By Dr. John Huang
Ever wonder how UK Football treats the media? The answer is “pretty good,” especially after a tough loss. Today we were enticed with a delectable slice of lasagna at Mark Stoops’ weekly media luncheon. Nothing like putting everybody in a good mood prior to parading Coach out in front of the feeding frenzy.
As with every press conference, the media had their usual array of questions. But we know you’re busy, so rather than waste time analyzing the offensive and defensive schemes of Kentucky’s upcoming opponent, I thought I’d just spare you the minutiae, cut to the chase, and give you only the answers to the questions you’re hungering for.
Then it was immediately on to the accusations of questionable play calling. Hey, I tried my best.
Give him credit. Stoops then went on to explain his rationale for calling the plays that he did. He knew Kentucky’s secondary was vulnerable, and he wanted to run as much clock as possible before giving Florida their final chance with the ball. If his kicker had made the kick, then the strategy would have worked to perfection. Emotions aside, it really would be hard to argue with his strategy or explanations.
Of course Chance missed the kick. He lined it up right and kicked it right. Why didn’t Kentucky center the ball between the hashmarks for him?
Stoops’ answer: “We actually were trying to get it a little bit more to the left, sort of to the middle. Weren’t able to get it. The ball cut back on one of the runs.”
Stoops was asked about the plays leading up to the kick–specifically about why the Wildcat formation is still being used even though it hasn’t worked in a year and a half. Here’s where he got a little defensive.
“Oh, I don’t know,” he hesitated–as if thinking of how he wanted to answer. “I seem to get that conversation a lot. It seems like the minute it doesn’t work, you’ll hear about it. Every time it’s effective, you don’t hear about it, and you don’t write about it. It’s been very effective for us.”
“Again, a lot of it’s overblown,” he continued. “You know what I mean? Sometimes you’re trying to maybe pull one person out of it. It’s the exact same run game whether he’s under there or not. Sometimes you can get an extra gap. You never know when we’re going to flip it to him, so you got to cover him, pull somebody out of there.”
Everyone wanted to know “Where in the world is Chris Rodriguez?” Stoops admitted there are some ball security issues with Chris that need to be cleaned up, but he sounded sincere in saying that Chris should get back in the fold soon.
The only other notable quotes and quips I picked up on were that Sawyer earned a lot of respect from his teammates for his performance (including his touchdown saving tackle), that Phil Hoskins and Taj Dodson will both be questionable for the upcoming game, and that Xavier Peters still needs some work in understanding and executing the defense.
And finally, did Coach Stoops have anything else to say about the targeting fiasco?
“No, no. I don’t want to part with $50,000.”
Coach is a smart man.
There you have it. If you enjoy this type of analysis, be sure to follow me on Twitter @KYHuangs. Thanks!