Stoops, Brown after UK scrimmage


“Good scrimmage. I thought we did some good things. It’s always a little bit new for me to be the head coach, because one side or the other has to do good and one side has to do bad. Really today, I’d say the defense had the upper hand. The defense had the better day, had some critical turnovers. The offense did some really good things, had some really good drives early, and I believe we got one in or so and then a couple field goals. Maybe two scores in early there. But overall, the defense got some good pressure, got some good turnovers and once we got in all the situational parts of the scrimmage, the defense had the upper hand (today).”

ON HOW TODAY WILL HELP DECIDE QUARTBACK BATTLE? “It’ll be very important today. But also all the work that went into the spring and all through the two-a-days so far will also go into consideration.”

ON IDEA OF NOT NAMING QB PUBLICALLY?” I’m not sure. We’re gonna sit down here today and we’ll go through it as a staff and see where we’re at. And if we make any decisions, we’ll let you know. But we’re gonna work through some of that for sure this week.”

IS A TEAM NAMING A QB USEFUL FOR THE OPPONENT? “Probably not too much, because I’m sure they’re working for both – all three – of the quarterbacks, or both styles, if you will. If they think, with some of the quarterbacks being able to run the ball, you know what I mean?”

CHALLENGING THE DEFENSE HAS HELPED IMPROVE PLAY: “Yeah, when we’ve – yeah. We’ve played a little bit better. We played a little bit better fundamentally. We played a little bit better up front. We were able to incorporate a few more wrinkles within the defense. But some of that was just poor execution by the offense. We had some dropped passes show up again today, which we haven’t seen too much of through camp, so that hurt, and some turnovers.”

ON THE TEMPO: “Ehh. It was good at times, and overall it’s probably not where we need it to be.”

WHO CAUGHT HIS EYE ON DEFENSE: “Uhh. No. I really don’t. Overall. I think the offense, we had some missed tackles and we had some big plays early, and that was very alarming. And then we started settling in and playing good team defense. Because if you have a bunch of guys in the right position and you’re making them execute, you can make it a lot more difficult on the offense. I think that’s what I noticed as the scrimmage went on. Guys were where they’re supposed to be. We were a little bit more solid up front. We were making cleaner tackles. And the defense was staying on the right side of the chains. Early, they were getting five, six or breaking a big run and (the defense) started to settle in a little bit as the scrimmage went on.”

ON THE TURNOVERS? “There was a couple of picks that was critical. Two or three picks.”

WAS HE HAPPY WITH HOW PLAYERS RESPONDED FROM FRIDAY’S PRACTICE? “Yeah. I think our players mean well and they care. I think we to continue got develop an attitude on both sides of the ball and special teams. I think I see some guys that are trying to make plays, that mean right, that just don’t have the attitude that we need right now.”

TEAM STARTING TO REFLECT COACH’S PERSONALITY? “I don’t know about that. I think they care. I want us to play with more of an attitude, and more of a care-free attitude. I mean if we’re going to make a mistake, make it going fast. And we’ve got to play with some confidence, and we’ve got to let it rip. And we’re not overreaching them that way. I can promise you that. We’re ready for it, and we’re just seeing some guys that are a little bit timid, a little bit quiet and we need them to play with more of an attitude and play with more confidence.”

DID NATE WILLIS PLAY A LOT? He did. He did. Yeah. He did. Yeah, he played quite a bit, and he did some good things.”

GEORGIA PREP PLAYER WHO PASSD AWAY: “No. I did not. I did not. That’s news. We came in early and we went to work. I did not hear about anything, so whoever that is, that’s awfully sad to hear. I don’t even know who you’re talking about, but I’ll go investigate that.”

REACTION TO PLAYING FIVE OF TOP 10 TEAMS IN ASSOCIATED PRESS POLL OUT TODAY: Yeah…Like I said before, that’s five great opportunities.” (Laughs)

REACHED A POINT IN QUARTERBACK DECISION WHERE WHAT’S HAPPENING NOW IS REINFORCING HOW THEY’RE LEANING OR ARE THINGS STILL IN FLUX? Well, every time you start thinking you’re getting closer to making a decision, maybe some things go good or go bad with the other guys. I think we’ve been good an patient. Like I said, it’s not at a point where we’re getting antsy about it, but we’ll look at all the information, all the data and see if we have some player decisions. Then we can let them know and move forward.”

ANY OTHER POSITION BATTLES, LIKE CENTER, GETTING CLOSER TO BEING RESOLVED? Not really. There’s so many…We need so much depth. We need…You know right now there’s so many guys just learning how to play and learning how to play within our system that we need to develop everybody.”

HAVE OFFICIALS AT PRACTICE TOLD HIM THEY WERE OK WITH PRE-SNAP ISSUES? We’ve had officials at…yeah…as many as we can get them at. And we’ve had them there, quite a few. Yeah, they thought, the SEC officials that were at our practice the other day thought that we were pretty clean. It is a point of emphasis for them this year to make sure that you’re clean and you’re set with the tempo offenses. So the operation and all that was important to see all that today. We had a few pre-snap penalties today, so we need to get that cleaned up.”

