Kentucky-Missouri Postgame Quotes

Kentucky Quotes


Head Coach Mark Stoops


Opening Statement … Obviously a very big victory for us. I'm very proud of the team. Like I told them just a moment ago, it was just very gratifying to win a game like that against such a quality opponent in a hard-fought SEC football game.

Just like all games we'll play, there's good and bad that happens throughout the course of the game. You’ve got to be able to overcome it and make plays at the end of the game to win. I’m just very proud.

I felt like the players have really been telling you for the past couple weeks that the guys were really focused and really starting to grow and practice with a better attitude and a better sense of urgency and more consistently. We're getting better.

Much like a week ago, we were put in a situation where you needed to make some plays. It was nice to do it tonight. We were on the wrong end a week ago, but we have been in a bunch of close football games this year and came out with three victories –so, proud of that.

(Missouri is a) very great football team. Very well coached and we have a lot of respect for them and what they do. They win a lot of games. Winning the SEC East two years in a row, and they never seem to lose on the road. Just a very good football team. We knew it was going to be a hard-fought game and just proud of the complete effort by our team. It's really -- you ask me specific questions right now and it's really like a blur to me, to be honest with you.

I know Patrick (Towles) had a good game which was good to see, but it was such a team effort. Again, defensively, I think we really had some good stops. That's a good team that was getting first downs and moving the ball on us at times, but we came up with some critical stops again to give us a chance to hang in there and until we got going offensively. I'll leave it there for questions.

Q. On where he ranks the win at his time at UK … 
COACH STOOPS: I'm not going to say that. It's very important, because of where we want to go, and we feel like we have got a better football team. We're not there yet. We're just getting better and better.

You got to have guys make plays in critical situations to start growing and winning and winning consistently. So, I would never say it's a must-win because I know we're getting better as a program. I know we're building a program here. And we're recruiting the right guys and our coaches are working hard and good things are happening.

I just really want it for everybody that's done so much. And we know we're getting there, and most importantly, those players that are celebrating in that lock room right now.

But for everybody that's done so much, you want to deliver. You heard me say that before. We’ve got a lot of excitement going in our program right now, and I want to keep on bringing the people back. I want this energy, I want this excitement and I want to continue to grow.

Q. On if there were things that “Old Kentucky” would not have overcame tonight … 
COACH STOOPS: I think I'll let you guys write about that. But I've seen enough of it where it's hard to argue that. I know that my first two-plus years, that it was difficult. I just think that the margin for error is always small. We're a better football team so we could overcome some things now. I do think belief is part of that. In making plays, when the game's on the line. I agree with you to some extent, and I think that as we get better, you can overcome some bad things.

Q. On how crucial the 1st-and-29 conversion was … 
COACH STOOPS: I thought it was good to see us get in attack mode and make plays when the game was on the line. We'll grow from that, for sure. That's a confidence-builder, and we know we're capable of it. But to go do it in pressure situations is very critical.

Q. On the important of putting together a complete game (offense, defense, special teams) … 
COACH STOOPS: That's right. That's exactly right. And again, that's what I was trying to say. Just what you're so proud of is a complete game. This was such a tough football game against a good team and it's nice to come out on the right end of that feeling like you're playing a game. You're always a couple plays away and we're fortunate to be on the right end of the stick tonight.

Q. On what he said to Patrick Towles before the game … 
COACH STOOPS: I really didn't. I didn't. I don't like to get involved with that. I really didn't say much. Just go do what he does every day. Give him support and give him a pat on the back, and I really want to make sure I don't hinder the play caller and the quarterback.

Q. On Towles’ overall performance in the win … 
COACH STOOPS: I was telling the team in there that I'm pretty stingy with game balls, but I think he deserved one tonight. 22-for-27, two 2 TD's, so I gave him a game ball. I thought he played a really good game and made some really good plays with his feet and was aggressive down the stretch.

Q. On the improvement of Dorian Baker … 
COACH STOOPS: Yeah, that was part of it with some of the guys you heard Shannon (Dawson) talk about it and myself, with the guys just playing. We don't need guys to go be supermen. We just need to go be who they are. We have a good team, and they just need to go play within themselves. We just talked about that with him, about just calming down. 

