Mark Stoops after practice No. 2


OPENING STAMENT: “Another good day. A good day. Just a business-like day today, not as much excitement, but I thought there was still very good energy and concentrating. Obviously Day 2 of install, so a few mistakes here and there, but we’re still better, improved.”

ON ANY CAMP INJURIES YET: “Nothing. Nothing yet, no.”

ON ANYONE STICKING OUT OR IF IT’S TOO EARLY: “Yeah, it really is. But I tell you, some of the young guys are sticking out. Alex Montgomery jumped out at me today, made a couple (plays). Ryan Timmons jumped out at me today, made a couple nice plays. Jason Hatcher’s doing some really nice things. Those are some young guys that are jumping out. And the older guys, again, they’re all better, much better than they were in the spring. So it’s been good. We’re getting a lot of reps, getting a lot of work in, so it’s good for those guys. We get a little bit watered down; we’re going four groups with a lot of reps, so it’s starting to take a toll on some of these guys.”

ON QB MAX SMITH’S SHOULDER: “Yeah, we are limiting his number of throws as well. He seems to be doing just fine so far. Absolutely we worry about injury. Just like last year, we know what can happen here with injuries, especially with quarterbacks, so we’ve gotta have a lot of guys ready. Again, right now it seems to be fine, but we’re being a little bit cautious with him and limiting some of his throws.”

ON WHETHER THERE WILL BE A NARROWING-DOWN OF THE QBS, FROM THREE TO TWO AND THEN ONE: “Yeah, I think we need to, if One and Two separate themselves from Three, then of course we need to start doing that as we get closer to game day.”

ON THE TEMPO, WHETHER GUYS GOT HOW FAST THEY NEED TO PRACTICE FROM SPRING: “It did (carry over). It looks like they worked on that through the summer as well, because our operation is still much better right now than it was in Practice 15 in the spring. So it’s been very good. We had a few more mix-ups today than we did yesterday because of more install and just the tempo of practice, how many reps we’re getting and guys starting to wear down a little bit. But yes, they’re impressing me with how fast they’re going. I’m sure if you ask Neal, it’s probably not fast enough, but it’s still going at a pretty good clip.”

OLDER GUYS AND LEADERSHIP? “They’ve been very good. I haven’t seen anybody like jump up and grab somebody and straighten them out, but we haven’t needed that. But I just see more guys very involved, more guys up in the front of the meetings, much more attentive. Their confidence is up and it just seems like everybody is trying to take care of their business.”

PHILOSOPHY BEHIND GOING TO EVENING PRACTICES? IS THEIR ENERGY LEVEL BETTER? “I think so. I believe so. I just think in the evenings, it will give them a little bit of a chance to sleep in the morning. If you’re going and getting them up — I don’t know what time they were getting them up last year — but if you’re getting them up at 5:30, 6 in the morning and all that. You could say what you want, but they’re going to be up studying and social life. You know they are college students. I seriously doubt they’re going to go to bed at 9:30 like they should if you’re going that early. So I just think it gives coach prep time during the day, lets them get at least a little bit more sleep, a little bit more rest and just what I’m comfortable with.”

ON THE PROCESS, THE IDEA OF THE PROCESS: “I’m going to stop using catchphrases. I don’t know what to – I’m just being me. So I’m going to stop saying all those things. We’re just trying to get better every day. Is that a simple way of putting it? One day at a time. That’s just it. It’s very complicated what we have to do. I think most of y’all know it takes an awful lot to be successful in football. It takes a lot of people, it takes a lot of good coaches. It takes great support from … . It takes a lot of things, and that doesn’t happen overnight. The only thing we can control is getting better out there today, and whatever you want to call that, we need to improve. Every time we get an opportunity to improve, we need to improve. We can’t afford to waste reps. We can’t afford to be lackluster and just going out there wandering around wasting reps. And I saw a little bit of that again today. We’re not out of the woods. I mean, I’m optimistic. I want to be optimistic and I want us to go about our business and when they’re doing good, I’ll tell them. When they’re doing bad, we’ll tell them. I saw some of that milling around today and I’m not going to tolerate it.”

ON HOW DEFENSIVE ENDS BESIDES HATCHER HAVE LOOKED: “On how defensive ends besides Hatcher have looked:

They look really good. Bud’s looked very good, Za’Darius has looked very good. Jason, I just mentioned some of the younger guys that jumped out at me. They’ve done a nice job.”

ON OFFENSIVE LINE HANDLING SWITCHING UP REPS: “They’re doing a good job. We’re not four deep in the O-line here in this 105, and so they’ve got to move around some positions and take quite a few reps. But we can use them, and they’re doing a nice job.

IS ZACH WEST GETTING WORK AT CENTER? “He is. He’s moving around a little bit. … I’m not even exactly sure the exact number of (reps), but he is moving down and doing a nice job.”

HIS TAKE ON JOHNNY MANZIEL SITUATION: “No, I don’t at all. I don’t. I haven’t seen much news about it, to be honest with you. We got a lot to do, as you can imagine.”

ON J.D. HARMON? “Some people asked me about some other (returning) guys. It doesn’t look like J.D.’s going to be with us, J.D. Harmon. It does not look like he’s going to be with us. If I know any more or anything like that about other guys, I’ll let you know. But it does not look like J.D. will be with us.”


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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