Mark Stoops talks Kentucky Wildcats Football

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Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Q. You have a lot of young kids playing for the first time. How do you keep these guys calm?

COACH STOOPS: That’s part of the unknown that I say we’ll see and how you respond from year to year. Certainly with young guys, some guys are going to go out there for the first time and they’re going to exceed our expectations, then some guys will probably have some rough spots here and there, have some mental mistakes, physical mistakes, things like that.
That’s why you have to get out there and play. There’s no substitution for experience. You got to get them out there, get them on the field, and get them playing. We tried to put them in as many game‑like situations as we could. We try to prepare them the best we can with all different situations. Had a good camp. Put them through a lot of tests. We’ll see how they go play.

Q. What do you know about UT Martin?

COACH STOOPS: They have a great defensive player, No. 40 (Tony Bell), the linebacker, an exceptional player. He’s a really good football player. He can play anywhere in the country. Really like the way he plays. Like I said, I think they’re a well‑coached team. They’re very multiple on both sides of the ball, can do a lot of things. You got to be prepared for a lot, which is good for us to spend that time getting ready for a variety of offensive or defensive schemes.
I think they’re the type of team, it’s a little unknown. They might get out there and try to pressure the heck out of us, or drop (several in coverage). They’ve shown both, where they’ve been conservative and drop eight guys into coverage a bunch, or they can blitz the house and come after you. I imagine we’ll see a bit of everything. It will be good for us to see how we prepare and respond to that.

Q. (Question regarding Stanley “Boom” Williams playing time.)

COACH STOOPS: He’s going to start at kickoff return. He’s a guy I will be excited to see him with the ball in his hands. He definitely is a difference maker. Same with Mikel. Mikel Horton is the same way. I think he’s a guy that I want to see run the ball in the first game and see where we’re at. We do have the luxury of having some depth at running back, so we got to get those guys the ball.

Q. (Question regarding the defense picking up blitz packages.)

COACH STOOPS: They’re getting there. They’re getting to the point where we trust them, where they can operate the whole offense.