COACH STOOPS: I’d like to start by recognizing and thank all of our veterans for all the work that they do today on Veterans Day.
Going back and watching the film of this past week, again, there are some very frustrating things in there in that we can’t be that inconsistent and play with great football teams. Missouri’s a very good football team and really outplayed us in all three areas.
But with that being said, I thought there was a good percentage of the game on both sides of the ball, offensively and defensively, we did some good things. We all know you’re not going to beat a top 10 team without playing a complete game. So we need to learn how to some way, somehow, play a complete football game in all areas and we’ll have an opportunity to win one of those games. Until then, we won’t.
So, just like it has been, it’s been frustrating, but there has been some good and there was some bad in that game. Special teams is an area where we’ve been extremely strong this whole year. Really, there have been some ups and downs through the first eight games, but there was only one critical play in special teams and in this past game we had at least four that were big difference maker plays. So that hurt us, and we can’t afford to do that. So that’s a summary of that game.
Looking forward to Vanderbilt, going to Nashville, playing Vandy. It will be a heck of an opportunity for us. Vandy is coming off a very big win for them in beating Florida and playing very well right now. They’re good in all areas. They’re a team that just plays very hard, plays very smart. They capitalize on your mistakes, so it will be another good opportunity for us, a big challenge for us to go down there and win.
So we’re excited to get back to work. It was a tough day to get through that film this past Sunday, but we’re on to Vandy and looking forward to our preparation here this week for Vandy.
Q. (No microphone)
COACH STOOPS: Yeah, it is. It’s focus and it’s just little things. We’re not good enough to not play at our very best. There were a number of things in that game that we didn’t respond to very well, and we need to learn how to do that and we need to play our very best to play with a team that’s as explosive as Missouri. It was a little bit deflating. I thought that was a critical moment after we got the turnover (in the first quarter) and didn’t get anything out of that.
So it was tough. There were just a lot of mistakes. Lot of things we can look at. I could bounce around. There are a lot of things that changed the way the game is being played. Early on, I thought we were hanging tough. We talked about starting stronger, starting faster. I thought we did that. But then again, few mistakes here and there really hurt us.
Even after that when we were moving the ball, had the ball out to the 40 and we got the holding call on Jordan, I believe, and brought us back and then we shanked the punt, gave them field position, and it went downhill. We lost it very quickly there in the second quarter.
Q. The offense has been sort of desperate for somebody to take the reins and show some leadership. Talking about positives, maybe Jalen has started to do that?
COACH STOOPS: I think so. I think most people recognize that. That he made a conscious effort to be tough and to lead that offense. I thought he did that at times. I really did. He’s not perfect, but he’s tried awfully hard and he showed a lot of toughness in that game and had some good runs and was doing some better things.
Q. Did you have the same conversation or discussion with Jalen early on about him coming out ‑‑ you seemed to walk away from him a couple of times to allow him to make his own decisions?
COACH STOOPS: About what?
Q. He seemed to look to the sidelines a couple times but he didn’t come out.
COACH STOOPS: No, I didn’t.
Q. Was he communicating was at the sidelines?
COACH STOOPS: No, I was not communicating with him at all. I was talking with Neal to get to the next play. I told him let’s get on with it. But, no, there was no communication between he and I about coming out or anything like that, no.