Stoops discusses QB situation in teleconference

“Looking forward to going down to South Carolina. It’ll be a real challenge for us to play an outstanding football team on the road, our first SEC road game, playing a team, coach that I have a lot of respect for, Coach Spurrier. An extremely well-coached team on both sides of the ball, very talented, very balanced on offense and great pass rushers on defense, so it’ll be a real challenge for us.”

IMPORTANCE OF AVERY WILLIAMSON AND HOW MANY TACKLES HE MAKES, WHETHER THERE’S ANY CONCERN ABOUT WEAR AND TEAR LIKE A RUNNING BACK: “Um, not quite as much, I don’t think , as a running back. The thing about Avery is he has shown to be very durable since we’ve been here. He’s been an outstanding player here for a few years now. So Avery’s been – he’s been very consistent. He’s been a consistent leader off the field. On the field, he’s a very good player. I think he’s one of those players who’s very smart, very instinctual. So I’ve been very pleased with Avery in all ways. No, I don’t think it’s quite the same as a running back, but we need to keep him healthy, that’s for sure. He’s one of our best players and we need him on the field.”

USC RUNNING BACK MIKE DAVIS: “He’s just a very good football player. I remember when he was coming out of high school and Dameyune Craig (who is now an assistant) at Auburn was recruiting him to Florida State, and I remember watching him on film then and we were all very impressed with him. So to see him now and see him running at South Carolina, I’m very impressed. I just think he’s one of those backs that has great vision; he’s very powerful. He’s got it all. So I really like him. He’s been very productive, a bunch of yards, and it’s good to see. He’s going to be a challenge. But I don’t know, he’s just got – what is, 210, 215 pounds? He may not be that tall, but he’s a load. He’s got very good balance and very good vision, so he’s tough to bring down. Have a lot of respect for Mike.”

ON WHETHER THE (UNNAMED) QB WHO TOOK MORE REPS YESTERDAY RESPONDED ACCORDINGLY: “You know what? No. To be honest with you, I’m a little bit disappointed. We gave one of the guys more reps yesterday and he really didn’t have a great practice. So to be honest with you, it’s very frustrating. We’ve got to make a decision, but like I said before, I’m not going to panic and just name one just because we’re all frustrated and we’re not getting consistent play out of the quarterbacks. We need to find the right one. And I’m not very happy. I don’t think we’ve been very consistent there. It’s been odd. Last week, one of our quarterbacks looked lights-out (in practice), threw the ball as good as he has since we’ve been here, and goes in the game and doesn’t play as well as he should. Now, we planned on going with one guy yesterday and he goes out and just has a very average to below-average practice. So overall, just not very pleased.

ON WHAT NOW: “We’re going to evaluate it again today and see where we’re at. I think maybe we’ll go 50/50 and make a decision here either tonight or tomorrow.”

ON UK’S LAST TRIP TO USC, A 54-3 LOSS, AND WHETHER HE THINKS IF A COUPLE THINGS GO WRONG THIS TEAM WILL BE ABLE TO PREVENT A TOTAL MELTDOWN: “Yeah, that’s a good question. I happen to be flipping through the media guide that the send me here before each week, the game notes and all that. I’m flipping through, kind of right in front of me, I happen to be sitting here doodling as I’m on this call here, looking down and I see the last time we went down there to South Carolina was not a very good outcome and the yardage was – wow, that was tough. So, yeah, we’ve got to avoid that.

“You can tell with South Carolina playing at home, just like with most teams, they have great support. I’ve never been there. From everything I’ve heard, it’s an unbelievable venue. You can tell the place is a great atmosphere and the players are excited to play at home and you can tell they could get out to some fast starts. With a guy like Coach Spurrier calling the plays and the talent he has around him, they could get out ahead of you in a real hurry. So I think it will be a challenge for us and it’s something that we need to show some mental toughness and not let the game get out of hand, because I know they’re capable of it. They’re a very good team on all sides of the ball. So we’re going to have our hands full and it is something that we need to address, and we’ll see how much our team has matured.”

ON THE TWO USC QBS CHANGING PREP: “Not too much to be honest with you. You can see their offense – both quarterbacks have played very good football, so I don’t think it changes the preparation too much.”

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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