By LARRY VAUGHT
No surprise that Mark Stoops was a bit testy as his weekly press conference Monday. His team gave away a game to Florida — again — that it should have won and then was a no-show mentally in the first half at Mississippi State and lost again.
However, he obviously was in no mood to talk about coach Will Muschamp and the problems he has at South Carolina where the Gamecocks are 1-3 after losing to Missouri. South Carolina has also lost five straight games to Kentucky, a streak that irritates Gamecock fans in a big way.
Stoops was asked if he felt South Carolina’s program had evolved in certain ways after Muschamp’s arrival.
“I really don’t spend any time concerning myself about his program. I don’t mean to be an idiot. I don’t know. I’m not worried about his program, really,” said Stoops.
Stoops said past UK-South Carolina history means nothing when the teams play again in Columbia Saturday night.
“I don’t think it’s going to matter to us going up in that meeting room today what the last five years were,” Stoops said Monday. “Really we have to have great preparation. We have to have a great week. We have to win this game throughout the week. I have to do a better job motivating them and getting them ready to play.”
Stoops said not to read more into the “juice” for this game than any other SEC road game.
“I think every week when you go on the road in the SEC, you better be strapped up and ready to play. We talked about it but just didn’t do it (at Mississippi State),” Stoops said. “I have to do a better job about getting their attention. Getting them focused. Having the week and the preparation throughout the week, but you have to have a mentality about you.
“You’re not going to walk on the field against anybody and think you are going to have some walk in the park. Not that our team did (last week). We obviously have great respect for Mississippi State, and they are always big and physical, good players.
“You know that but just talking about it and going out and doing it are two different things. We have to be prepared. I didn’t feel that we are at our best, that’s for sure.”