Stoops on SEC teleconference

“Looking forward to getting out there this week and playing at home. Night game, homecoming. Our second game in 21 days, so for the first time in awhile we’re in pretty good shape physically. We’re as healthy as we’ve been in a few weeks now. Like I said, having the long stretch here with two games in 21 days I think helps us in that regard. Looking forward to the game.

“After viewing the Mississippi State game, I thought we did some good things on both sides of the ball. We gave ourselves some opportunities, and we need to execute. The same thing I’ve been saying for sometime: we need to execute in critical situations and we need to play smarter as a football team.

“Again, looking forward to Alabama State, a team that’s won six games straight and averaging a bunch of points. Very balanced, doing a very good job of offensively of running and throwing and keeping you off balanced defensively. Very aggressive, very well coached, very good team, and excited about the opportunity this week.”

WHAT IS UK’S QUARTERBACK HEALTH SITUATION? “Yeah, first time we’ve been healthy for awhile. Jalen should be ready. Like most SEC quarterbacks, a little banged up, a little bruised up and all that, but he should be healthy. The last game it was his ankle, and this week seems to be better, he’s a little dinged up on his shoulder, but he should be fine. He took all the reps yesterday on Monday’s practice — Monday and Tuesday, excuse me — and he seems to be ready to go. Max will be ready as well. Also gave some reps with Reese Phillips, as well.”

IS REESE PHILLIPS NO. 2 ON THE DEPTH CHART IF WHITLOW CAN’T GO? “Well, I’m not ready to make that decision yet. Maxwell has gotten quite a few reps, if you’ve followed us through spring and through summer, of course in game situations and all that. Right now, he’s our No. 2 on the depth chart, but we have been pushing a little bit with Reese and getting him ready and there’s a chance that he could see some action if Jalen was injured.”

SO SMITH IS NO. 1 AND PHILLIPS IS NO. 2 IF WHITLOW IS HURT? “That’s correct.”

ON RB ISAIAH CROWELL: “Yeah, I remember Isaiah when he was coming out of high school and of course I was at Florida State at the time and he was on campus and we were actively recruiting him. I remember him very well, just being such a great player out of high school and it’s fun to see him now, and him progressing and how good of a player he is. As you know, he’s an SEC-caliber running back, can play anywhere in the country. And I believe he has close to 900 yards already and he just has that great size and the ability to make you miss. So he’s got good speed, good change of direction, good vision. He’s strong. He’s a typical SEC back, so we’ll have our hands full with him. And I think in the style of offense that they’re in and them spreading it out and having the run/pass options, it gives them the opportunity to get some space and to beat some people in some one-on-one situations.”

HOW MUCH FILM DOES HE HAVE ON ALABAMA STATE? “We’ve got quite a — we’ve got all their film.”

SO EVERY GAME? “Yes. Yes.”

BECAUSE USUALLY WHEN A DIVISION I PLAYS A I-AA SCHOOL, FILM ISN’T AS EASY TO COME BY: “We got as much as we could, yep. Yep. Yep.”

IS IT MORE IMPORTANT TO HAVE TWO GUYS READY AT QUARTERBACK BECAUSE OF RASH OF INJURIES? “Yeah, it’s certainly seems like, surely in this league. There’s some big boys out there, very physical like we all know. It’s been troublesome to us. We were sorting through our quarterback situation most of the spring and most of the summer and into the fall here and then once we settled in, we felt like we were making some progress and really starting to click offensively with Jalen, then he goes down and gets injured and you go back to Max (Smith). I definitely think it’s a fair question and you need to have some depth at that position.”

ALABAMA STATE HAS HAD A LOT OF TRANSFERS COME IN, CAN YOU SEE IT IN TERMS OF PERSONNEL, TALENT? “Definitely. Yeah, you definitely see that. You and I talked about that with Isaiah Crowell and you see that across the board. You definitely notice it. Neal Brown, our offensive coordinator, knew one of their wide receivers, I believe transferred from Troy when he was there. Across the board, some very good, talented players and I’ve been very impressed. I thought they were a very well coached team as well.”

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 jsmith3@herald-leader.com.
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