Stoops, Eliot after Wednesday practice

MARK STOOPS
Got some good work today, so it was good. Worked some good short-yardage situations. Good, physical practice. I hope you all enjoyed the first half of it. Maybe I could ask you guys some questions.”

On what it was like to have his brothers here: “It was good. I’m missing my oldest brother, Ron, but the rest of them were here, Bob and Mike. So it was good, good to have them here.”

On what his brothers made of his team: “Well, we’re going to go watch film and all that right now and everything. They came in last night and talked some football with us. It was good to have them.”

On whether he forced Bob to wear the UK sweatshirt: “No, he was cold. (Laughs). Nah, they like to support us. He’s proud to wear it. I’m sure he’ll take that home with him.”

On it appearing that Mike was doing some coaching, yelling suggestions on the field: “Oh yeah, definitely. That’s what there here for. I mean, they’re not here just for fun. You know, we’ve got to put them to work. So, absolutely that’s what we constantly do. We talk about ideas, ways to do things, different change-ups, how they may play a certain formation or a certain adjustment. So it’s good to have them here. I’m definitely going to utilize them while they’re here to go watch some film of this practice and some previous spring practices and get some work done.”

On A.J. Legree not being at practice after it sounded as if he was one of their only healthy receivers Monday: “Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I guess he’s wrapped it up. So, he’s gonna quit and go play somewhere else. So we wish him the best of luck.”

On whether that’s frustrating because WR is a position where they need bodies: “We’ll be fine. We’ll be fine. We’ll be fine. (Laughs) I want the guys that want to be here. Not worried about any of that.”

On the number of injured guys they had today: “Yeah. Yeah. It just happens. That’s the way it is. Some of them were through the winter with surgeries and some of them were dinged up in practice. The good news is, I think there’s nothing major — knock on wood — nothing that’s gonna keep guys out for the year. So we should be at 100 percent if we don’t have anything new happen.”

On Jeff Badet: “Yeah, he’s gonna be out. He got hurt the other day, Monday. He got hurt in Monday’s practice. He was alone. It was a good play-action pass; he was wide-open. He kind of got underthrown and just a freaky accident. It looked like on film his own knee came down on his ankle and he broke a bone in his — he broke his fibula. So he’s gonna be out another two, three months. Clean break. Nothing — no surgery, anything like that. So he’ll be fine. Just needs to rest up.”

On whether the injuries limit what they can do in the spring game: “It looks like I’m gonna split it up ones against everybody else. So the only thing it’ll change as far as the fans and things like that — and most people do it — you’re gonna speed up the game somehow. We can’t afford to take a whole boatload of reps. We’re just thin. So we’ll iron out all the details and tell you, but it’ll be very similar to last year. Some type of abbreviated schedule.”

On who will be the QB for the starters: “Well, we’re gonna rotate them. We’re gonna rotate them.”

On Calipari at practice, whether he spoke to the team: “No, I think he had some things to do. He had some time this morning to come out and say hi and see my brothers and stop in and see a little bit of practice. So it was good to see him out here.”

On where they are with QBs: “We’re working our way through it. We’ll take it all the way through spring and see what happens here toward the end, see what happens in the spring game. They’ll be out there, you guys will see it, and we’ll see what happens and see who competes and if somebody can win that position. And if not, we’ll carry it a little bit further.”

On whether there’s a benefit to naming a starting QB before summer: “I think there’s a benefit right now with just having three guys getting the reps. That helps us right now. That’s been helping.”

On who has made the most of spring: “Well, I said it earlier: I thought Patrick really did a nice job. I thought he did a very good job through his redshirt year. He really improved. And he’s done a nice job throughout spring. So I’ve been pleased with his progress. He’s not perfect, and we don’t expect him to be yet, but he’s really improved a great deal.”

 

D.J. ELIOT

On defensive injuries, how they’ve affected ability to progress in spring: “We’ve stayed on track with what we want to do this spring; we’ve just had to have guys step up, somebody fill in at each position so the other guys can practice. So we haven’t slowed down at all. We’ve just had to have people step up.”

On middle linebacker spot: “We’re getting better and we’re trying some different guys out. Today Josh Forrest was going with the ones at middle linebacker and we’re still trying to develop that position.”

On Melvin Lewis: “Melvin had a whole year where he got to redshirt and just work on technique, and that’s really helped him. He’s come a long ways, and he’s got the size you need for a good nose guard. He’s got a chance to be a good player.”

On Forrest at that spot: “Forrest has always been a good athlete and he’s got size. He’s big; he can run. He came here as a receiver, so just teaching him how to be a linebacker has been the process for him. So every year he gets better at it. I’ve seen him improve at reading his keys and triggering and being more physical.”

 

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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