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Mark Stoops knows “we are not perfect” as he tries to find ways to win games

Sawyer Smith played only one play — a quarterback sneak — in last week’s loss to Tennessee. (Vicky Graff Photo)


Even if he would like to play more true freshmen, Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said it is “hard to just throw them in” this late in the season.

“With us and the explosiveness and balance as we were talking about in the past game and the fair questions on whether to go with (quarterback) Sawyer (Smith) or not, it does get hard to what you evolve to, what you morph to, and that is part of it as coaches, to put them in the best position you can,” Stoops said.

That led Stoops to admitting he understood the fan frustration with UK’s 4-5 record and loss last week to Tennessee when he didn’t put Smith in at quarterback after the Vols shut down UK’s offense the second half.

“We are a much different football team right now than we were in game one or game two. As I said earlier, I have to give credit.  I know the easiest target in the world outside of me is the offensive coordinator (Eddie Gran). You’ve got a bullseye on your chest every day, every play,” Stoops said.

“I can promise you, they’ve worked their tail off putting guys in position to be successful and we have had to morph into what we are doing, but that is where a seasoned veteran helps you immensely. I know we are not perfect and I’m not looking for a pat on the back, but I have to recognize those guys and the job that they are doing, putting guys in position, but we are different right now than what we were with Terry (Wilson) and with Sawyer (Smith).

“Look at the first three games and look at us now and we have had to what we had to do to try to win games. Again, we are not perfect, and we’ve got to find a way, that’s not some coaching cliché, we are close. A play here, a play there against some very good teams, but I can promise you they are all battling.”


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  1. Sure sounds like coach-speech to me.

  2. Stoops always like to say that Gran is “working his tail off,” but working hard does not mean automatic success; especially, if you are not working in the right way, with the right personnel, the right plays, etc.
    I have never been a fan of Gran’s even when he was at Cincinnati. His team looked good in Cincinnati on paper, but they couldn’t beat good teams. He was destroyed in his last game there.
    I don’t know what the answer is, but Gran and Stoops need to take off their blinders and look at what is not working and come up with better solutions.

  3. I believe Stoops is doing the best he can with the hand he has been dealt. The question is, “is his best good enough?” So far I think most fans would say no. If he could beat Vandy, UT Martin and U of L fans would get off his back for awhile. If he only beats Vandy & UT Martin he still gets a pass. If he only beats UT Martin he will be in a world of hurt and will regresses back to where he was was several years ago with the fan base. That is not a good place to be.

  4. Vandy will be no gimme. They scored a bunch on LSU. They will be looking to get a much needed win against UK, and will believe they can against a run oriented UK attack They will have watched the UT tape. If Bowden starts, I hope Gran will let him throw some when the down and distance calls for it, at least occasionally. Give him the chance to prove he can throw it. Use Smith if he is healthy and if needed too. This is a must win for UK in order to salvage a season that i quickly slipping away.

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