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KENTUCKY ATHLETICS COMMUNICATIONS AND PUBLIC RELATIONS
MARK STOOPS POST-EMU NEWS CONFERENCE
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 7 2019
KROGER FIELD – LEXINGTON, KY.
Kentucky Head Coach Mark Stoops
MARK STOOPS: Good to start the season 2-0. Just like last week, there was so many good things that we did tonight. Really appreciate our team’s effort. There is just a lot of things we could clean up, and we will.
That’s why we’re out here playing. It’s nice to win by 14 and win by 21 and come back and say there are some things we can do better. We’ll do that, and that’s why we’re a team.
You know, that’s why when somebody makes a mistake somebody will picked them up. I think we’re doing a good job that with. Our team is hungry for more. I know we can be a lot better, and that’s a good thing.
They’re excited to make the corrections on this game and move on and get ready to prepare to play for a big game here again this week coming up.
Good to be 2-0, good to take a lot of lessons from this that we know we can improve from, and we’ll move forward and get going.
Q. (No microphone – Question regarding Terry Wilson’s injury status)
MARK STOOPS: Left knee. You know, we’ll take a look at it tomorrow with an MRI.
Q. (No microphone – Question regarding what he said to the EMU coach after the game)
MARK STOOPS: Maybe we got to not let TV on the field then after the game. I just was — we were just talking about the game and having a conversation with coach, and it looks like — you know, I’m not sure. I hate to put that out there right now until we get a look at it. I think you all know that it doesn’t look good. Anybody that gets carted off on a cart like that and they put his knee in that deal doesn’t look good, right?
Just wait until I get the MRI tomorrow.
Q. (No microphone – Question regarding the play when Terry got hurt)
MARK STOOPS: You know, that’s why it’s illegal. That’s why it’s in the rule — it’s illegal. It can happen. It can happen to anybody. They run a good program and Terry is hard to get a hold of. I’m sure he just reached out and grabbed anything he could. It’s very unfortunate that it’s part our game, but that’s why it’s in there. You got a runner running full speed like that and gets jerked back and the knee can’t handle that.
It’s unfortunate, and I’m sure throughout the season there is a good chance we may get called for it one time this year, too. I hope not, but certainly don’t teach that and I know they don’t either.
Q. (Regarding the run game/running backs.)
MARK STOOPS: That’s exactly right. You know, we really did that last week as well. Just wanted to work on things and spread it out and throw the ball around.
With Sawyer, he needed the reps, that’s correct. We needed to get on the same page and just run our offense. You know, we felt comfortable with being able to run it out, but just wanted to run our offense one more possession for him, get him as many reps as we can.
Q. What do you see in Sawyer in practice?
MARK STOOPS: Just like you saw out there today with the reps and going with the ones. There were some decision making out there today that I think he’ll learn from. There were some opportunities. But he can throw the ball. He throws it down the field. We have a lot of confidence in him.
If he has to go, then we have confidence in him and we’ll run our offense.
Q. (No microphone – Question regarding the missed opportunities in the second quarter)
MARK STOOPS: Yeah, the fumble going in, just there is no excuse for that. Then penalty, just things of that nature. We’re able to overcome them, but as the competition gets better we got to get those cleaned up.
Q. Do you feel like you left a lot of points on the field?
MARK STOOPS: I think there is no question we feel like we left some out there. So, you know, two of them — two in the first half was just touching on the fumble and the penalty and left points right there.
We did. Give them credit. I knew they were — again, they played tough, they played sound. They don’t make it easy; you got to beat them. They don’t just give you things.
Q. What did you like from this week compared to last week?
MARK STOOPS: Again, felt like I liked the start. We talked about getting off to a fast start. I believe it was 17-nothing at one point and gave up the drive and we give up a third down and then we get a penalty on top of it and put them in position to get to three, we’re in pretty good control at halftime, so I like the start we had.
Again, we felt like we left a little bit out there. Could have been more. Those were some good things.
Q. I know you won’t be able to tell until the film, but how did you think the secondary played overall?
MARK STOOPS: Okay. Okay. We gave up the touchdown pass. Again, just a missed assignment. Just a missed assignment. Comes from bad eyes, bad vision.
Got to get it hammered out.
Q. Did you ask for an explanation? It appeared that the holding call was in the end zone against Eastern Michigan.
MARK STOOPS: I declined it to get the ball there. I felt like we could get seven or three, and we got the three. So just a decision I made.
Q. Does Sawyer have the kind of personality that can rally the team around him?
MARK STOOPS: Yeah, I think the guys have a lot of confidence in Sawyer. Guys feel for Terry because he’s worked hard and he’s a leader on our team. You know, it’s part of our game, injuries. We’ve seen a lot of our players get hurt and miss a season.
Guys feel for them because they know the amount of work he put in and we have a lot of confidence in him. But the guys believe in Sawyer and we’re going to play to win no matter who is playing. Everybody better get that straight right now. We’re sad for Terry and it stinks because it’s part of our game, but believe me, we’re going back to work with the intent to win a football game next week, and that’s the way we’re going to approach it every week.
Q. (No microphone – Question regarding how Terry being injured effects the team’s offensive approach)
MARK STOOPS: Nothing, nothing. We’ll run our offense. Sawyer is very effective. Maybe not quite as dynamic a runner as Terry, but the reads will be the same. If he needs to, he’ll pull it and get the aggravating yards and move the ball on their offense.
Q. Have you talked to Terry or Terry talk to the players after the game?
MARK STOOPS: I got to go see Terry right now. I’m not sure whether we’re still in the holding tank or not. Just talked to team and came over here. I got to go see him right now.
Q. (Regarding grad transfer quarterbacks.) How much does it help Sawyer has as much experience as he got, especially last year?
MARK STOOPS: Yeah, I think it’s a big deal that we have Sawyer and he has the experience he has. The game won’t be too big for him, that’s for sure. Just got to go out there and get some reps and execute. There are some things he does extremely well; we’ll lean on those.
Q. Kavosiey got the personal foul and you kept him in the game. Why did you decide to keep him in the game?
MARK STOOPS: I’ll make the corrections when I need to make them. Believe me, he won’t do that again. We’ll get it straightened out.
Q. You said this team has got to have more takeaways. Two more interceptions tonight. That’s got to be huge.
MARK STOOPS: Yeah, the guys play hard. I’m not disappointed. They played hard tonight. Just got to play smarter and eliminate some of the foolishness with unforced errors.
Q. (Regarding the run game.)
MARK STOOPS: Yeah, those guys, I mean, we rushed for 239. You’re going to have a good opportunity to win a game when you do that. They rushed for 49 I see here.
So rush yards are important. We certainly probably could have hammered it out a little bit more. We were working on some other things and throwing the ball and working on the pass game, so that’s good to be able to do that in a game.
Certainly felt like we probably could have rushed it a few more times, that’s for sure, but we’ll see. I’m not sure what the stats were on all that.