IF OFFICIALS HAVE GONE OVER TARGETING RULES? “Yes. They did. Yeah. We did. We watched a video with the SEC, come in and show us a video and show us what they’re looking for, talk to the staff and talk to the team.”



“We started off quickly today, came out of the gates, moved the ball well, thought we did some really good things with the first group and the second group. Then as the scrimmage went on, defense probably got after us. Didn’t think we handled some of the situations — two-minute, red zone — I didn’t think we handled those situations as well as we needed to.”

ANY INDIVIDUAL STANDOUTS? “I thought Jojo Kemp looked good early. I thought he made some plays early, which was encouraging. Our first group offensive linemen, we blocked pretty well in the run game, especially early in the scrimmage. We didn’t do as well later, but especially early in the scrimmage, thought we did some good things running the football.”

WHAT ABOUT QUARTERBACKS? “They had their highs and lows. It’s really hard to say. I guess whenever I see ya’ll next, Monday or Tuesday, whatever day it is, I’ll be able to give you a little bit better feedback. Being down here on field the level, sometimes you can’t see. We had some drops. So they made some better throws than what I thought because we were dropping the ball some later in the scrimmage.”

WAS DEFENSE CHALLENGING YOUR RECEIVERS? “Nah. I mean, they’re doing a good job. I thought the corners were doing a good job, but we just flat dropped the ball, too.”

ON GETTING CLOSE ON QUARTERBACK, HAVE YOU NOT BEEN ABLT TO CONSISTENTLY FEEL GOOD ABOUT ONE GUY? “There’s some ebb and flow to it. There’s some ebb and flow to it. They’re all doing some positive things. I think Reese Phillips probably had as good a day today as anybody. But we’re getting closer to a decision. Obviously, this is one of the things that will go into the equation, along with all the spring. We’ve got to get centered on who we are as an offensive team. We’ve got to figure out who our playmakers are at wideout because I didn’t really feel like we had anyone step up at wideout today.”

MORE OF AN EDGE? “No question. I thought both sides today — I don’t want to speak for the defense — but I thought our energy level was low. You can make an excuse and say, ‘OK, we’re two weeks into camp.’ But nobody cares. Everybody else that’s playing college football is at the same point that we are. And I thought for an opportunity — this is the second time we came in the stadium — and I didn’t think offensively, overall, we performed well. This is as close to game-like as we’re going to get until we play down at Western, um Nashville.”

DROPPED PASSES BEEN A CAMP PROBLEM LIKE THEY WERE IN SPRING? “No, not as much. All spring they were. I think I was honest with you about that. All spring they were an issue. Haven’t been that way, maybe it was you all (media). That open practice — but y’all weren’t in there today so I can’t blame you all. The open practice we had in here, we didn’t play well in here. And then today, we didn’t catch it very well. It was an epidemic in the spring and I thought we’d kind of been over that, but then we took a step back today.”


YOU WERE PLEASED WITH FIRST STRING OFFENSIVE LINE, WAS ZACH WEST GETTING REPS AT CENTER? “No. We um. Max Godby got most of the first-team reps today at center. Kind of rotated Zach West and Teven Eatmon there at left guard.”

ON INTERCEPTIONS? “Not very good throws. Not very good throws. I think we threw four interceptions. I think one of them, the wideout had a chance to make a play. The other three probably, I know, they were bad throws.”

ON TEAM CONCEPT, PICKING UP SCHEME, WHERE ARE YOU ON THAT? “That’s a good point, John. I think we’re picking it up. We’re better than we were in the spring. I don’t want to be doom and gloom because we’re a lot better than we were in the spring. I think we’re picking it up. What we’ve got now is we’ve got everything we can do in, now we’ve got to do is figure out what we’re good at. It’s really from today on, we’ve got to figure out what we’re good at and who our best players are and then kind of get that focused in as we get into Western prep.”

IS IT DISAPPOINTING YOU DIDN’T GET GREAT EFFORT ON SUCH AN IMPORTANT DAY? “I don’t know. I think it’s hard to see until you watch the video. There’s going to be some wideouts that played better than I thought they did. And there’s going to be some guys that made movements that maybe I didn’t see, just for whatever reason – ball didn’t get thrown their way or whatever it might be. But no, I don’t think so. We played well early. We really came out of the gates, and that’s been one of our focal points the last three or four days is really starting well. We started well, we just got to get the end of it. And to be honest, it’s give-and-take. It’s give-and-take. We’ve had some upper hand some days, the defense has had some upper hand a few other days. If one side’s winning all the time, you start getting worried.”

ON RUNNING BACKS: “They were good. Ray didn’t play much. I think John George needs to be more consistent. Like I said, Jojo was having a nice day. Rolled his ankle a little bit. Nothing major, but didn’t get to finish the scrimmage. I’m trying to think who else. Mobley. Dyshawn ran hard. I don’t know what his overall stats were, but he ran hard. Didn’t put the ball on the ground. Coming off that (injury), this being his first full week, I thought he did some nice thing.”

WHY DIDN’T SANDERS PLAY MUCH? “We just didn’t get him a whole lot of carries. He’s got a lot of carries in camp so far, and we kinda got a good feel for what he can do. No, he’s not hurt.”

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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