Kentucky-Tennessee Postgame Quotes

Kentucky Quotes

Head Coach Mark Stoops

Opening Statement

MARK STOOPS: It's not acceptable. It's not okay. And not very pleased. There are a lot of things that we need to do better that we will. It starts with me.

I've got to do a better job of getting the team prepared, our coaches prepared, and not a very good effort.

Give them credit, they beat our butts in all phases. They were much more physical than us. And we've got to play with a lot stronger attitude and mentality than that.

So, we'll get back to work. Again, very frustrated, very ticked off the way we played. We have got to play better than that, and we will play better than that, and we will go back to work. We're 4-4? 4-4.

The only way you make this feeling go away is to go get a victory and go prepare the right way and go in with a tough mentality and go get a win. Go get No. 5 and that's the only thing we have got to concentrate on.

I have no doubt that this team will do that. We will coach better, they will play better, and we will go put it on the line to get No. 5 this week.

On if he sensed frustration in the locker room ...

MARK STOOPS: Yeah, I'm sure. I'm sure they are. I'm sure the players are frustrated. They ought to be. They ought to be a little bit mad and upset. We need to play better.

On what his postgame locker room message was ...

MARK STOOPS: Just that, that I don't want to see one person dropping their head or moping around. That's not going to be the way it is. It's clearly not acceptable, and we're not okay with it.

But we're not going to start pointing fingers, and we're not going to put our head down. The only way you make this feeling go away is put your head down and go to work.

Tennessee was in the same boat, right? And they just came in here and clobbered us. So give them credit. You can't hide. You go to work, you man up, and you go get better. You go coach better, and that's the way we're going to do it.

On if he's worried from the overall effort tonight ...

MARK STOOPS: Yeah, sure, I do. You know I do. But I don't think it's just that. I don't think it's just that.

On the status of Boom Williams ...

MARK STOOPS: He has an elbow injury, yeah, we'll see.

On the status of Garrett Johnson ...

MARK STOOPS: Garrett, I believe, will be okay. I believe. Yeah.

On what worried him the most about tonight ...

MARK STOOPS: Just overall execution. Offense and defense and special teams. We got whipped in all areas tonight.

On the game getting out of hand in the second half for the second week in a row ...

MARK STOOPS: Yeah, end of the first half and right in the beginning of the second half, it got out of hand again.

We have got to face adversity better. We have got to be able to handle it and manage the game and not let it get out of hand.

So, there are things we have got to do better. We have got to put them in a better position.

On what he wanted to accomplish by moving DJ Eliot to the box tonight ...

MARK STOOPS: Just let him see the overall picture better and just see -- this team has so much misdirection, and they did a nice job.

They were influencing us and had some new plays and some things that were -- it's good to have somebody up there that you could see the whole perimeter and get better vision. And hopefully, with him being up there, have good eyes on the whole picture.

On if there was a sense of hopelessness tonight when the game got out of hand ...

MARK STOOPS: I don't -- you know that's not in my DNA. I mean, I don't know what you mean by that question.

I mean, I knew it wasn't going well. But we're going to just go to work, and we're going to battle every play, and we're going to get better.

And once it got out of hand, I told the offense to get a drive. We're not going to get desperate and start throwing the ball and try not to fumble it and throw interceptions and all that.

We're going to put a drive together and go down and try to score and defensively try to stop them. But we just take every series and every play with an opportunity to improve.

On the physicality of Tennessee ...

MARK STOOPS: I think that's a big part of it. I think that's a big part of it. They were much more physical than us.

On mental vs. physical ...

MARK STOOPS: It's the whole thing. We have got to continue to bring guys along and develop our players and get them -- recruit big players and get our guys bigger and stronger and it's the whole package. Just got to continue to grow.

On tackling throughout the year ...

MARK STOOPS: I think it's probably obviously both. There are some very good players you're going to play in this league that are going to make people miss and then there are certainly things we can be in better position on.

On if he was surprised by the result tonight and preparation during the week ...

MARK STOOPS: No, I really felt like we had a good week of preparation and guys were locked in and I thought we would certainly go play better than we did.

On turning points during the game tonight ...

MARK STOOPS: That didn't help. That one-play drive there and then the score at the end of the half was poor by us as well.

On when Boom Williams went down ...

MARK STOOPS: I'm not sure. I'm not sure. They didn't need to be. Injuries are going to happen. We love Boom and all of our players and injuries are going to happen and we got to get back in there and go to work.

