Stoops, Eliot after Tuesday’s practice


“Good work. Was good to be back on the field. Good Tuesday practice. We got some good work done. Felt like we got better today, so overall, pretty good day.”

ON IF THE PLAYERS APPROACHED THE LOSS THE WAY HE WANTED THEM TO PSYCHOLOGICALLY? “I believe we handled it the right way. Everybody was disappointed, but I see nobody sulking today. We’ve moved on. Once we graded that film yesterday, came out here and made the corrections, we moved on. It’s about preparing to win the next game. You’ve heard me talk about it. They’ve heard me talk about it. Win or lose, it’s on to the next game. I felt like we’re preparing well and guys had a good day.”

ON THE IDEA OF MOVING BUD DUPREE TO LINEBACKER: “Not right now. TraVaughn playing at linebacker, we need Bud at end. He’s playing very well and has the ability to play well and play much better even than he did. He’s a good player and talented player. We all are looking to get better, like I said.”

WHAT HAPPENED TO CHANGE OVERNIGHT AFTER HIS SECOND GAME AT FLORIDA STATE (WHEN OKLAHOMA’S OFFENSE LIT THEM UP): “Well, it’s a lot of details, but we’ve changed very much so philosophically from how I played things and just leverage and things like that. We changed the style of our defense.”

ON IF THAT WAS A MATTER OF MATCHING UP THE TALENT THERE TO THE SCHEME: “Yeah, just what we were trying to do and I felt like some things we were doing just wasn’t working and I just felt like we needed to change philosophically quickly, or it was going to be a long year.”

ON IF THAT KIND OF CHANGE GOING TO HAPPEN HERE: “I mean, maybe. Again, I don’t have any – I mean, there’s so many good defenses out there and good offenses out there. You can’t just all of the sudden go up there and reinvent the wheel come out magically a national championship team. You can just do the best you can to put your players in a position to play the best they can. Again, that’s no big deal, because we’re always doing that. We’re always looking at things that we can do better to put them in a position to win.”

IS IT SIMILAR TO FSU SITUATION IN THAT HE COULDN’T GET A SENSE OF WHAT HE HAD UNTIL THE GAME: “I guess so. But again, I’m not looking to scapegoat our players. Us coaches got to do the best job we can to put them in a position to win. With that being said, again, you always look to do what you can do to put them in a position to win. And if that means tweaking some things, changing things up, moving personnel, then you do the best you can.”

HOW TRAVAUGHN PASCHAL LOOKED WORKING FULL-TIME AT LINEBACKER: “He’ll be a good player. It’s not good in that you missed all those reps. With all the different pressure, everything you do, you’ve got to go back to square one with him and re-teach him. So that part of it’s not fun. So you got to see as much as he can handle and you got to keep on moving on with your package and where you’re at game-planning.”

ON HOW PASCHAL IS PICKING UP AT LINEBACKER: “Just the basics, he’s good. He’s good on his feet. He’s good. He can play linebacker. We learned that pretty quick when we tried him in camp, and then we were banged up at end and so you just couldn’t fully move him. You wanted to see what your other linebackers were gonna do, and after the game, again, we just made the decision to move on and play him at linebacker. And so we got to go through the growing pains with that a little bit right now as well.”

ON THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE FOR A GUY PLAYING THOSE TWO POSITIONS: “Just all the different things that you do and how fast the game moves. You know every team we play is a little bit different, and all the different motions, then you put in all the pressures. Things change quick. And that’s where – you guys saw it – that’s where we’re slow. That’s where our reaction wasn’t where it needed to be, when things change in games. We can’t rep every single thing hundreds of times and get the same looks to all the different calls. It’s impossible. You have to have a system built in, and they have to understand those things change very quickly. So that’s the biggest challenge with that.”

HOW MUCH DID IT HURT YOU WHEN KORY BROWN WENT OUT? “It did hurt a little bit. We put Blake McClain in a bad situation, so I’ll take that. That’s on us. You know, we put Blake in a bad situation and he had to do a lot of things that he wasn’t prepared to do.”

IS THAT THE REASON FOR THE NICKEL POSITION (BEING ADDED TO THE DEPTH CHART)? “Yeah. It’s the nickel, but we need to have a Sam and that’s where, again, I don’t want to keep on making excuses. That’s where we just didn’t have another Sam ready to go.”


IS THAT JOSH (FORREST)? “Yes. We have to play as many, get those guys ready as best we can.”


WHAT IS IT ABOUT HIM THAT SHOWED HE WAS GOING TO CONTRIBUTE IN SOME WAY? “It was nice to see a young guy be able to pick up — and I talk about that before — the poor kid, he played field corner; he played boundary corner; he played both safeties; he played nickel and he played back. For a freshman. And then he played Sam linebacker. That wasn’t. We need to keep on moving on with our package and what the guys, get them better, get everyone we’ve got better.”

HOW HAS KHALID HENDERSON RESPONDED TO DEMOTION? “He’s been good. He’s been good, yeah. He’ll play. We need him to continue to improve, to continue to play. And I’m not going to put that on him either. You know what I mean? It’s not like he’s the reason we didn’t play well defensively. There’s enough blame to go around for all of us.”

WERE YOU ABLE TO PICK OUT ANYTHING THAT WENT WELL END OF SECOND QUARTER TO THIRD QUARTER? THINGS YOU CAN USE TO TEACH? “There were some things that went well, of course. We did, yes. There are some concepts there we’re picking up on and all that. We went over that. But there were just guys trying to do too much and we need to be better with our technique and with our scheme and the whole deal.”

