Kentucky’s Stoops, Eliot preview Vanderbilt

MARK STOOPS

“Low number of you (media) in here today, there’s a basketball game. (Chuckles). Good. So …”

DONE ANYTHING SPECIAL TO TRY TO INCREASE THE NUMBER OF INTERCEPTIONS YOU HAVE? “Nah. Just doing. Just do what we do. Obviously, we haven’t even gotten our hands on many lately. So it’s not even been a matter of catching them or anything like that, just constantly mixing up what we’re doing and trying to get some turnovers, get some interceptions.”

FLORIDA STATE LEADS NATION IN INTERCEPTIONS. IS IT JUST A MATTER OF GETTING GUYS IN HERE WHO CAN MAKE THOSE PLAYS? “Well, that’s a big part of it, it is. Just like I said with Missouri last week, the reason why, one of the reasons why they had 17 is because they’re scoring a boatload of points and a lot of it is the same. At Florida State, they have great players and a great scheme and there are a lot of playmakers out there with great pressure up front, so it’s the whole package.”

SEEMS LIKE SPIRITS WERE UP: “Yeah, they were good. They were very good. We had a good day. The guys’ spirits were real good and I’m encouraged by that and we’re just working to get better.”

ANYTHING VANDY DOES SPECIFICALLY TO CAUSE DIFFICULTIES: “They’re just, they’re very sound at what they do. Offensively, they do a variety of some trick plays or unique, gimmicky plays that you have to be locked in on. They’ll do a variety of those in each game. Quarterback outs and motion the quarterbacks out, just different sets that are a little bit unique, unbalanced sets, all sort of things. We’ll have to be sharp and all that.”

SEEING SO MANY NEW TEAMS IN SEC THIS YEAR FOR YOUR STAFF. WILL YOU FEEL BETTER PREPARED GOING FORWARD? “I think so. Anytime you’re more familiar with teams, I think it helps. And so I would think that would help as we go on. That’s, you know, it comes down to playmaking and putting guys in a position to make plays.”

GETTING CALLS INTO DEFENSE DURING GAME? ON-FIELD COMMUNICATION? “We signal them right from our sideline, so they don’t.”

ARE THE TWO OR THREE DIFFERENT GUYS SIGNALLING FOR POSITION GROUPS OR DECOYS? “There’s a decoy but we usually try to wait a little while until the offense has their signal in and then we signal ours defensively. But we don’t have to huddle up or anything. Everybody should look to the sideline and get the signal.”

WITH BOWL GAME OUT OF REACH, DO YOU GIVE YOUNGER GUYS MORE REPS? “We try to bring them along. We do. We’re always practicing to win the game and the gameplan to win the game and get our guys ready to go, but as the season goes on, we’ve got injuries and guys worn down and things like that, so, yes, I think you try to continue to develop those young guys, in particular because we don’t have the bowl practices.”

YOU MENTIONED YOU MIGHT BE SHORT AT CORNERBACK YESTERDAY: “We were better today than I thought we’d be. So that was a good sign.”

IS FRED TILLER PRACTICING? “Yeah, Fred’s back.”

ON TRAVAUGHN PASHCAL: “He played one of his better games. He definitely played his best game since we’ve been here last Saturday and that was good to see. Again, it was a little bit different package and how we used him and I think that suits his ability.”

GETTING USED TO EARLY STARTS? “Yeah, getting used to them now.”

DO YOU PREFER THEM? “On the road, I prefer to go early then go in the middle of the night and get home. That just puts you behind for the next week and you’re waiting around all day for the games to start, so yeah, I do on the road prefer to go in the morning.”

FRESHMEN TWEETED OUT ABOUT NOT SEEING SNOW. HAVE THEY MADE THE ADJUSTMENTS? “Yeah, they’ve been fine so far. Hasn’t been too cold yet, so I heard Jojo say that. We’ve got to go out and help him get some sweatshirts and coats, I guess. They’re getting acclimated.”

AS A GUY FROM NORTHERN OHIO, YOU’RE PRETTY COMFORTABLE WITH THE SNOW? “Yeah. Yeah. I’ve been out of it for a long time. Blood thins out pretty quick, but I get used to it in a hurry. It’s not a problem.”