On if he can take anything positive from the game tonight ...

MARK STOOPS: Well, yes, I appreciate Mikel going in there when we need him, and he and Jojo and Garret need to step up and play well and I anticipate they will.

On how long Boom might be out ...

MARK STOOPS: You know, I'm not sure. I'm not sure. Could be. All right. Thank you.

#15 Marcus McWilson, S

On if he could see anything like this loss coming …

“Definitely not. I mean we work so hard every day in practice and throughout the season over camp and spring ball. A loss like this definitely does hurt. We aren’t taking any steps back. We face adversity every day, and we always have to move forward through it.”

On if last year goes through his mind…

“To me, not at all. Being a defensive player is about the next play mentality. If something bad happens you have to get over it and move on to the next play. Last year is in the past. This game is over now and you all saw the score, but it’s definitely not who we are.”

On if Tennessee showed what he expected on offense, play calling wise…

“Yeah, I would say so. It was nothing we hadn’t gone over, and nothing we hadn’t rehearsed. They’ve got good players, we’ve got good players and they executed a little better than we did tonight.”

#67 Cory Johnson, DT

On why the team did not play up to its standards …

“I wish I knew. As a player, as a leader, I wish I knew. We need to figure it out as a unit.”

On Mark Stoops’ message in the locker room … 

“Don’t get down. There are four games left and if you get down about it, you can go and lose all four, or you can rally up and try to win them.”

On the opponent scoring before the half the past two weeks and how UK can change that …

“I just have to play with more effort. You see a couple of plays we could’ve stopped them, a couple of missed tackles. We just needed to finish the plays.”

#14 Patrick Towles, QB

On if he is worried about the team and not seeing positive results …

“No, not at all. We are 4-4 right now, two-thirds through the season. If we finish 8-4 like I know we can, I will be very happy.”

On protecting their thoughts from last year’s troubles … 

“We need to just keep doing what we’re doing. We are a tight-knit family, we can’t point fingers. It’s not one person’s fault, it’s everyone’s fault. We have to get better and get back to work. I’m excited about Monday, getting another chance to play this game, and we’ll go down to Georgia and give them all we’ve got.”

On what he thinks UK needs to work on … 

“Execution. One play goes one way and we lose momentum, you see what happens on the scoreboard. There are a lot of talented football players on both sides of the ball who can make a lot of plays, and we just have to make more of them.” 

#4 Mikel Horton, RB

On him getting an opportunity and taking advantage of it … 

“I’m just going to take whatever opportunity I get and take advantage of it. The opportunity I got today I took advantage of it, and there’s more to come. I’m going to work harder to make Kentucky a perfect program. And my team is going to work harder too. “

On the team’s mental toughness … 

“Not really. I don’t feel like mentally is what is really messed up. It’s what we want to do as a team. Coaches can coach the game. It’s not a magic play that can win the game. It’s not a magic call that is going to stop the offense or defense. We have to take the steps to be a program that we said we want it to be. I feel like we are taking steps, but we have to make those steps count. Don’t go down but up, be consent with it not shaky with it.”

#45 Josh Forrest, LB

On if the game was a wake-up call … 

“It definitely was a wake-up call. I planned on having a closer game, a more hard fought game but it didn’t turn out that way.”

On if it felt like the mistakes snowballed … 

“It definitely did. Between the second quarter and the third quarter it had got bad really quick. While we are out there we don’t think about that. We try to think about the next possession and next play and do what we are taught.”

Tennessee Quotes

Head Coach Butch Jones

Overall thoughts on tonight’s win …

“I thought it was a very complete game. We challenged our football team all week long. This has to be a game of complimentary football. We had to play complimentary football and really complement each other in all three phases: offense, defense and special teams. We were able to do it. I thought our team showed some maturity on the road.”

On resiliency of his team…

“Our players have been through a lot this year and it’s kind of galvanized us as a football team and a football program. I’m really proud of them for that. We have a one-game approach. It doesn’t matter who our opponent is. Whether it’s Kentucky, it doesn’t matter. I have a lot of respect for Mark (Stoops) and what he’s building here as well.”

On improved pass rush …

“Our kids are playing with great get off. They’re using their hands. We’ve been able to generate a pass rush, not only on the edges now, but on the inside too. That creates many opportunities. They just had a relentless approach and they’re playing with a lot of confidence.”