Q. On the play of the defense against the Missouri running game … 
COACH STOOPS: The last couple games, I think we have done a nice job. Coach (DJ) Eliot -- I mentioned it last week -- he really had a good plan and some things are coming together for us and guys are really playing hard and it's the same way. I challenged the team early in the week on Monday that I just wanted us to play with relentless effort. I know that stuck out to me last year when we went to Missouri. I felt like they played harder than us and I was adamant about not letting that happen again.

I thought both teams played very hard, but defensively it's about team defense and being on the same page and communicating and playing with a great sense of urgency. I think we're doing some really good things, but there are a lot of things we could do better.

Q. On keeping Missouri uncomfortable on offense … 
COACH STOOPS: I do feel like we kept them uncomfortable, I do. I think we mixed it up enough and, hey, they're good. They were getting some first downs and it's tough, but I do feel like we had some things that were keeping them a little off balance.

Q. On how much more they can do in preparing defensively and preparing for the offense … 
COACH STOOPS: Yeah, I think that we need guys to win some one-on-one's and get some pressures at times and some sacks. So, I think having Jason (Hatcher) back and having Ryan (Flannigan) back it was certainly helpful. We’re getting more and more depth. We're trying to play more and more guys to build or our depth and build for our program and as you get better you feel more and more comfortable getting some other guys in.

Q. On softening Missouri up with the passing game in the second half … 
COACH STOOPS: We have to. I think that's a big improvement from a week ago. We made the plays tonight down the field and, as a defensive guy, that's always tough. You're getting up there and getting in your face and making it hard for you to run the ball, and then you get some shots downfield. I know, as a defensive play caller for all those years, you get defenses on their heels and you get them thinking about it. They have to pick their spots, too. So, I know that Coach Dawson did a very good job of staying aggressive and really we were happy about that. He was happy about that.

But Patrick (Towles) -- and, you know, it's not going to be perfect week-to-week, but we have a great staff that really puts good plans in place and, again, I think we stayed aggressive and made plays and that's what you have to do if you want to be a good football team. Even though I keep on going back to it, what I'm proud about is, even a week ago, we didn't play our best and we had an opportunity to win the game. And that's a sign that you're getting to be a better team.

Q. On closing out three games with the running game … 
COACH STOOPS: Critical. Critical. Absolutely critical. There were some tough runs in there. We were grinding it out, not getting some, but at the end of every victory we got some critical runs. That's a big part of -- that's how you win close games. If you're not able to do that, you would lose more than half of them. And that's where we're getting better. I think that's a big part of why I hired Shannon. Because you have to have some balance. If you don't have balance, you're not going to win these type of games right here.

Q. On what makes JoJo Kemp so special closing out the games … 
COACH STOOPS: I just think that our guys need to understand that one game it's going to maybe be this guy is hot or different things, and he again just made some tough runs. I don't know why it was Jojo, you'll have to ask Shannon, but he had some good, tough runs. He’s running some of these gap schemes that we run. He runs some of the gap schemes better, you know, the power. So, he had some good tough runs.

Q: On the pressure it puts on the defense when you have a great catching tight end … 
COACH STOOPS: I think that you saw it. Everybody was wondering when he was going to break out of his shell. So it was good to see him. That's one thing I told Shannon. C.J.'s been a good player. We knew it would come. Just a matter of when. Because what's happening is, if you have threats outside, then you have to protect those guys sometimes. Then you either have to run the ball or get somebody down the middle. So, it's good to have them.

Q. On C.J. Johnson’s performance ...
COACH STOOPS: It was a great effort by him, obviously. I would have to watch the tape, but very proud of him and the whole group. 

#3, Jojo Kemp, RB
On his leaping effort for a first down …
“I was just trying to make something happen, trying to make a play for the team and trying to get momentum. Every time I get into the game, I pick up my teammates and try to get something going.”

