Stoops, Eliot after Tuesday practice

“Just an OK practice today. I thought we were a little bit down here emotionally; physically, still beat up a little bit. Emotionally, maybe down a little bit. So just an average day. I thought we got ahead and started working a little bit on Mississippi State. That was good, get some looks for the coaches, get the players getting a little bit of an early start on Mississippi State, but I think we’ve still got a little work to do physically and emotionally getting back, getting our energy level back up again.”

ANY UPDATE ON JALEN WHITLOW? “Jalen? Uh, not much different. You know those type of injuries we start, we’ll know things about every three days or so I’ll give you a little update on it. But, so, not much.”

YOU SAID LAST NIGHT EARLY INDICATIONS ARE THAT HE’D LIKELY MISS AT LEAST A GAME? “That’s what I felt, but again, with ankles, I hate to say that because things change with ankles. People respond differently. So, like I said, I’ll give you a little nugget here every three or four days on that because that’s what I think that will be an indicator on that.”

A LITTLE DOWN EMOTIONALLY? WHAT ARE YOU SEEING TO MAKE YOU SAY THAT? “I just think, yesterday we came in and watched the tape. We didn’t practice. Today’s the first practice out and they’re not used to two days off and just took a little while to get going. It’s just a little — the energy wasn’t what I like it to be. We’ll gear that up as we get going here.”

WITH THE TIME OFF, DO YOU MAKE MAJOR CHANGES IF YOU WANTED TO OR DO YOU TWEAK? “Yeah. I think we’re constantly looking and growing our packages and seeing. You know, we did a good, you know, I wanted the coaches to really, we worked hard on Sunday and Monday to look at ourselves. Self scout ourselves and see what we’re doing good and what we’re doing bad and where we can improve. So I think there’s always room to tweak things and keep on improving on your package and do things better and at the midway point, see what we can do.”

ARE THEY WHERE THEY THOUGHT THEY’D BE AS A TEAM? “Like I said in the press conference after the game, I really did feel good, because I felt we were growing. This last game was tough, and I went through all that and the reasons why and the whole deal. So how we respond will determine how we do this second half. I think we’ve grown and I think we’ve gotten better in a lot of ways. I don’t think that showed last Saturday. So we need to put that together this week and next week and go out and play a great game against Mississippi State. That’s really our focus.”

HOW HE ADDRESSES THEM WHEN THEY COME OUT EMOTIONALLY DOWN: “I think they understand that. We don’t play this Saturday. These guys have been working hard, as you know. With that schedule that we played, these guys have been on edge now. We’ve been coaching and practicing hard for a good bit. When you play four Top 20 teams and physically, the last several teams we’re playing, the physcialness of those teams, that takes a lot of out of you. So I got to be cognizant of that. I wanted to get a good physical day in today and I just thought it was OK. I think what we’ll do is we’ll probably go a little lighter tomorrow like a typical Thursday and then have a real physical good practice on Thursday. I think right now after looking at that practice I’m concerned. I think it would be hard to (have) a very hard, physical practice three days in a row here. I don’t know if we got that in the tank right now.”


ON IF THE TEAM FEELS ANY BETTER FOR NOT HAVING TO PLAY A RANKED TEAM: “That doesn’t do anything as far as like rejuvenating them or anything. Maybe (it’s different for) media or something like that. As you know – and you’re very aware of it, you watch this league, and you go see Mississippi State – there’s no dropoff there. That’s a big, long, physical, good football team. And they’re champing at the bit to get a win, too. So for us, we just got to worry about ourselves. We got to get back and be ready to go. That’s our job this week. It’s kinda in between a full off week and not. As you know, we turn around and play on a Thursday, so it’s a little different than a complete bye week. We’ll be out here practicing this weekend.”

ON RICH BROOKS VISITING AND IF HE SPOKE TO BROOKS: “I did. I talked to Coach Brooks yesterday for a good while. I really enjoyed it. That’s the second time we got a chance to sit down and talk, and I love visiting with him and have a lot of respect for Coach Brooks and what he’s done, and I want him to feel welcome and be around here. He came to practice today and I asked him to talk to the team for a little bit, and it was great. It was a great message, and Coach was here and visited with the team for a few minutes, and I love that.”

ON HOW VALUABLE A RESOURCE BROOKS IS TO HIM, HAVING BEEN HERE AND STRUGGLED EARLY/TURNED IT AROUND: “It’s very good. It’s just – I really enjoy talking to him. He’s got a lot of experience and he really understands this place, and it does help. So it was good. He was actually telling me that – I forget what year it was – the year they took a thumpin’ (by) LSU and they had a bye week and they came back and won five of their next six. So that was good to hear. I’m not getting that far ahead of myself; I’m worried about one. I would just like to get one, but it was good to hear that. And I think that’s where he started turning the program. It just clicked and it turned and they had some good success from there. So it was good to hear those stories and just visit with him.”

