Kentucky-UT Martin Postgame Quotes

Aug. 30, 2014

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Kentucky Head Coach Mark Stoops

COACH STOOPS: Good start obviously. Very pleased with the team's effort. I felt good. I felt like we really had a good attitude the last -- well, all through camp we've been working hard but I thought the last week or so guys were really focused and they were really energetic. Just pleased with the start. There's a lot to get corrected, but overall a lot of good things.

Q. (Question regarding how important a good start was for the program.)

COACH STOOPS: It's important. It's important. And I've said that, you know, earlier in the week, that it was important for our team and for our fan base and our administration, a lot of people that have worked awfully hard to push this program where we want it to go.

It was important to have a good start, for our team, I thought, and obviously, most importantly to our group and our team because they have worked hard. They have bought in, they have believed in everything that we're feeding them. Like I said, I really felt good about the energy and the enthusiasm and their focus. So it was important to go out and play well.

And, you know, it was an opponent that we should go out and play well, and it was good to see that we did that.

Q. (Question regarding A.J. Stamps play.)

COACH STOOPS: Yeah, I did. And he even turned it up another notch. You guys have all heard me talk about that and talk about him, and I think you saw it out there today.

What I really liked about him was, obviously the interception was a fantastic play, but the way he triggered in the run game, and his reads were very correct and very quick.

And so when he pulled the trigger, it was on. So really impressed with him. You know, I talked about that and I talked about how he was going to help us and it was very evident today.

Q. (Question regarding Braylon Heard’s play.)

COACH STOOPS: I was disappointed it was only two runs. He made a great move on that second one. I don't know if you saw the replays or not but he eluded that last swipe and he twisted his ankle. I hope it's nothing major.

But very disappointed for him and for us that that happened but I think what you saw with his two runs was just what we've been talking about. Not only the ability, but those were -- in a way, routine plays, because it was blocked and he had the patience to say with it and do things that we're supposed to do. Maybe not take it all the way but there were plays and yards that he doesn't get antsy and jump out of there and stays with his progression and stays with his read and executes the way we're supposed to.

Q. What did you think of Patrick (Towles)?

COACH STOOPS: I was very pleased with Patrick. Very happy for him.

The big thing was, to me, he was very poised and he made very good decisions. You know, we know he has the talent to get the ball down the field. I think it was important for him to be efficient in the intermediate area and I thought he did that. He missed a couple, but overall, just very pleased with his poise. Made one or two bad decisions and was nice that he bounced right back and made good decisions, and so it's going to happen. He needed to play and play well, so it was good.

Q. Do you feel like maybe you got pushed around a little bit up front?

COACH STOOPS: I don't know if “pushed around” is the right word. It was aggravating at times, and then it was great to see once you're getting aggravated and you're getting milked a little bit down the field, the guys step up and get a turnover.

So that part of it was fantastic. Late in the game, it was aggravating, but that's where we're at. We're not deep. I think in the first half, they had a hundred yards and there was just a few aggravating drives that were scratching us a little bit and we buckled down and got out of there.

The second half we got down in the twos and threes and we're just not there yet. That's how it was all last year, very aggravating.

Q. (Question regarding Matt Elam playing 11 straight snaps.)

COACH STOOPS: That's good, I didn't realize that. That's good. He needs it. But I know it's hard for me to just watch one person in there. But I know he did some good things, and you know, and some bad things. He's a work-in-progress like I said but it was a good start for him.

Q. (Question regarding Matt Elam getting double teamed.)

COACH STOOPS: Yeah, I think when he's directly over center, he's very disruptive. He needs to learn how to play when he's shaded a little bit in our throw down stuff.

Q. What did you think of your first-time guys?

COACH STOOPS: I was pleased. I was pleased with the first-time guys. I think there was one play that jumped out at me. I think Ramsey (Meyers) got beat quickly, but other than that, I didn't notice them. They were executing the offense and we were down one tackle, you know, still played very well in the O-line.

So I was very pleased with that. I was very pleased with the young guys in general. You can see the ability of some of the guys that we've been talking about, all the freshmen running backs, the freshmen wide receivers looked very poised out there and made some good plays. Overall, pleased. Kendall Randolph did a nice job. He played a few snaps and played well.

Q. The receivers, the young ones, what you particularly liked about them?

COACH STOOPS: To me what was great to see -- you know, it was just like they just went out there and played, and that's what they have been doing since they have been here.

Obviously we know the venues are going to get bigger and bigger, bigger games and tougher opponents and things like that. But still they need to mature and get better and we know that. But I can just tell their mentality that they are ready to play, and so that was good.

Like I said, the environment wasn't too big. They weren't rattled at all. They just went out there and played ball. Sometimes it looks routine, but like I told you many times since I've been here, we didn't always make the routine plays look routine.

Q. (Question regarding if today’s effort will hold up against other opponents.)

COACH STOOPS: Oh, yeah, we know what we're up against, but our guys have a good mentality. They are very positive and they have been that way for some time. We're worried about ourselves and our program and what we're doing to get better.