On how satisfying the win is …
“Very satisfying. We needed it. It’s part of what we came here to do is change the game. And it’s always good to get those type of victories and have this program moving in the right direction.”

On the team’s ability to move the ball on the ground at the end of the game …
“Really big. I felt like we got the offense going, started picking up the other guys on the sideline to let them know it’s not over yet.”

#33, Ryan Flannigan, LB


On Jojo Kemp’s play and what you see from him …
“Oh yeah, high fly (laughter). He runs hard. That’s just something Jojo does. He’s not just going to tiptoe through the hole; he’s going to hit the hole and go. That’s what he does. He’s a good running back. All three are good running backs. They all do their jobs and they all feed off of each other.”

#9 Garrett Johnson, WR


On rebounding from last week … 
“We put the last game behind us. It happens. Now that it is in the past, let’s move forward.”
 
On how important it was to stay aggressive down the stretch …
“It is very important because you never know what a team has and you have to continue to play how you play.”
 
On what the win means … 
“It was a huge confidence booster and it won’t do anything but make us work harder.”
 

#35 Denzil Ware, DE


On the sack being a great bounce-back play after the personal foul penalty … 
“Yes getting the sack right after the penalty is me telling my teammates I have their backs.”
 
On how loud the locker room was after the game …
“It was very loud because we won an SEC game and Missouri is ranked and we got the upset. So everyone was happy that we won.”
 
On what Coach Stoops said in the locker room …
“He told us that we played a good game, but there are some things that we need to fix. But a win is a win.”
 

#14 Patrick Towles, QB


On the preparation for the game and how that helped the offense click … 
“A lot went into preparing for the game tonight and Coach and I tweaked something with my throwing motion and I felt I was more accurate.”
 
On the importance of getting C.J. Conrad involved…
“It was very important, but whether he has zero catches or 15 catches, he is the same guy. So, I am very proud of him.”
 
On what a win over a top-25 team does for this team … 
“It does a lot. It is a huge confidence builder. We are 3-1 and 2-1 in the SEC, which is awesome, but we have an important game next week and we are not going to overlook them.”

#2 Dorian Baker, WR


On his performance…
“It’s alright, you know, it’s not about me. I’m just happy we got the win. But I did what I was supposed to do to get the team a win, so I’m glad that we could all put it together and get it done.”

On if the past week of was tough …
“No, it wasn’t tough at all. You know, we practice Tuesday and Wednesday, hard days, and we come in, and we just came in ready to work, so nobody really complained. They weren’t sagging about the week, kind of just let it brush past and we’re looking forward to next week. Can’t let something from last week haunt you, so you just have to push it behind you and get better.” 

#6 Jason Hatcher, DE


On being back in the starting lineup…
“You know, it was a pretty good feeling. I just try to live in the moment and I’m just glad to really be out there with my guys. “

On how good it was to get back last week …
“Yeah, like you said last week was just a little here and there and then I played most of the second half. But like you said, I started the game and was able to make a few plays out there so I feel like I’m back.” 

#87, CJ Conrad, TE


On the touchdown pass …
“I honestly don’t really remember much.  I caught it and, well, I knew pre-alignment that I had a shot just the way all of the safeties were lined up. I knew I was running a streak down the middle, so I mean I might catch this ball and get a shot. And then it seemed like it was coming so slow and then I caught it and I was in the end zone.”

On the offense after last week’s struggles … 
“I just think, honestly the reason why we played well today was because we practiced really well this week. It was probably the best week of practice we’ve ever had. The offense, we responded really well to that loss. Honestly, Tuesday and Wednesday, Patrick lit it up, receivers were catching balls. That preparation was awesome and I think it’s only going to build. You know, the guys are getting more and more excited and this is a big one for us.”

Missouri Quotes

Head Coach Gary Pinkel


Opening statement … 
“First of all, congratulations to Kentucky, they did the things necessary to win the game. They are very deserving. Obviously we’re disappointed. We don’t lose a lot of football games, and it takes a little piece out of you, and it should. Your gut should be hurting now and all the guys in the locker room are. I also told our football team this would not define us. We talked about this back in August that when adversity strikes we have a process in place on how to deal with it. Circle the wagons and stay positive and get back to work. That’s what we will do.” 

