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November 30, 2013

Mark Stoops


COACH STOOPS:  All right.  Tough way to lock up the season.  You know, frustrating loss, but give credit to Tennessee.  They played better than us, made plays when they needed to, coached better than us.  And so kind of just seems like there's the way most of the year went for us.  Had our opportunities and didn't make them.
We can all do things better, starting with me, and we intend on doing that.  Our guys are, I felt like, you know, I really appreciate the seniors and the foundation that they laid for this program.
It's always difficult, probably most difficult for the seniors that come in with a coaching change:  A bunch of new coaches, new schemes, new everything, and I thought those guys really handled themselves well.  You know, really continued to fight and tried to lead us through the end of the year, so I appreciate those guys.
I think, you know, we see it within our program maybe more; it's tough at times.  It's frustrating.  We know that we are laying a foundation in our program and everybody in that locker room knows that we are going to get back to work here real soon, like Monday, and be ready to go and push forward for the future.
We are all disappointed with the 2013 season when it comes to the wins and losses, and I take responsibility for that.  And I need to do a better job, and all of us will, and we'll continue to keep on grinding and keep on pushing this program.
But I know that we did lay that foundation and guys are ready to get back to work and ready to continue to build.  We need to continue to recruit some players that could come in and make a difference in this league and we're going to do that.

Q.  Second play of the game‑‑
COACH STOOPS:  It was‑‑ yeah, it was frustrating.  You know, we need to do a better job all the way around.

Q.  Is this the last week, the only guy that you saw play the whole game‑‑
COACH STOOPS:  I don't think that tonight.  I'll look at the film and see, but I felt like guys were very into it.  Guys really did‑‑ and I don't just say that stuff.  I thought we had a good week of preparation.  I thought guys were motivated and excited to play and really wanted to go out with a good win.
You know, didn't get off to a good start, and that doesn't help.  You know, tried to claw our way back in it here and there, but overall, just an uphill battle all day.

Q.  Is it a difference between motivated to play and going out and making plays?
COACH STOOPS:  Well, I think it's all year‑‑ it's just, it's execution.  We know we are not overly explosive, and so we need to grind out drives and not get behind the chains and same thing on defense.  We gave up some big plays tonight, and that wasn't good.
Again, I think we have our shots.  I think you see there's shots out there.  There's plays out there, and we're not making them.  We're just underthrowing, just overthrowing; maybe a drop or a pressure, you know what I mean, and we have a reverse‑pass set up and we fall.  You know, just got to do a better job.

Q.  The quarterback play throughout the year, you went most of the season without knowing who your quarterback is, due to injury or‑‑ how much of an issue was that?
COACH STOOPS:  Yeah, it's an issue.  It's not a perfect situation.  You know, you saw the year.  I think each guy did some good things at times and some things that weren't so good, and again, that's our whole team, though.  That's not just on those guys.  We have to play better around them.
So we can't just put that all on the quarterbacks.  But I don't think it's a perfect situation and I don't think anybody really went out and just said, this is mine, which you're waiting to see.

Q.  You're pretty frank in your expectations.  Where do you think you are in your progression right now?
COACH STOOPS:  I know we're progressing.  It's hard for me to put it‑‑ to define that exactly.
I know we're improving.  There's no doubt in my mind.  You know, we're getting better and we need to continue to build this team and, you know, I always accept responsibility.  I know I can do better, and the coaches can do better.  The players will continue to develop and we're going to continue to recruit players that can come in and make a difference in this league.

Q.  Inaudible.
COACH STOOPS:  Dyshawn, I was impressed with him.  I really thought‑‑ I love the way he's playing.  He's going all‑out and it's good to see.  He's got great passion for the game.  You could see that when he's going down there and busting his hump on special teams and doing all those good things, so I've been pleased with Dyshawn.

Q.  Seems like he's very openly auditioning‑‑ about playing for a spot.
COACH STOOPS:  Absolutely.  And we need to, and we need to‑‑ we've got to continue to build in all areas of this program and we need guys to step up and take charge.  We need toughness and we need leadership and we need to continue to have guys emerge in that area.

Q.  Your penalty‑‑ was it frustration?
COACH STOOPS:  Yeah, I shouldn't have done it.  Just got the best of me and that's my fault.  Shouldn't have done it.  I get along good with that official, too.  (Laughter).  It wasn't directed at him, that's for sure.  It was on the other side.
But no, he's a good guy, and you know, they do a good job.  It's hard.  It's hard.  It is what it is.  You're going to get some calls; you're not going to get some calls and you have to be able to overcome that.  I know that.

