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November 2, 2013

Mark Stoops


COACH STOOPS:  Good win.  It's good to get that victory.  It's been a while.  So any time you get a win, you have to appreciate it.  And our players have worked hard and we've been fighting and clawing and scratching trying to get a win, so it was good to get a victory tonight.  Still have a lot of work to do.  We all know that and can see that, but I was pretty pleased with their effort and preparation and going out there and taking care of business.

Q.  Do you see the confidence build as the game wore on and good things were happening on the field?
COACH STOOPS:  I don't know.  I'm not trying to be‑‑ believe me, we know any win is a win.  I'll take one more than anything, but it just feels like we have a lot of work to do.  It feels like we're still just not executing the way we can, and that's frustrating.

Q.  You stepped out early and challenged (Indiscernible) to be tougher.
COACH STOOPS:  I did, yeah.  I did.  It was good to see him.  I thought he stepped up and accepted that and wanted to go out there and play the whole game if need be.  I felt like he pulled it down and ran around and created and made some plays when we needed him, so that was good to see.

Q.  Mark, did you ever contemplate losing Javess (No microphone) to lose to an injury, and you lose Alex the way you did?  Can you talk about that?
COACH STOOPS:  Yeah, I'm better off just staying away from commenting on that, but it's frustrating, that's for sure.  Yeah, we lose Javess in pregame.  He was just out there throwing it around like the guys do, getting out there, getting loose, and just took a ball right in the eye.  So that closed up and he couldn't see out of it.  Then I popped him in the other eye; he couldn't see out of that one (laughing).  So he had two black eyes.
No, you guys are going to put that in print and people are going to start arresting me.  You know I'm joking.  Then with Alex, that was really disappointing with Alex, and we'll see.  Hopefully, it's not serious, but I'm afraid it may be because he's been solid all year and getting better for a young guy.  To get that touchdown, we've got to learn to celebrate better.

Q.  Was it a mistake to say to (No microphone)?
COACH STOOPS:  Yeah.  Yeah, it is.  It's his job right now.  So we need him to continue to improve.

Q.  Is it consistency?
COACH STOOPS:  His reads and his progressions and there were some things out there and some plays out there, and they were in his progression.  Those are things we have to get better at.  That's why we're not throwing the ball as well as we can right now.  So if it's him on the progression one play and then somebody else busting an assignment on the next or not running the route right, it's just a variety of issues that we need to get better at.

Q.  How glad are you (No microphone)?
COACH STOOPS:  Yeah, I didn't want to make that call.  We didn't want to play Reese, so that's good.

Q.  That was a big play, especially (No microphone)?
COACH STOOPS:  Yeah, I thought he made us miss early.  I thought we were hesitant, and that was frustrating me that we were just siting there and not reacting fast enough and then they missed the tackle because we were late with our read.  Then to get down there and a good back will make you miss, and he did that.  So take nothing away from him.  He's a great player.  We all know that.  He could play with any team in the SEC.
He's a good player and made a good run early, made us miss.  But those were some of the things that were a little bit frustrating to me.

Q.  You see the guys in the locker room sort of the (No microphone)?
COACH STOOPS:  Yeah, definitely, we desperately needed a win and we got one, so that definitely feels good.

Q.  After that touchdown run, the defense had a touchdown 48‑7.  Were you proud of the way they responded after that?
COACH STOOPS:  Yes, I was.  I felt like we were pretty solid for the rest of the way until we gave up the big one.  But sometimes it's just frustrating, and maybe that's the old defensive coordinator in me.  You're always nitpicking and upset about the plays that are out there.  You know, we just‑‑ we're just trying to get better every play.  So those are some very good things out there, and there are some things that are frustrating.

Q.  (No microphone) are you going to tell them to stop celebrating like that?
COACH STOOPS:  I think we need to talk about it certainly because we may have gotten somebody seriously injured doing that.  And somebody was telling me today, I guess, a Georgia player or something did the same in the first game, you know, so we definitely need to look at it.

Q.  You have to worry about how you control the celebrations?
COACH STOOPS:  Yeah, absolutely, yeah.  Yeah, that's for sure.

Q.  Talk about the game tonight, a lot of missed balls, dropped balls.  In 15 years that typically hasn't happened to a Kentucky football team.  What is the key to being in the right spot once the ball gets on the ground?
COACH STOOPS:  I don't know if there is any magic formula for that.  I know when guys are hustling to the football and playing extremely hard, generally you can get some good bounces.  So it was good to get ‑‑ I think we got two turnovers, two fumbles.  We're going a hard time getting interceptions, but we're getting fumbles, which is a good thing.
But I'm very impressed and pleased with the offense.  I believe this is a school record fourth straight game.  I probably shouldn't even mention it, knock on wood there, fourth straight game without a turnover.  That's pretty good by our offense and our players of being conscious of ball security.

Q.  Talk about getting better in the passing game and stuff like that.  That touchdown was that a positive sign that, hey, he threw it to the final guy that was open?
COACH STOOPS:  Yeah, that was good to hit that one.  We had to throw it a little bit more than we wanted to in the second half and just continue to work on things and try to get better as a football team.

Q.  (No microphone)?
COACH STOOPS:  He's beat up.  That was going to be the last couple of plays he was going to be in the game too.  We just thought we'd get him to get his confidence going again and get him ready for the next week.  The ball was behind him and just kind of a freak twist of the ankle.  So he had his shoulder earlier in the game and then he had an ankle there.  So I believe the shoulder shouldn't be anything too serious, but we'll see where the ankle injury goes.

Q.  As a head coach, when do you turn your attention towards Missouri?
COACH STOOPS:  Tomorrow morning.

Q.  Will this be celebrated?
COACH STOOPS:  I don't think so.  It's a little late right now, isn't it?  That game felt like it went forever.  I mean, so, yeah.

Q.  (No microphone)?
COACH STOOPS:  Yeah, from a lot of points, a lot.  The whole fourth quarter.  I was getting frustrated.  Then we put in quite a few subs and we kept on getting some negative yardage and trying to just throw easy throws like bubbles and things to get a few yards and try to get a first down and keep that clock moving and get out of here.
But we got the win.  We got out of there in one piece.  Kept some guys healthy at the end of the game.

Q.  What did Dyshawn do early in the game?
COACH STOOPS:  I was pleased with him all week.  He's tough.  You see what he's doing on special teams?  He gives us a little bit more pop.  He's physical in there.  And I think just he's been better.  He's been more accountable.  But he did have a protection issue again tonight, and those are the things that are hurting us.  We can't afford to take negative plays and get our quarterback hit when he shouldn't.

Q.  (No microphone) had the fullback?

Q.  (No microphone)?
COACH STOOPS:  No, I have not.  We've been‑‑ we need to be more disciplined in what we're doing in pursuant of the football.  So we need to be‑‑ you know, you've got to have some instincts, and, you know, there are a bunch of guys on the back side of that play that should feel those things, and we're not doing that very good right now.

Q.  It seems like almost all of those catches came on third down, fourth down for a first‑down conversion.  Can you talk about those plays tonight?
COACH STOOPS:  It was hard for me to tell.  I did notice a few on third down.  He had made some good catches.  It was good to see him out there and getting going, and we need to continue to work with him.  He's a guy that we're counting on quite a bit at the beginning of the year, and he's been banged up.  So we need to get him healthy, get him out there and playing and catching some balls.

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