On losing starters due to injury during the game …
“I really don’t. I just know that they all left the game; it’s going to happen. It has never happened to me before, but if you coach long enough, its going to happen sooner or later and tonight it just did. You have to overcome it, bottom line you do. I don’t know the status of any of them as far as next week. We will get that information, we should know more by Monday.”

On the team’s defense in second half …
“I saw what you saw. Give them some credit. We did some really good things up to a certain point. They scored seven points, and then they got the 10. We did a lot of good things and they made some plays. So you have to give them some credit and we have to improve.”

On the team’s running game …
“We are working really hard to do it. We have to work better at it. I don’t know how else to tell you that we are trying and we are trying really hard. And we have to get it done. That is my fault that the running game has not been fixed.”

On  Drew Lock playing second half …
“It’s the same plan we ever had. We made the same decisions we make. Same thing.”

On Patrick Towles’ performance …
“He is a good player. He made some nice throws and they made some good catches. That one-handed catch on the sideline was a huge football play in that game; it flipped the field back put them in position. He made some great plays.” 

On Russell Hansbrough being a game-time decision …
“Yeah he was game-time decision. We thought he would start out. He did some good things made that third down catch, got that first down that was huge. He is obviously still frustrated. It’s hard for him to keep going (when) he gets sore as he goes. It’s difficult, we will have to see what his status is tomorrow and Monday. We will have to see as we go. Hopefully his status is better this time this week than it was a week ago.” 

On expectations for Hansbrough …
“I hoped he would be 100%. If you are not sure if a player is going to play you have no expectation level. You watch and see what they do, and you pull them accordingly if you need to.”

#6 J’Mon Moore, WR

On the team’s offensive frustration …

“Yeah you know, you’re going to be frustrated after a loss, but you have to get over it and move on to the next opponent and get better during the week.”

On the throw just out of his reach that would’ve been a touchdown …

“Maybe things would have been different if I would have caught that one, but I’ll watch the film and see what I could have done better moving forward.”

#3 Drew Lock, QB

On limited playing time in the second half …

“No not at all, I mean, we are going to go with the veteran guy here. He’s pulled us out of the situation before. That’s fine, that’s how it should be.”

On his pass to WR Emanuel Hall …

“I keep playing that in my head. I took one step, I felt like someone was in front of me, so I took a step back, threw it, and it just came off my hand wrong. He was wide open. It made my hands shake because I started to get happy already. It just came out of my hand wrong.”

On the team’s mindset after the loss … 

“I do think it’s a little gut punching, but we are going to rebound and come out next week and treat it as if we won. It’s going to be the same preparation we do every week.”

#35 Tyler Hunt, RB

On how the team improves consistency … 

“We have to go back to the basics. We need to get better. I need to get better. We have young guys stepping in. We have to teach them from a leader’s standpoint and come to practice with a certain mindset.”

On the mood in the locker postgame…

“It’s pretty down right now. After a loss like that we need to get our stuff together to jump back next week. You have to give Kentucky credit. They’re a good team all around. Yeah it hurts, that’s for sure, but they are a good team.”

#7 Maty Mauk, QB

On the team’s performance …

“We came out and started fast and strong, but we killed ourselves. You have to give credit to them. They played a great football game, but a lot of what went wrong was missed throws, catches, and protection. We just have to go back to the basics. We don’t want three points; we want to score. I take responsibility for some of it. I have to find a guy to throw to and get it to the end zone.”

On how his shoulder is feeling…

“It’s a little banged up. I have no excuses. I’m on the field. I have to produce and make those throws. The injury is from this year, but it’s nothing major. I just have to take care of it.”

On Russell Hansbrough being back…

“You can tell he’s not 100%, but he’s a guy who is going to play. Yeah, he is hurt, but it is just obvious that he is not 100% yet. He has a banged up ankle and we need him treated and get our guys healthy. I have a lot of confidence that he will get back. We have a great training staff.”