Q. Is there one thing today that really stood out and made you happy?

COACH STOOPS: I just think -- really just clean. I think they were just -- it was relatively clean. Probably late in the game maybe it gets a little frustrating, sloppy.

But the first half, I was pleased. We came out and we wanted to start fast. We did. The guys were very energetic, but yet we went out and played with good poise and that's where -- that was good to see. You know, I would definitely want to say, load and giddyup. So they had a good attitude about it.

Q. (Question regarding Ohio.)

COACH STOOPS: Significant. Significant. Good football team and well-coached.

Q. At half-time, 20 new guys had made their debut and you're looking out there, do you feel you're coaching a completely different team today?

COACH STOOPS: Yeah, definitely. And it is, and it's certainly different.

Again, I think whether it was young guys or older guys getting better, it was nice to see guys making ball plays and just doing some things that just, you know, going up over somebody, making a catch, running backs making people miss, O-line getting some big holes in there. So that I was pleased with.

Q. (Question regarding Thaddeus Snodgrass.)

COACH STOOPS: Possibly. He tweaked a hamstring about a week ago or a few days ago, sometime this week. But we may redshirt him.

Q. (Question regarding Josh Clemons.)

COACH STOOPS: You know, there's a lot of guys that were getting some reps and getting some other guys in the mix. He'll get in there and he'll continue to work in the rotation.

Q. (Question regarding if Josh Clemons played.)

COACH STOOPS: I'm not sure how many snaps he had, but no, he started in one of our packages, and as many reps as we were in there, he was the starter. I'm not sure of the exact number at all.

Q. How important was it getting the interceptions? You didn't get that many last year in DBs.

COACH STOOPS: It was important. It was good. It was good to see. You know, I got very creative there when we designed a very fancy defense and went out there and made that play (Laughter). I did. I taught them how to go at one hand and grab that. (Laughter) That's how we drew it up -- (Laughter).

Q. The linebackers going into this -- how did it look to you?

COACH STOOPS: We made some mistakes but they will get better. They have what it takes athletically. You know, there were some mistakes that we'll definitely need to correct but we'll play well. We'll get them corrected, and that's why we get out there this that first game and play and able to overcome them and eventually we won't be able to, so we just have to keep honing in on that.

Q. (Question regarding Bud Dupree’s play today.)

COACH STOOPS: It is, but you would suspect that. This group, they were smart. They were getting rid of the ball quick. Any time they were backed up, they were getting a screen or they were getting a draw. They were well-coached. They knew they would have a hard time blocking those guys and they weren't going to let them get there. So that's part of it for him and that's a compliment.

Q. You were pretty careful to manage expectations last year. How much optimism are you allowing?

COACH STOOPS: That's a good question. I think I've been saying all along that we're better. I think it was privy evident today we were better. Watching our team practice the other day and watching our offense go up and down the field on air, it's evident they were better.

I've said it over and over again, there were times when we couldn't do the basics; and we are significantly better, and we're significantly getting better playmakers.

So I have a lot of optimism. I don't know, we always take it one day at a time and one week at a time. Again, I know that's boring, but we're 1-30 and excited about that and look forward to get back to work and prepare to get one next week.

Q. The old football adage -- week one, week two -- do you expect that to happen?

COACH STOOPS: I do, because that first game, there's so much unknown. And again, I've said this, I'm a second-year head coach but I've been an assistant for a long, long time and it's always like that as an assistant or a head coach.

You never really truly know what you have. It's good to get that first game and get out there and play and see how they are going to handle things and see what it's like in a game day environment. I do think we are going to improve.

Q. Patrick's demeanor and leadership on the sideline, what do you think of that?

COACH STOOPS: Very good. Just like -- you know, I was just very pleased with that and with his heritage, you would expect that. He just was very poised. He's been like that for some time.

You know, I think he's told you that and you'll talk to him I think here in a bit, but he went back, did the work. He's prepared really well. He feels very confident and just was letting it go, and just running the offense. That was just really good to see. I thought he had a lot of poise and he played very well.

Q. Were you happy when you got them two picks --

COACH STOOPS: I was happy, yeah. (Laughter).

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Kentucky Player Quotes

#14 Patrick Towles, QB

On how he felt coming into the game …
“I was very nervous. I didn’t get much sleep last night. I got some sleep, but not as much I would have liked too. I was just ready to go, I wanted to get out there and start playing.”

On how his confidence is improving …
“I felt like I did well as a whole. There were a couple bad decisions that were made by me but as you saw, I did what coach has been wanting me to and that was coming out in the next series and making two good decisions that canceled out my bad ones.”

On the play of Braylon Heard
“Braylon (Heard) was awesome for the offense. He had the two big huge runs that were both for touchdowns. He ran the ball efficiently and was very disciplined with waiting for his blocks and not trying to all different types of spins and things like that.”

On the crowd today …
“The fans were awesome. I really loved the support they gave us today. I was happy that we were able to give them a good show. I know they have really been aching for some good football and I felt like today they got what they wanted.”

#1 A.J. Stamps, S

On his first game at UK …
“It feels great to be able to go out there and get that first game out of the way with a full stadium of 60,000 people and just go out and play ball and see how it’s going to be the rest of the season.”

