Q&A: Stoops wraps up Georgia week

MARK STOOPS
“It’s been a good week of practice so far. One more run through tomorrow, so hopefully we’ll continue to have good, crisp practices. It’s been a beautiful week. I think we may get a little rain down there, so either way we’ll be ready to go and see what happens. But we’re excited about it. We’re excited to play. Guys have had a good attitude, worked hard, and just trying to put together the best game plan we can to go play a good football game.”

On how he keeps his own players from putting too much stock in what’s going on at Georgia this week: “I really doubt that our players know anything very much what’s being talked about down there. It really shouldn’t be any concern of ours. It’s always about, ‘What are we doing?’ or ‘Are we putting our guys in the best position we can to be successful?’ and ‘Are our players doing whatever they can to make sure they’re mentally and physically ready to play?’.”

On how he prevents any division in the team: “Fortunately, knock on wood, I haven’t really felt any of that since I’ve been the head coach that, with any division. I think there’s always—if you go back to year one and year two, there’s frustrations, certainly. On our team, since I’ve been here, we’ve played some good defensive games and some good offense and vice versa. We’re always trying to put it together and play the very best we can as a team. That’s always our goal. I just talk about it and understand that if you do win on one side or the other, it’ll surely come around the other way sooner or later. Be careful about what you talk about. What we talk about here.”

On the biggest thing that has jumped out to him about his team this week: “I think just making sure we have a mindset and good energy and having a good attitude with our preparation. That’s all you can do. I felt like guys, really we had a good Tuesday, Wednesday—and I know, I think Coach (Steve) Spurrier joked that one day when he came back and said ‘oh it was terrible’ and all that. No coach really wants to stand here at the end of the week and tell you you’ve we had a miserable week. But I think you know enough about me now that I wear certain emotions on my sleeves. I do tell the team and I tell you the truth on how I feel. If I felt like it was a cruddy week of preparation or if the enthusiasm, the energy wasn’t there I’d tell you. But I felt like that’s the biggest thing we could do is control how we prepare. I really feel like that’s been that way. You guys talk to the players. I certainly don’t read everything y’all say and write, but you could ask them. I’m not here to lie or to tell you stories. I feel like our guys work hard, and we’re trying to do the very best we can.”

On how they recapture the first half of the South Carolina game:I don’t know. (Laughs) I don’t know.”

On Boom Williams:Yeah. He won’t play. He won’t play.”

On if anyone else won’t play: “Darius (West) will not play. Joey Herrick will not play. And Boom. I believe that’s it.”

On if Hatcher got the day off yesterday:No.”

On Andy Buh talking about giving Hatcher a break:He didn’t practice – Monday’s a light day anyway. He didn’t practice, but he practiced Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.”

On if Hatcher will be full strength on Saturday:Yeah, I think he’s much better now. Yeah. I think he’s much, much better. He played Saturday, as you know. It was close last week, but didn’t get the week of practice. Got much more practice this week.”

On if D.J. Eliot in the booth changes what he does on the sidelines:Not much. Not much. I have to get back out there and manage the game should we need a timeout or something. As far as making adjustments we got Andy (Buh) and Jimmy (Brumbaugh) down on the sidelines and can make the adjustments. I may make a couple quick adjustments then get out there and manage what the offense – again, should we need a timeout or see what’s going or listening on that side. Not too much.”

On if he was a sideline or press-box coordinator: “I was on the sideline. I was in the booth a long time ago as a secondary coach, and I really liked it as a secondary coach. But I was on the field as a coordinator, yeah. As a secondary coach, it was good just to see the whole picture and see our position on the football.”

On the value of a secondary coach being on the field in UK’s case with so much youth, being able to see them face-to-face: “There is. That’s always the balance. As you can tell, offensively, all of our guys are on the sidelines and I brought that up and talked with Shannon several times. That’s the way the staffs he’s been with have always done it. I’m making sure that’s what they want to do because I want to make sure we’re getting a good vision of the entire picture. We’re staying with it, the way we’ve been doing it, offensively. We made that change defensively and I think after one game, Coach Eliot liked it and hopefully it’ll work out and we’re going to do it again that way this week.”

On having grad assistants in the box for the offensive staff: “Yeah, we do, yep.”

On if he’s trying to encourage Dawson to get someone up in the box: “I’m just making sure. If I wanted to encourage him, I would tell him to do it. (Laughter). Just making sure that we’re rethinking that and putting people in position to be successful, our players and our coaches and, so like I said, we’ve talked about it twice and we’ll leave it the way it is right now.”

On preparing for two QB system: “Really doesn’t effect us much at all. They do what they do. Their identity is with their offense and with their offensive coordinator. I don’t think things change much. Maybe internally as far as experience and things like that, but it’s nothing that jumps out at you that’s systematically much different.”

On how well he knows Georgia offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer: “Not much. Not personally. Just through friends that know him and I hear good things about him. He seems like a great coach. Comes from a coaching family and the whole bit.”

On facing a different style of offense that what UK has seen in last couple of games: “Yeah. Definitely does. It will be different, and with Georgia, just like it’s been, it starts with being physical and running the ball with their talented backs and then play action off of it. You’ve heard. Each offense presents different challenges. But that much is the same: very talented players who are physical that can hurt you in the run game then puts pressure on you to add numbers and then throw the ball down the field.”

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.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.