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UK out to rebound after 'unacceptable' Wednesday practice

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Chet White, UK Athletics Chet White, UK Athletics
As he praised his team for a second consecutive solid day of practice on Tuesday, Mark Stoops made it clear he wasn't just being positive for the sake of being positive.

"I'm not ever gonna try to mask any of that," Stoops said on Tuesday. "If I was unhappy with their preparation, the way they're trying to go about their business, I'd tell them and I'd tell you."

A day later Stoops proved it, mincing no words in evaluating Kentucky's effort.

"Very unacceptable practice today," Stoops said on Wednesday. "Just very frustrating. Preparation wasn't good enough, effort wasn't good enough, attitude wasn't good enough. Not good."

Throughout his UK tenure, Stoops has been consistently pleased with his team's approach, so Wednesday was quite a departure. The fact that the Wildcats turned in such a subpar effort days before a Saturday road trip to No. 13/12 South Carolina makes it that much more troubling.

"This is the most frustrated I've been, probably, because we're right in the middle of a tough stretch and we're getting ready to play a tough game on the road in a hostile environment and with that attitude, we're gonna get rolled," Stoops said.

The message wasn't easy to hear for the players - who likely heard an even sterner version of Stoops' remarks to reporters - but they wouldn't have it any other way.

"That's why we love him though," Sanders said. "He's going to shoot us straight when you're doing good and when he doesn't like something, he's not going to beat around the bush or be nice about it."

In talking about the offense alone, Neal Brown wasn't quite so unhappy.

"It was a little bit better on our side of the ball today," Brown said. "We had pretty good focus until we went into our blitz segment of our practice, then we had a couple of miscues there."

At quarterback, Brown assigned majority of snaps (65 to 70 percent, he estimated) to one quarterback as he did on Tuesday. By giving the second quarterback plenty of repetitions in practice, UK will have a backup plan should the first struggle.

"I've got a plan. I've really had a plan since Monday," Brown said. "The thing about it is, I've got a plan going into it. We're going to give that quarterback an opportunity, but then the other one's going to be ready."

Stoops, however, was in no mood to discuss specific positions on Wednesday.UK will return to the field for its final practice ahead of the South Carolina game with a simple goal: improve.

"It's not acceptable, it's not all right," Stoops said. "We'll do our best to get it out of them, but we got to coach better, we got to play better and it's not OK. We're here to get better every day and reach the most potential we have and if we do that, I'm OK with it. If we don't, I'm not."

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