YOU MENTIONED GUYS LIKE ALEX MONTGOMERY BEING SICK AND MAX GODBY MAYBE SHOULD’VE PLAYED. ARE THERE OTHER PLAYERS YOU MAY WANT TO GIVE A SHOT FOR THE SECOND GAME? “For the most part, we played most of our guys. Maybe the rotation will be a little bit different, but our starters at wideout were able to handle roughly 75 percent of the game, maybe 80 percent of the game. So maybe if we can continue to develop and get some guys better, you might get a few more blows there. And the same thing defensively.”

ARE YOU GETTING CLOSER TO FIGURING OUT WHO YOU ARE? “Yes. I think we are. It’s a work in progress, as you know. And you know, that’s what we try to do. We have to see who we are again and we have to find the right game plan to go out and win. I’m never going to shy away from that. I’ve said that from day one. No matter who we’re playing, we need to find the right guys with the right scheme to put them in position to win and that’s what we’re always going to try to do.”

DID YOU HAVE TO GO AGAINST JAMEIS WINSTON ON SCOUT TEAM LAST YEAR AT FLORIDA STATE? “Yeah. He was. He was the scout team quarterback, poor guy. He took an earful from me here and there.”

SEEMS LIKE HE TURNED OUT OK, THOUGH? “He doesn’t worry about it. He’s got one of those guys, he just kind of smiles in a good way, not like, ‘Heck with you coach.’ It’s like, ‘I enjoy you yelling at me.’”

DID YOU GET A CHANCE TO WATCH FSU LAST NIGHT? “I did. I watched a little bit. Watched a few series and the couple series I saw, they looked very good, just like I expected.”



ON MAKING IMPROVEMENTS: “We’re just trying to get better, you know. We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel. Just trying to get better at what we’re doing, trying to get to where we need to be defensively.”

ON WHETHER IT WAS A COMMUNICATION ISSUE, A FUNDAMENTALS ISSUE, SOMETHING THEY CAN ZERO IN ON THIS WEEK: “No, yeah, well, we didn’t tackle well. We didn’t tackle very well at all. And then we just weren’t in the right spots. So that was disappointing. I thought we would be there. I thought we would be further along than we were, and we just weren’t, so we’ve gotta find a way to get them better.”

ON WHETHER ERRORS WERE MORE EXECUTION OR PRE-SNAP MISTAKES: “No, execution. For the most part, I think we were lined up. We just – we didn’t execute.”

ON GUYS FREELANCING IN WEEK 1: “I think part of the problem was the pressure. We didn’t get guys to respond the right way. So we’ve just gotta coach them and let that be a learning lesson for them, that every day you’ve gotta do your job, every play you’ve gotta do your job.”

ON THAT SECOND GAME AT FSU WITH STOOPS, GETTING LIT UP BY OKLAHOMA THEN REINVENTING THE DEFENSE OVERNIGHT: “Well, you know what? It was a good wakeup call for our defense at that time. We went back to the drawing board and made sure we were doing every  little thing right, and so did our players. So they looked at that game and realized they weren’t the players they thought they were. So as a whole unit, coaches and players, after that game, we really recommitted ourselves to doing things right.”

ON HOPING THIS IS SIMILAR: “I hope so. I hope so.”

ON DOING SOME REINVENTING HERE: “We’re changing some things, but not a whole lot of things. Just trying to do what we’re doing better.”

DID THEY NEED PASCHAL’S SIZE AT LINEBACKER OR MOVED HIM FOR A DIFFERENT REASON? “TraVaughn has a lot of skills, he does. He has good size and he’s fast. He’s earned the right to be one of the top 11 players on our team, so that was a big part of moving him to linebacker.”

IF IT’S TOUGH TO KNOW WHAT A KID WILL DO WHEN THE LIGHTS COME ON UNTIL YOU PLAY A GAME? “It is. You’re right. It’s tough because you can’t recreate that environment in practice. As much as you try, you can’t truly create that environment in practice, especially if you have player that have never been there too. It helps sometimes if you have some players that have been in that game atmosphere.”

WILL SIZE OF DEFENSIVE LINE MAYBE BE AN ADVANTAGE AGAINST MIAMI (OHIO), WHICH IS WHAT THEIR COACH SAID? Well, you know, our scheme is fit for our D-linemen to do their job and be successful, so we’re just going to continue to run our scheme.”

WHAT WORRIES HIM ABOUT MIAMI? They run an option offense, which you don’t see that a lot, so you’ve got to make sure you’re assignment sound and kids are reading their keys and doing their job and executing.”

WHAT MCCLAIN SHOWED IN CAMP TO PROVE HE WAS GOING TO BE AN EARLY CONTRIBUTOR: Blake is an extremely hard worker. He’s very focused, picks up things quick. He’s tough. He’s athletic. So, like TraVaughn we knew that he was going to be one of our best 11, so we had to find a spot for him. Through training camp we worked to find that spot for him.”

IF MCCLAIN HAS IMPROVED AFTER FOCUSING ON ONE POSITION? Yes. He’s getting better every day. He’s getting better every day.”

IF MOVING DUPREE TO LINEBACKER DOWN THE ROAD IS A VIABLE OPTION? “We have some 3-4 packages, and he’s an outside backer in our 3-4 packages. So we may call those schemes more often or we may not, but we definitely have that package, and he is an outside linebacker in that package.”

ANY GUYS WHO STUCK OUT FOR PLAYING WELL SATURDAY: “Uh. That’s tough. It’s tough to say that. I think that some guys showed good leadership, but it’s tough to say that there were guys that played winning football.”

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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