ON WHETHER COACHES GET EMOTIONALLY DRAINED, TOO: “Coaches can’t afford to do that. It’s hard. I told you; I was very honest with you after the game: I was frustrated and down, but we don’t have any time for that. Come Sunday morning, after a win or a loss, you’ve gotta be ready to go. That’s where the consistency comes in. That’s what we ask of these players, and that’s what each of us coaches have to do each and every day. So coaches need reminded of that from time to time. But for the most part, our coaches have been very consistent.”

ON PREACHING ‘DON’T LOOK AT THE SCOREBOARD; KEEP WORKING’ TO YOUNG PLAYERS: “I really feel like – I think that’s very important. I think it is hard, because they, like everybody, they start getting frustrated. But I really felt like we were doing that, and then you take a step back when you play a team like Alabama. Shoot, they can do that to a lot of people. So the big message was: We’re not letting you off the hook for that; it’s not OK to not go play your best and not put the energy into it and prepare the right way and compete the way we can and execute and do the things we can do. And show them those mistakes, address it, and then move on. Because I felt like we were doing that for a good two, three, four weeks there.”



WHAT WAS THE MESSAGE TO THE PLAYERS AFTER THE ALABAMA GAME? “We just didn’t play good enough, could have played better. Disappointing performance, and moving on to next week, emphasizing what each player could have done better.

DID BUD DUPREE GETS SOME REPS TODAY? “Yeah, Bud got some reps, did some things. He’s moving around.”

IF THEY’RE ENCOURAGED IT DOES NOT APPEAR TO BE A LONG-TERM INJURY FOR DUPREE? Yeah. It’s good to see him out there at practice, moving around. It’s nice to have him out there.”

ON IF HE’S EVER SEEN SO MANY GUYS GO DOWN IN THE COURSE OF A GAME: Yeah, we were down a lot. But that’s part of it. It’s pretty typical in some of those physical games that guys get injured. So it’s just part of the game.”

ON WHAT THEY DID TO HELP PLAYERS WHEN EMOTIONS WERE DOWN AT THE START OF PRACTICE: Just called them a bunch names…No, just kidding, just kidding. No. We just tried to motivate them, try to create the energy out there for them.”

ON IF IT’S HARD AS A COACH TO KEEP THE SAME ENTHUSIAM: Coaching college football can be hard in a lot of ways, but you just keep plugging and just keep coming to work every day. You take the same approach that the players do, that you’ve got to get better every day as well. You just wake up in the morning and go to work, take it on with the right attitude.”

ON IF THEY CAN MAKE MAJOR CHANGES DURING THE BYE OR JUST HAVE TO TWEAK THINGS? “You can do whatever you want, but we’re just emphasizing on getting better every day.”

WHAT HAVE YOUR UNITS IMPROVED MOST THROUGHOUT THE SEASON: The whole defense, is that what you’re talking about? I didn’t know if you were talking about just the linebackers. That’s why I’m asking, because you said ‘the unit.’ But I think that until this last game, I thought we were getting better every week. We didn’t perform like we should, but I thought we were executing better, we were playing harder. I thought we were playing more physical until this last week.”

ON KHALID HENDERSON: Khalid or TraVaughan (Paschal)?”

KHALID: Sorry. I didn’t get much sleep last night. Khalid has gotten back in the swing of things. He’s playing better. He’s like the rest of the guys: The more reps, the better he gets. We’ve been able to see him improve, and we’re going to continue to get him in there.”

DO YOU THROW THE ALABAME TAPE AWAY OR DO YOU SHOW THEM EVERY PLAY TO LEARN FROM IT? “We showed them every play. Yep, showed them every play and tried to learn from it. That’s been our approach all season.”

IS THAT LIKE DEATH BY 1,000 PAPERCUTS GOING BACK AND WATCHING THAT TAPE? Yeah, it can be tough. It’s hard, but there’s a lot of learning moments there, so we take advantage of those.”

ON THE THREE PLAYERS PLAYING IN A CAST AND IF IT AFFECTS THEM: Yeah, it affects them. It’s nothing they can’t play with, but it does affect them.”

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
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Stoops, Eliot after Tuesday practice

  1. Pingback: BBL: Leftovers from Media Day Madness | John Clay's Sidelines