On amount of injured players…

“We’re really banged up right now. I think that’s the other thing with this football team, is the amount of injuries that continue to accumulate. The next person steps up and makes plays. They’re doing everything physically possible to be out there.” 

On Evan Berry’s kickoff return for TD…

“He had that look in his eye. He was going to bring it out regardless. We have a lot of confidence in him and our entire kickoff return unit. We invest so much time in that and every time we go out on the field to return a kick, whether it’s punt return or kickoff return, everyone on our sideline expects a big play.”

On coaching adjustments throughout the game…

“Our coaching staff did a great job of making some in-game adjustments. They changed the blocking scheme and our players were able to adjust to it. That’s a part of the maturation of our football program and they were able to adjust. We were able to take advantage of that.”

#11 Joshua Dobbs, QB

On how it felt to make a big throw to Josh Malone against Kentucky …

“It was a shot play. We got pressure to the boundary and Jalen (Hurd) did a great job picking it up and Malone went over the top, and I was able to put the ball in the right location and that really helped. It was a big spark play. Kentucky had just gone down and scored a touchdown so having an answer and being able to do it in that fashion was good.”

On what it meant to have a big throw during a game and hitting a big deep ball down the sideline for a touchdown …

“I mean, it was a touchdown, I’ve hit deep balls before, but it was great to complete one for a touchdown.”

On finding the playmakers on the offense…

“It’s great to have playmakers on the team. We have playmakers across the board. Alvin (Kamara) keeps making big runs and guys are making crucial catches. It’s great to have that across the field, when you get to have that playmaker to be able to make a good play and pick up the slack.”

#6 Alvin Kamara, RB

On the slow start …

“We started a little bit slow, but we stayed on each other, hyped each other up, told each other to focus and we locked in and made some big plays.”

On the big run in the first half …

“It looked exactly how we had drawn it up in practice. The linemen got on their blocks and I hit it.”

On Evan Berry’s kickoff return for a touchdown …

“I know whenever Evan is back there and he gets the chance to catch the ball, field it, with an opportunity to come out, I call a touchdown every time. Whenever I start to see him go for it I just say, ‘Touchdown.’ I expect it. We celebrate but I expect it from him every time.”

On a dominant win like this one …

“It’s a testament to how hard we work in practice. We have to keep working harder and harder to keep stacking these wins like tonight.” 

#50 Corey Vereen, DL

On personal difference the past two weeks …

“I feel like I’m focusing on the little things day-to-day at practice. Pretty much just focusing more.”

On how he is playing like people expected him to play …

“You just have to keep fighting week in and week out. Whatever you are asked to do, you have to answer that call and play hard.”

On what it’s like on the sidelines when Cameron Sutton takes it back to the house …

“It’s electric. It’s playing three phases of football, everyone complementing each other, the offense, defense and special teams. When you see something like that it lifts everyone’s spirits.”

On consistency and making plays …

“Lately I’ve been finding out what works and what doesn’t work so you keep doing what does work and counter off that in terms of pass rush. Other than that, just playing ball. 

#29 Evan Berry, DB

On if the coaches let him run the kickoff return or if he did it on his own … 

“They just give me the green light to do whatever. We practice it enough and I know my decisions and how to judge the ball.”

On if he was frustrated at all because a lot of team’s kick touchbacks and don’t give him a chance …

“I wouldn’t call it frustration. I take it as more of a compliment because if they don’t kick it to me there’s obviously some kind of fear they have. ”

On what the return tying the record means … 

“It means everything to me, a record held by Willie Gault, who actually played with my dad, knowing that he holds a record that hasn’t been broken in 30 years is definitely a great feeling.”

#77 Kyler Kerbyson, OL

On what would he tribute the sloppy play early in the game to… 

“I think they had a good defensive scheme being in the bear front. It is harder to run the ball against and that’s what we want to do, run the ball.”

On how it felt to do a walkthrough in the Cincinnati Bengals’ stadium…

“It was cool. In the past three years I have been through three (NFL) stadiums. It is pretty cool to see how the next level facilities are and where they play. It was an all-around cool experience.”

On the team’s mentality after Kentucky’s fumble return for a touchdown…

“Well, there have been a lot of times in games things have not gone our way and we bounced back. We just needed to have confidence in each other and know that we were going to get back out there and score.”