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November 28, 2015

Mark Stoops

Lexington, Kentucky

Louisville - 38, Kentucky - 24

COACH STOOPS: We need to execute better on both sides of the ball, in particular we've got to move the ball and get some first downs when we have field position and you know score some points. Defensively again, tale of two halves, played well the first half created some points, got some momentum and field position. The second half they got us off balance with the quarterback change, and we've got to do a better job.

We've got to adjust to that. We had guys in position. And they made us look foolish at times. And we've got to do a better job coaching that up and playing technique and executing our assignments. There's enough blame to go around. We all need to do a better job.

We're not very pleased with the way we finished again. I know the fans are not happy. And I'm not happy. It's disappointing. It's tough.

The message to our seniors was I appreciated the seniors. I love those guys; they're really good kids that really gave us everything they had. I feel bad for them.

Our preparation has been good. They wanted this game. They had a great mentality. And you know we didn't get it done. To the younger guys, to the guys that are coming back in that locker room, we're going to get to work; we're going to have a grueling offseason, get mentally and physically tougher.

We've got to kick it up some serious notches to compete at a higher level. And we will do that. We've got a good nucleus of players coming back and we've got to coach them better and work harder in the offseason.

Q. How disappointing is it to get to the end of the season and you're sitting here talking about lack of execution and also to have a 21-0 lead in the first quarter and have a chance to put the game away really in the second quarter and don't do it?
COACH STOOPS: Well, we don't do it. We fumble the ball. And then we got the ball at, what, the 25 and got nothing out of it; went backwards. We didn't do it.

We've got to do a better job. We've got to coach better.

Q. How big a setback is it probably not going into postseason play unless something crazy happens with five and seven teams and all those things?
COACH STOOPS: It's a setback. It is. It's disappointing. I know people have been patient even through a tough third year here and tough second part of this season. People were hanging in there. The fans were there, supporting us, and everybody wants to see a change.

And nobody wants to see a change more than myself and the staff and these players that are working hard. And it hurts. I understand the frustration, believe me, very clearly. And we've got to do a better job. But we're going to do that.

We're going to go back to work. And we need to get a lot tougher in the offseason. It starts there. And it starts with the way we go about our business right away here in this offseason program.

Q. Just curious of the thought process, if my numbers are off, it will be slightly, I don't think they are. The score is 24-24, and second half Drew is one for 12 for minus one yards and you decided to stick with him. Why did you not make a change?
COACH STOOPS: Because we felt like -- we had a discussion at that point. I talked with Shannon at that point, and we felt like there were some plays that were there that he was putting the ball in some good -- making some good decisions. Felt like he was a fraction off. I think it was Badet had a drop, I think it was at that time. We had some plays and could have probably gone with Patrick a couple of series earlier than that.

Q. In spite of some of the struggles, the defense put the offense in some good positions this year, made some big plays; but the offense, 10 touchdown passes 16 picks this season. What would you tell fans that might not have confidence in Shannon Dawson, and do you have confidence in Shannon Dawson as the offensive coordinator?
COACH STOOPS: Yes, I absolutely have confidence in Shannon Dawson. He's a very good coach, very knowledgeable. It gets frustrating for him, believe me. It's the same way, as a defensive play caller, when things aren't going well and you don't -- you know, it gets difficult. Let me put it to you that way. It gets hard and it gets frustrating and guys need to step up and make plays.

Whether you're an offensive coordinator or defensive coordinator, there's only so many good play calls at some point. You have to win some one-on-one battles. I have a lot of confidence in Shannon. He'll get the ship corrected and straightened out and get the guys competing at a higher level and we need to play better across the board.

Q. When you're trying to get over that hump and you talk about guys needing to make plays, how devastating, when you have a play that's set up in the passing game or gets there in the running game, and it's a hold or a dropped pass? Those moments seem like they really piled up today.
COACH STOOPS: They did. They did. And also we had a couple well-designed plays that were there that were there for big plays. And we didn't get the ball to them.

One play in particular that we had set up that maybe you'll see it on TV, but we'll see it, that we had set up and Drew, he said he couldn't get a grip on the ball. It was a wet ball, and he saw the guy coming pretty late but didn't distribute it to him.

So that's part of what we've gotta do better. We've gotta execute plays that are there.

Q. Why was there so much trouble stopping and containing Jackson today?
COACH STOOPS: You know, a lot of it was technique. I'm very frustrated at times. We had some guys on the edge that were just getting outran and not playing with proper technique and not understanding where their help was within the defense.

And he just flat out made some plays. He outran us and really made us look bad on the edge, on the perimeter on some plays.

Q. So much hype and expectation heading into year three of the program. Do you feel like there was a step forward this year? Step back? What?
COACH STOOPS: I'm obviously very frustrated with the result. And the result wasn't good enough, in my opinion. So I'm not pleased with the result. Five wins is not good enough. And I'm tired of the would've, could've, should'ves, just as the fans are. We've got to make those plays. And that's when our program will grow, when we make those plays to win games.

When we've got the ball on the 1-yard line and we punch it in. And we'll do that. We will. And this won't hurt our momentum in recruiting and developing our team and our program, we're going to continue to get better, believe me.

And I desperately wanted to win this game because it's a big game. It's a rivalry game, to get to practices, to get to the bowl game, but it's not the end of the world.

It's 6 and 6. It would have been 6 and 6 had we won, and we didn't. And we need to get better across the board to go to where we want to go. And we're going to continue to do that.

Q. I know going into last year, after last season, you really focused on needing to get better in the secondary, and you've got some promising young guys there. As you look at that defense now going into year four, what do you need? What positions, what places do you need to shore up to feel like you can compete at this level?
COACH STOOPS: I think we're going to be much better in the secondary once again just with all three freshmen playing today and with Marcus and A.J. rotating, really, if you look at that, all four will be back and both nickels will be back and a dime.

So I like where we're at in the secondary. I think they're very talented players and they've got the size you're looking for and the athletic ability you're looking for.

We really took some lumps at outside backer. And you saw that today in the perimeter. And we've got to do a better job of containing the football. And that looked ugly to me today, just watching it from the sidelines and the frustration that I was feeling from the sideline of execution that we need to play better at outside linebacker.

And I do feel good about a bunch of guys coming off redshirt and guys that are on the scout team this year that will come back and help us. But we'll get better across the board. We've got Alvonte coming off scholarship, redshirt, we redshirted him as well, Alvonte Bell. He'll help us up front on the "D" line and give us a better pass rusher as well.

Q. Going into the offseason, do you have to consider some changes to your coaching staff or personnel?
COACH STOOPS: I'm not going to get into that right now. You know, I'm disappointed in this loss, as all you and our fans. And everybody that cares about Kentucky is disappointed and frustrated. Believe me, I am. And we'll look at all aspects of our program to make it a program that everybody's proud of.

We're going to work hard and we're going to do the right things and our players are going to have a tough offseason. And we're all accountable, and we'll all look at ourselves in the mirror and see what we can do to get better and I'll evaluate all aspects of the program.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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