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“Outside perception” of UK football not what Mark Stoops is worrying about

Mark Stoops is confident his team can still win a lot of games this year. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

During his time on the SEC Coaches Teleconference Wednesday, Kentucky coach Mark Stoops was asked how important Saturday night’s game at South Carolina might be to his program from a national perspective.

It was easy to tell that Stoops was slightly irritated by the question but his team is 0-2 in SEC play and has lost its last two games.

“It’s important for us and building our program,” Stoops said.

He emphasized his team was trying to do more than any “outside perception” might understand.

“It’s pretty clear we have a good football team and the opportunity to win a lot of games,” Stoops said. “Outside perception is not so important to me as it is within our building, players and coaches.

“If you listen to 14 coaches on this call today, we all have our work cut out for us, some more than others,” Stoops said. “A lot of work to do each week to win in this league.”

Kentucky has five straight wins over South Carolina, including two in Columbia. However, Stoops knows this will be a “difficult road test” for UK, especially after the Cats’ slow start in last week’s loss at Mississippi State.

“I do not feel very good about the way we went on the road and played last week,” Stoops said. “State played very good and beat us in all areas. Hopefully they (UK players) respond and play better than they did a week ago.”

I asked Stoops about the play of offensive guard Luke Fortner. The coach said he had been “playing very good” before adding that like most of his teammates, he could go from dominant to inconsistent.

“That’s just us across the board trying to get the consistency we need,” Stoops said.

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  1. For some reason, I am not worried about this year.
    Yes, I was upset when we beat ourselves at Florida and Mississippi St. I really think in both cases UK was the better team.
    However, I also don’t believe UK is at the point where they are just reloading great talent from one year to the next. We are getting there, but it is a long slow process to completely build a good SEC team, and then it takes even longer to get to the point where you are just maintaining it from year to year.
    Do I agree with everything Stoops does, No; but we are way ahead of where we were when he got here, and I’ll take it.

  2. Not one to make excuses, but UK did lose their starting QB for the season, and the heir apparent transferred. That gets you behind the eight ball quick The Florida loss was an emotional nightmare. Smith has done some good things, but the pick six he threw at MSU on a promising UK drive, well IMO,UK never recovered from that. They lost their edge.They looked like a different team after that happened. And that carried over the entire game. On that day MSU just whipped them.

    UK will have to play much better this week, and this game at Columbia, SC Sat night will not be easy. UK better want it more than the Gamecocks do. USC will be after the Cats after UK’s 5 straight wins. UK better come out firing on all 8. I am like Stoops, make USC stop the run first, and use the forward pass as little as possible with Smith hurt. I think Walker Wood better be ready too, because USC will be after Smith from the start. Count on it. UK’s defense must rise up and be dominant in this one.

    1. Good points Larry but, GOOD football teams can (and more times than not) overcome and EARLY INT. Especially with the talent on this team.

      1. I agree wally, but UK didn’t get it done. That said, I still believe UK is a good football team, but they are very young at certain positions. This loss wasn’t all on Smith either.

  3. Pup there are times when you say things that are spot on, but then you start blowharding about Calipari and we can’t take you seriously. Are you not going to step up and take my bet?

  4. Naw……. no bets from me. I just relish in keeping you and your buddy Mike stirred up.

    1. So you don’t really believe all of your Rah Rahhing…you just like to Rah Rah.

    2. Reverse psychology fails you again. It was nice having you on sidelines for last couple days. Your buddy, Stoops, has such a bad rep of getting teams ready to play at the beginning that it is not a stretch to suspect that SC will be more fired up to play.

  5. Agree with your football assessment Mike, straight and spot on-just got my hopes up too high and now I have to level out some.

  6. Sorry about that, meant Larry Pup’s comments-getting old!

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