Kentucky Wildcats Football: Mark Stoops Interview after Missouri Tigers Game

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Nov 9, 2013; Lexington, KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats head coach Mark Stoops reacts to a call during the game against the Missouri Tigers at Commonwealth Stadium. Missouri defeated Kentucky 47-17. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

COACH STOOPS: Tough day for us out there today. Very tough match‑up. Give Missouri credit; they beat us in all three phases of the game. It’s a very good football team. It was very tough for us to match up.
Defensively I thought we had some decent stops. We had an opportunity on several others and they made the play on 3rd down, we didn’t.
Offensively we did good things at times. We didn’t do it at the right moments. I think early on it would have been nice to move it a little bit better there when we had good field position after we were up three and got the turnover. I thought that possession hurt. We need to do a better job in that situation.
But overall very tough night. Give them credit; they outplayed us in all areas, and we need to improve.

Q. You seemed to sort of blow your top a few times today. Was it sort of the frustration of the whole thing coming down?

COACH STOOPS: It is, it’s frustrating. I’ve got to do a better job. That’s it. It is what it is. It’s a tough situation. I’m trying to fight and claw and help lead this team as best I can. It is frustrating at times, but we all need to do a better job, and we need to overcome adversity. There’s going to be bad plays, there’s going to be adversity, and we’ve all got to handle it better.

Q. Are you still seeing that level of play from your guys that you want?

COACH STOOPS: Well, no, it wasn’t a great effort by us tonight. It wasn’t. It wasn’t good. But the late run that everybody is going to say we gave up, that’s not true. We just simply out ‑‑ somebody went to the wrong gap, and the pre was coming down to play the run and went outside the Will (linebacker) and they creased us right up in there. We had two guys there to make the play. Again, it’s technique; he goes outside of the block instead of under it, and the free safety gets cut off and he pops it for a long run. So the guys weren’t laying down there; we just need to execute better.

Q. (Question regarding Jalen Whitlow showing toughness in Saturday’s game.)

COACH STOOPS: I did. I did notice that, and early on I thought he had some very tough runs against a very tough, physical defense, and it was nice. You could tell he was hurting, and again, I think he’s learning to compete. I thought he did some good things, and he led our team good. We need to improve. We need to hit some open guys better. But we need to play better around him and all those things.

Q. Talk about Landon Foster, what happened on the punt.

COACH STOOPS: Yeah, the one was ‑‑ the shank, he just shanked it. He’s been pretty steady here for a couple years, he just shanked there, and there’s no excuse for that. I thought that was very critical, as well. I thought we had a chance. We had a big run and we held them, and that ‑‑ we bring that back, and then we shank the punt and they go in and score. That was critical. Those are things we’ve got to overcome.
And then we got the one block; that wasn’t his fault. They just came clean on him.

Q. First drive of the game you march all the way downfield and hit a field goal. First drive of the second half you march all the way downfield, as well. What’s different about coming out of the locker room?

COACH STOOPS: Well, I think guys were ‑‑ we made it a point at halftime. We didn’t feel like ‑‑ you asked me the question earlier. I thought we started stronger. We have a chance there early to get ahead and to build a lead and to be in that, and then I thought the second quarter got away from us quick. So we addressed that at halftime, and the guys came out with the right attitude and moved it down there and scored.
That was positive.

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