 

D.J. ELIOT

HOW WAS IT TODAY IN THE INDOOR FACILITY? “You know, I thought we had a good practice today. The guys were into it. We practiced hard. We were focused. We flew around and did some good things.”

HAPPY WITH TRAVAUGHN PASCHAL’S PLAY? HE WAS HONORED TODAY. HOW HAS HE BEEN DOING? “Who honored him?”

HONORABLE MENTION … (Tony Neely interjects) “Honorable mention national linebackers association”

(Eliot): “Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. I thought you meant something else. No, I knew about that. Yes. I thought he played very well in the game. He did a good job. He made some great tackles for a loss for us in some key situations. He played assignment sound. He played with great effort. We were really happy with his play.”

MORE TACKLES FOR LOSS IN HIS CAREER, CHANGE SCHEME OR IS IT HIM GETTING MORE COMFORTABLE IN THIS SYSTEM? “No, we did. He was playing outside backer for us in the last game, more than he was playing inside backer. So, you know, he’d been inside backer for us in a lot of the games and then in this one, we had him in at outside backer.”

IS THAT A MISSOURI THING OR WILL HE GO BACK OUTSIDE? “Um, definitely wanted to use him for that opponent, but we may use him in the future there. He’s very versatile.”

ON VANDERBILT’S OFFENSE AND TROUBLES IT CAUSES: “Vandy is a very multiple offense. They’re very good at what they do. Their team plays hard; they don’t make mistakes. They can attack you in a lot of different ways, so you have to be very sound on defense.”

ON VANDY RUNNING GIMMICK TYPE PLAYS. DOES IT MAKE THEM TOUGHER TO PREPARE FOR: “Definitely, definitely. You’ve got to be really sound because they can attack you in a lot of different ways. Their players, like I said, are very smart and very good at execution.”

ON VANDERBILT WR JORDAN MATTHEWS: “He’s fantastic. The guy runs great routes; he’s got good speed, he’s got excellent ball skills. There’s a reason why he’s the top receiver in the SEC. That guy is a very, very skilled player.”

AFTER SEEING THOSE WR FOR MISSOURI, HOW IS MATTHEWS, DIFFERENT, BETTER? “I think that Jordan, just his being a veteran, I think the guy just understands the game so well and understands body position and understands when to jump for the ball and how to run routes. I just think he’s a very skilled receiver.”

WHEN YOU WERE IN NASHVILLE EARLIER THIS SEASON, WKU’S OFFENSIVE LINE HANDLED YOUR DEFENSIVE LINE. HOW ARE YOU BETTER THERE NOW? “I feel good. We’ve come a long way since then. I think our d-line is playing very well. I think they had their best game last week. And we’re excited about the challenge.”

VANDERBILT HAS DOMINATED UK THE LAST TWO SEASONS, IS IT TOUGH TO CONVINCE PLAYERS THEY CAN STAY WITH VANDY NOW? DO YOU EVEN TALK ABOUT THAT? “We don’t really harp on that. We just talk about us and this week and our opponent this week. We don’t talk about the past much and we definitely don’t talk about the future.”

STILL SEE DRIVE OUT OF A TEAM OUT OF BOWL CONTENTION? “I don’t think the attitude is bad. I think these guys have come to work for the most part every day. We’ve had our ups and downs throughout the season and we always — haven’t had the best practices — but overall the attitude is still really good with these guys. They’re excited about the next game and very pumped for the challenge.”

SEEING WHAT YOU SEE ON THE PRACTICE FIELD OUT ON THE FIELD ON GAME DAY? “Yes. I think we’ve improved and there were times in that Missouri game where I was very proud of the defense. We played excellent on first and second down. And a few stops on third and long. We really could’ve had a good day. We were put in some tough situations at times in that game and you’d like to see us come out on top on those, but we didn’t. But I’ve definitely seen the guys get better.”

 

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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One Response to Kentucky’s Stoops, Eliot preview Vanderbilt

  1. Edward says:

    Interesting Post and advice :)