Neal Brown was just finishing his breakdown of Kentucky's loss to top-ranked Mississippi State.
The Wildcats had come up just short in a hard-fought defeat, but Brown praised the way UK battled.
"We're close," Brown said. "We gotta continue to get better. We gotta find a way to get number six."
Six wins, of course, is a significant number. In college football, it means bowl eligibility. For a UK program that hasn't appeared in a bowl game since the 2010 season and won a total of just four games in the previous two years, reaching postseason play would be significant.
Even so, that's not what the UK coaches are talking about when they mention number six.
"I don't think that's the reason why we need to go get number six, even though we know the value in it," Stoops said. "I think the reason we need to get number six is because we're sitting on five."
Kentucky's next shot at that sixth win will come on the road against Missouri at 4 p.m. ET on Saturday. The Tigers (6-2, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) are in the thick of the race for the SEC Eastern Division title after winning it a season ago.
"Look at what they did last year, sitting here 6 2, and they probably feel a lot like us, in that they haven't played their best yet," Stoops said. "You know, they're a very good team. They've won, they've been there before, they're an experienced group, especially as a coaching staff."
Special teams improved in defeat
UK's final play on special teams against Mississippi State wasn't pretty.
Down 38-31 after Patrick Towles ran for his second touchdown with 2:31 left, the Cats lined up for an onside kick. The try went directly to Christian Holmes, who promptly sprinted 61 yards for the game-clinching touchdown.
The play, however, doesn't come close to defining UK's overall performance on Saturday.
"Special teams responded extremely well," Stoops said. "I thought the guys competed and played very good this last week."
On the heels of a loss as LSU in which special teams were largely responsible for a big halftime deficit, UK's specialists were solid.
Following kickoffs, UK started on its own 21.9-yard line on average, while MSU started on its 23.6, not counting the onside kick. In the punting game, Landon Foster kicked six times for an average of 47.8 yards, three times pinning the Bulldogs inside the 20 and allowing just three return yards. His net punting average of 47.3 was two yards better than Devon Bell's for MSU.
"The kickoffs were great, the kickoff kicker it was ridiculous how high and how well he kicked the ball so that makes it extremely difficult but across the board I thought the guys responded," Stoops said. "None of us were happy with the week before. We know that's not acceptable. Coach (Craig) Naivar knows that and our players but we have all had our moments this year, offense and defense and special teams where we have not done our part."
Ground game a work in progress
UK has always been a running-back-by-committee kind of team this season, but never has that been clearer than on Monday.
On Kentucky's updated depth chart, Braylon Heard, Jojo Kemp, Mikel Horton and Stanley "Boom" Williams are listed with "or" between each.
It's a departure from previous weeks, when Heard and Kemp were listed jointly, but practice this week won't be any different.
"It's been like it has been," Stoops said. "Not much has changed. We need to continue to work some of those guys in."
Against Mississippi State, Horton carried just once after playing well at LSU. Expect to see more of the big freshman at Missouri.
"We had plans last week with Mikel (Horton) and then he goes in and fumbles the first play and that rattles your confidence a little bit," Stoops said. "We've talked about that, we can't let it. We need to get him back in there and get him playing and we will. Mikel has worked his way into the rotation and he needs to get in there."
If all goes according to plan, the same will be true for Williams. The dynamic freshman missed the Mississippi State game with a head injury, but is expected to return this week.
"He should be fine," Stoops said. "Let's hope he doesn't have any setbacks. He was very close (last week) and I don't want to get into all that, technically he probably could have played but we didn't want to."
No matter who lines up in the backfield, UK needs to improve in the ground game. Over the last two weeks, Wildcat running backs have combined for just 82 yards on 29 carries, though a lot of that has to do with tough LSU and Mississippi State defenses.
"We're still trying to be the team that we want to be," Stoops said. "We're not there yet. We want to be a team that's balanced."
Senior Day set for noon kick
Television selections for games on Nov. 8 were announced on Monday and Kentucky's home finale vs. Georgia will kick off at noon ET. ESPN will broadcast the game.