The Kentucky football team took advantage of a beautiful fall day in Lexington, working outside on the Tim Couch Practice Fields on Thursday. The Wildcats are putting the finishing touches on preparations for a trip to Missouri.
"It's been a good week of practice so far," Mark Stoops said. "We had a good Thursday today. Guys are excited and look sharp in practice, so anxious to get on that plane tomorrow."
UK is in search of its first road win since the 2010 season opener against Louisville, and Stoops said getting the next one will be a "milestone" for his program. For that reason, the plane ride to and from Columbia, Mo., has been a subject in his messages to the team.
"Let's get on the plane to go there with a strong mindset and let's be joyous on that return," Stoops said. "We talk about it over and over: Nobody's going to give you anything. You got to go earn it. You got to prepare. And you got to go play well. So that's our mindset and hopefully we'll be able to do that."
Kentucky has lost road games this season, playing well in a loss at Florida and getting blown out at LSU. Stoops won't alter UK's travel plans in an effort to reverse the trend, but the Cats did switch up their early-week routine.
"I just thought, again, to break the monotony, we came in Sunday and knocked out the film," Stoops said. "I gave them Monday off. Just to have that day off Monday, they were good Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, so hopefully that'll carry."
Missouri is 6-2 (3-1 Southeastern Conference) on the season and presents yet another stiff test for Kentucky. The Tigers, however, have lost at home to Indiana and Georgia and both times the opponent committed no turnovers and allowed no big plays on special teams. UK will look to follow a similar roadmap.
"We have talked about it -- you've heard me talk about that -- that we haven't played a complete game yet," Stoops said. "And we need to do that to go win on the road against a quality opponent. So I think turnovers are always a big part of that, and special teams is always a big part of that. So hopefully we'll be solid in those areas. We worked really hard on special teams."
The Cats' special teams will get a boost this week with the expected return of Stanley "Boom" Williams. The running back is UK's most dangerous kick returner, but missed last week with a concussion.
"He's looked good," Stoops said. "Should be pretty fresh. Any time you get some time off and then come back, could help that way."