preferred walk-on and got him here and got him going. We’ll see what he can do.”

KINKS IN SPRING AS FAR AS NORMAL FLOW OF PRACTICE? “Practice was much more efficient for a first day today and today was even different from what we did in the spring because of depth. With the two-spot in certain drills and getting more plays in, I thought the organization and the structure went very smoothly for the first day and for our first time two spotting some drills.”

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT EACH QUARTEBRACK, WHAT ARE YOU SEEING? “They all have their strengths. Obviously, Jalen can run the ball and brings that dimension. Max has done some very good things on the field, played in some games and looked very good at times. He has some experience in some good games and things like that. With Towles, I mean, he’s a very big guy with a big arm. Those are just a few things off the top of my head, but they all look better right now. They look better in this first day from just watching it. We had two drills going on – we had a lot of things going on today – but from what I’ve seen, we’re much-improved.”

ON WHETHER, WITH FEWER RECEIVERS AND A FAST PACE, HE WORRIES ABOUT OVERUSE INJURIES: “Yeah, we are. We are. Especially with the tempo the way we go offensively, we’ve gotta watch that a little bit with the volume of what we do with these wideouts. First day, the guys I think are very anxious to get out there as well. I thought we were very good, but you could tell as practice went on, you could see some things, looked like some guys were getting ready to cramp up a little bit and all that. Because we go at a pretty high clip.”

ON THE IMPORTANCE OF GETTING JUCO RECEIVER JAVESS BLUE QUALIFIED AND HERE THIS FALL: “It was very important to get Javess in here. He looked very good. He’s going to help us. To what extent, we’ll see. But I thought just seeing him, without being here throughout the summer and not knowing much about the offense and all that, just seeing him move around and seeing him catch the ball, he looked very smooth and looked like he’s going to help us – first impression.”

ON HOW MANY PRACTICES IN SHORTS BEFORE PADS: “Two and then you go shells and then full in the fifth. Much like today, we’ll go same schedule tomorrow, no pads.”

ON WHETHER GIVING GUYS SUNDAYS AND THURSDAYS OFF IS A PRODUCT OF ERIC KOREM’S ‘HIGH PERFORMANCE’ PROGRAM: “We’re not going completely off on either of those days. We’ll make decisions as we go, but with the way it is, where we have some dips or where we have some lighter loads, we’ll see how light we go on those. We’ll see how much we can handle.”

ON HOW TAXING THESE PRACTICES CAN BE ON THE O-LINEMEN, GIVEN NOT A TON OF GUYS ANDMOVING AT A FAST PACE: “It is and it will be taxing on them. But until they start sprinting 30 yards and touching the ball like the defensive guys do (grinning) … that’s what I told them in the meeting: Until you get those guys to sprint over there and tag off on the ball, then it’s not the same as playing defense (laughing). Nah, they’re fine. They know that. But it’s still a lot of work. Those guys have a lot of work. We have some big guys that are pushing on them all the time and they’re in the trenches fighting all the time.

“It’s taxing on them as well, but it’s just a little different conditioning (than defense). But that’s why we do some of the things we do. That’s why we train, Coach Korem and the way he does things, because we look at how they need to train and it does help them. So maybe they’re out here pushing on things a little harder rather than running sprints and things like that. So it does help.”

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 jsmith3@herald-leader.com.
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