On the one-handed interception …
“It was a nice feeling. I just saw the ball and had to go get it and make the play and fortunately it was me. That’s something you do as a kid. I was out there practicing my one-handed catches before the game. It’s just something you have to be prepared for.”

On fixing his turnover problem from 2013 …
“I was very aware. That’s all we hoped  in the spring and in the summer and all we talked about and I told them we’re going to go out and change it this year and create some turnovers. We did today and hopefully can do it the rest of the season.”

#6 Blake Bone, WR

On his first touchdown …
“It was overwhelming. I had everything set up to do a little dance or something, but when you get that first touchdown as a freshman I guess every emotion just hits you and it just feels good to get in the end zone.”

On blocking for Patrick Towles’ touchdown and his blocking …
“It’s just little things we work on in practice and I’m glad I got to showcase that. You know you don’t see many wide receivers doing that in the SEC. I’m glad I could help my team out and help Patrick get in the end zone with that block.”

On Patrick Towles’ performance …
“I think Patrick played excellent. You’ve seen his numbers. Numbers don’t lie. He basically gave the football in an ‘Air Raid’ and it was fun to go out and catch balls from him today.”

#45 Josh Forrest, LB

On if he surprised himself …
“I did what I thought I would do.”

On transitioning as a player …
“I feel like I am where I need to be now, hopefully it pays off.”

On playing well in the first game…
“It gives us a lot of momentum and that’s the only thing we harp on, is coming out fast and starting out fast.”

On if the team seemed different …
“Yes it does. We have more players in every spot. I feel like when we got here we had a few good players in different positions and now I feel like we’re solid.”

#5 Braylon Heard, RB

On the details and discipline they learn in practice …
“Coach stresses that all the time, we’ve got to be disciplined in our runs and in our assignments.”

On his second touchdown …
“I’m just trying to take advantage of each carry.”

UT Martin Head Coach Jason Simpson

Opening statement …
“I haven’t seen the stat sheet, I am sure it is a lot to a little. First of all, tell Coach Stoops and his staff great job preparing. Obviously they outcoached and certainly outplayed us. Hopefully they go down the road and win a bunch of ball games, they are a good staff and he is going to get this program going in the right direction. As far as we are concerned, there were not a lot of positives. I am disappointed in that and I am responsible for that. Defensively, to many big plays. Anytime you give up 50-something points, I can handle 12 or 13 play drives that is part of football and that is great execution but when you are letting guys go, big plays for 50-yard runs and things like that, that is unacceptable. It better get fixed, and I believe it will. So we will get back to work this week, we go to Central Arkansas, outstanding team on the road again before we get back at home. My expectations are to see a much better football team next week, regardless of the caliber of opponent we play.”

On the positives he saw in the game…
“I don’t know if I saw any positives defensively, I mean I am going to put that out there. Offensively, we played a bunch of running backs but we still turned the ball over four times. Those quarterbacks need to play better then they did today. Dylan (Favre) had the two turnovers. The positive was that Caylon Weathers caught a touchdown pass, redshirt freshmen. Very proud of him, that was a positive play. I saw Najee Ray make a couple plays. There were some guys that were back-ups last year who did step in and you saw a glimmer but we just need more consistency from them.”

On Kentucky’s two long touchdown runs…
“I mean you are going to have big runs, don’t get me wrong. We are going to look at it on tape. I know we missed a tackle on one, we were playing man coverage so some guys were running off. So when you have six guys in the box and the guy did not make the tackle, there is no one else left. Apparently from what I understand, it was a defensive lineman on another play who did not get in his gap. So when they spread you out, that is the advantage of being spread out like that. Two guys on defense getting the same gap, and they have some quality running backs come out of there, and we could not make a play.”

UT Martin Players

#40 Tony Bell LB

On how he would assess his play …
“We were having a lot of assignment issues in the early part of it that we have to fix to get better next week.”

On what he told his defense after the opening UK touchdown …
“We just have to stay focused. You can't blast anybody. It's a team effort, we all have a job to do. If one person doesn't do their job, it can go for a touchdown. So we have to keep our guys heads up the whole game.”

On how he thinks they handled Kentucky …
“I feel like we handled it well for the most part. We lined up for the next play and just played the next play out of short term memory.”

#13 Jarod Neal QB

On how he asses his play today …
“We didn't play good enough. They kicked us. They deserve it. They played better than us, and it's simple as that.”

On what he saw from UK …
“Speed. They were really fast. They were faster than our guys and when they needed to make a play, they made the play. They played sound.”

#24 Abou Toure RB

On how he asses his play today …
“It was just a total team loss. We have to make more plays on offense and get stops on defense. It's that simple at the end of the day.”

On making plays on offense …
“We were getting good plays, but we weren't capitalizing on them. We were needing to get the big plays to hype everybody up, but we weren't getting them like we needed too.”

On where the skilled positions can improve after today's loss …
“We just have to learn. Like receivers and running backs, it's important to make a play. When your number is called you have to step up and make that play. And even though we were covered, that doesn't give you an excuse to not catch the ball. You have to go up and catch the ball when it's your turn.”