Q.  Is it just the frustration of the night and the year?
COACH STOOPS:  Hey, I don't want to do that.  You know, that's not what I want to do.  I think you guys can see me.  I try hard to not do that, you know and to keep it together, and we've got to be able to overcome things.
Sure, it's frustrating.  Every coach in America goes through those things, and sometimes things are going to go your way and sometimes they are not.  You've got to deal with it and move on.

Q.  Did you learn anything about yourself this year?
COACH STOOPS:  Yeah, well‑‑ (Laughter)‑‑ I don't know.  I mean, that's hard to answer.  I mean, I think you always grow.  You always want to try to grow as a coach and as a person, and you know, I think I'm doing that and I know I am in certain areas and I need to continue to just push.
We know this isn't going to be an easy task and again, we're going to go to work starting tomorrow.  We're hitting the road.  We're going to grind it out in recruiting and our players are going to start lifting and running and we are going to build this program.

Q.  Back to the penalty.  Do you think the fans like to see that?  Do you think they like to see that, hey, this is our coach, fighting for us?  What kind of reaction do you think they have with something like that?
COACH STOOPS:  You know, I think people that know me know I'm going to fight and all that, and my players do.  But you also know and I also know, that sooner or later, they just call you an idiot (laughter) you know what I mean.  Comes down to winning games.
Again, I try not to ever get totally ‑‑ I mean, I don't want that label on me.  I'm not going to get out of control on the sideline or whatever.  Sometimes you get called and sometimes you don't.  You've got to deal with it and move on.  Again, I said that's my fault.  But that's not me.  That doesn't define me and how I act.

Q.  What does guy like Kevin‑‑ what's the bigger thing you have to see between now and the when the next season gets ready to start?
COACH STOOPS:  All of our guys need to just continue to develop physically.  We have got to get bigger and stronger‑‑ who are the guys you mentioned?

Q.  Kevin‑‑
COACH STOOPS:  Yeah, they are all good players.  Jojo has to go in and get‑‑ his ankles have been bothering him.  He has some things he has to clean up.  He's not 100 percent healthy and he'll go in and get some things cleaned up.  But that is starting to come on.  He needs to physically get bigger and continue to develop.

Q.  As his career comes to a close, how special of a player is Avery Williams?
COACH STOOPS:  He's one of the best I've been around.  I love him.  He's just a great person and very good football player.  He cares.  He's a good leader.  He's going to be very successful in life.

Q.  Where are you with the quarterback situation going into this game and where are you now?
COACH STOOPS:  To be honest with you, Max wasn't feeling good either.  He didn't throw a ball on Tuesday and he was very limited on Wednesday.
Jalen was‑‑ his neck was not good.  So Jalen was very unsure and he was trying to do what he could to get healthy.  We got all kinds of checks on him and sent him to a specialist and MRIs and the whole deal to make sure that there wasn't anything that couldn't be permanently injured or anything like that.
So he did what he could to get in there and help us get out of the game.  But he was not feeling good and he definitely couldn't, I don't think, take a whole game of getting hit and things like that.  I mean, he was cleared, but just his mental framework in not being able to practice all week and all those things.
And Max, again, he really gave it everything he had.  His arm was bothering him.  He took a shot last week and his arm was bothering him a little bit this week.  You know, again, those guys tried to do what they could.

Q.  Where are you in the future‑‑
COACH STOOPS:  Oh, I don't think I need to address that right now.  It's been a whole year.  Let's let that go and let's get bigger, stronger, recruit and‑‑ we need to get better on all positions.

Q.  Can Max ever be healthy enough to be an effective quarterback?  His body is so beat up.
COACH STOOPS:  To answer your question, yes, I believe he could be healthy enough.  I hope he can and I think he needs to go in and we need to look at that shoulder again.  This was different.  Jim Madaleno and our doctors tell me this injury right now is a little different now than other problems he's had.  So we need to go in and look at it.

Q.  We knew this was going to be a difficult year; is there any sense of reliefthat you have the rookie year in the rearview mirror?
COACH STOOPS:  No, I don't feel relief.  I'm disappointed.  Again, you know, right after this last game here, we really put a lot into this game.  I thought, again, we were excited to play and really wanted to go out and play better than that.  I'm disappointed right now.
But I know there's a lot of work to be done and again, starting tomorrow, we're hitting the road, and, you know, we've got recruits on campus and meeting with our players that are here and go get in some homes and get busy recruiting.

Q.  The decision to pull out Raymond during seniornight, what went into that?
COACH STOOPS:  He made a mistake.  You know, he didn't make a mistake to dismiss him from the team.  He just couldn't play in this game.  I don't see why‑‑ I didn't want that to define Raymond for the rest of his time for all that he did.  That wasn't, in my opinion, the right thing to do.
Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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