Some bonus Stoops after practice

MARK STOOPS
“It was good. Good Tuesday. We had a lot of work. We got a lot of work done today. We needed to. Good hot day. Felt good about the energy. Guys are starting to lock in and execute well. So overall, very good practice.”

On how fast Neal Brown’s offense was ready to go last year at this time and how fast it’s ready to go now: “I think we’ll be much faster week one this year than we were at any point last year. So we’ll see. Like I said before, you know we’re the style of offense, we’ve got to get some production on first down. That’s a big key for us to move the football. We’re not good enough on any side yet to go fast and not get first downs. So we have to move the ball, and even though you’re going fast, you still have to chew up some clock by getting first downs and running plays. But I feel good. I feel like we’re improved, and they’re ready to go.”

On the fact that he hasn’t talked much about dropped balls this fall: “Yeah. No, it really hasn’t been bad. Not too bad. Early on there was a couple days here nad there, but we’ve been pretty solid in that area. Improving. They’re working hard at it. We get those JUGS machines out here with the tennis balls, hit some guys in the eye, they start working on it.”

On if they’re requiring helmets on that tennis-ball drill now: “Yes. Yes. Absolutely. Helmets and visors. We had a helmet on when one actually caught another one of our guys, T.V. (Williams). But he didn’t get injured bad. But he did have his helmet on.”

On if that’s starting to scare him: “Oh, yeah. Yeah. When they told me during practice, I said, ‘Get the JUGS machines and get ‘em outta here. Send ‘em on their way.’ But we’ve improved.”

On if they’ve gotten to this point without any new injuries this week: “Yeah, nothing significant. And it was good, because we did get a lot of good work in today, wrapped up. We did some good good-on-good against each other and actually got our two-minute drill in today and had a good series there. The offense got one in, which was good. They needed a touchdown in two-minute drill and got one, so that was good to see. That was the first time that’s happened this camp, where they needed a touchdown and got it in, so that was good.”

On this being a big week for Patrick Towles and if he tries to keep him calm: “Yeah. I think just try to stay as normal as possible. He doesn’t need to put any more undue pressure on himself. The whole team needs to play well. I expect that he will be a little bit antsy, I’m sure, like you said. But he’s just got to calm down and stay within himself and operate the offense. And that’s where — like we talked about yesterday — it is important to get off on a fast start and give him some things that he can manage early until he gets settled in.”

On Jojo Kemp playing without the bone spurs in his ankles: “He seems to be really good. It seemed like as the year went on last year you noticed it more and more. Right now he’s very fresh and he’s healthy. He’s actually had a little — that hamstring, that set him out for a while. So he’s come back from that very well. He’s very fresh. And the nice thing is, we have some pretty good depth at running back, so they’re all sharing that load.”

On CBS Sports ranking coaches by how good they were as players and ranking Bob Stoops at No. 15 and Mark at No. 63: “That’s not right. That’s not right. That’s not right at all. I had — I guess because I did have a short career. By the time I actually earned the starting job my junior year, we were actually — my claim to fame is we were actually (the) preseason No. 1 team in the country. I was the starting strong safety. But it only lasted about four or five weeks. I got injured there halfway through that junior year. And we did lose the opener. We lost the opener at Hawaii. So that wasn’t good.”

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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