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.