Kentucky-Ohio Postgame Quotes

Sept. 6, 2014

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Kentucky Head Coach Mark Stoops

Mark Stoops: Excited to be 2-0. Maybe wasn't as pretty as we'd like it to be, but we're always going to respect wins. That's a good thing. We did some very good things, and then we did some things that we'll get cleaned up on film, so overall very pleased with the effort.

Q. Six takeaways, zero turnovers in the last two games; how big is that to you right now?

Mark Stoops: It's most important probably. If you're just going to look at statistics, that's a good one to start with. Very encouraged with the way we're taking care of the ball offensively. Creating some turnovers, and today there was a couple gifts in there, but we'll take them.

That's a good place to start.

Q. Was the game plan to run Patrick so much?

Mark Stoops: A little bit, and then some of it late in the game was just trying to milk it down a little bit. There were some opportunities there.

Q. Do you worry about him, 22 rushes?

Mark Stoops: Yeah, is that what it was?

Q. Yeah.

Mark Stoops: Yeah, we might have to back off that a little bit. No, but we've got a big game next week, obviously. I don't want to get too far ahead of myself, but we'll do whatever we have to do to try to win games, so if that's what it calls for, then Patrick will be glad to do it. Some of that he pulled it down and ran it, and he made some very good decisions pulling it down and running it.

Q. What do you like about him when he's able to lower his shoulders?

Mark Stoops: He's just a big guy. He's sneaky fast, and actually we're rubbing it in with some of our guys with our GPS in practice and in games. He actually hit the highest number a week ago. I'm not going to tell you what that number is because then it'll tell you about our other guys. But no, he ran -- he's sneaky fast. He's making good decisions. Wasn't perfect in all of his decision making today, but I liked the fact that me being a frustrated defensive coordinator all these years, when you have a quarterback wrapped up and they scramble out, it breaks your back, and that happened to us today defensively quite a bit, and very aggravating, especially at the end of the first half. But Patrick is doing that to people, too, which is good to see.

Q. How do you think you guys played overall defensively?

Mark Stoops: Okay. Okay. Again, it wasn't just lip service; we have a lot of respect for that team. They're a very good team. They went to five straight bowl games. I imagine they'll go again. They've got good players. They know what they're doing. They put stress on you, and they make you defend plays. You have to add numbers to their run games. They're very good at their shots. They know what they're doing, and they make it difficult for you. So overall I'm pleased. Are there things we can get better at? Absolutely.

Q. Talk about the importance of getting off to a 2-0 start.

Mark Stoops: Very important. It feels good. That's what I told the team. I was worried about that going into the game. We talked and talked and talked about one play, just truly one play at a time and stacking it on top of another. Your guys get excited and they want to do well and they want to go out and prove themselves. You can't go from 0 to 60; you've just got to stack plays on top of plays. With a young team they want to get out ahead of themselves a lot, and we've just got to learn to control what we can control and focus on each and every play.

Q. Was there maybe a lack of focus on the offensive end in the second half today?

Mark Stoops: I don't know if it's a lack of focus. Some missed opportunities I would say. There's really -- I was a little frustrated, but if you really look at it, if we get the ball on the 2, we've got to do a better job there. I'll take that and we'll get that corrected. We get the 1st and 2 (again), we'll give a better effort than we did there. But outside of that, then you miss two field goals and you drop one. Even with the stop on the goal line, that frustrates you a little bit. If you just catch the touchdown, then we're sitting here at 27, and it's something more to build on.

But it is what it is. It's a victory, and I just don't want our players getting down about victories. We'll take them any time, any way, and we'll do what we have to do to try to get those Ws.

Q. How concerned are you about Austin MacGinnis going forward and the misses in the last two games?

Mark Stoops: I'm not too concerned. He'll be okay. He'll be fine.

Q. Do you like us sitting here nitpicking your 17-point win?

Mark Stoops: I feel probably like you do. That's okay. That's a good thing. We want it that way. I want to continue to strive to get these victories and look pretty doing it, but again, all that matters is winning.

But progress; win or lose, progress. And we still made progress today. It's good to be in a tough game, things not go perfect and win.

Q. Did Timmons' unsportsmanlike cloud what was otherwise --

Mark Stoops: I don't know if it clouds it. It was a silly mistake that I don't anticipate that he would make again.

Q. He was just talking?

Mark Stoops: Yeah, that's the way -- I didn't see it but that's the way I understood.

Q. Is Zach West hurt?

Mark Stoops: He was. He had a weird injury late in the week. I don't know, it was -- maybe he got banged at practice, maybe he slept on it funny, but he just had like a nerve issue that should be worked out I'd imagine here in a day or two, but he didn't have full range in his neck so he couldn't play.

Q. Did you guys scout and see both of their quarterbacks, that second one they brought in?

Mark Stoops: Yeah.

Q. He's pretty shifty.

Mark Stoops: Yeah, he was. We had a little issue there. He was escaping the same way, and it was different guys all the time. He was thinking he was coming back through the pocket so they were trying to retrace and he kept on going out and losing contain, so we've just got to get things fixed. Last week it was some other issues. This week it's some of that and just fundamentally we've got to do things right and continue to improve and make guys understand things. That's why these games are so valuable to come out with a win but still get all this teaching and all that learning.

Q. We've been asking you about those gray uniforms for two years now. Why this game?

Mark Stoops: Yeah. We've never had those uni's until this week. I don't know what you guys are talking about. (Laughter.) Did you like them? I liked them.

Q. Any reason you went with them this week or --

Mark Stoops: Just no reason. No reason. Just felt like it was the right time.

Q. You've got such a young team. Do you think that they understand the step up they're going to have to take next week, or is that something you focus on in practice this week?

Mark Stoops: Yeah, I do. I think they understand that, and we've just got to keep on putting our head down and going to work and getting better, coaches and players and everybody, and we will.

Q. Anybody tell you this is the first time that a Kentucky team has two consecutive first half shutouts since 1988?

Mark Stoops: You know my man Tony (Neely) got me right off the field telling me that. I think he was trying to cheer me up telling me that. I got a smile out of that. That's good. It was good. You know, the defensive effort I thought -- there were times out there where, again, they were scratching us, moving it a little bit, and the guys buckled down and made some plays, and they put together that drive to start the second half that was good for them, and give them credit, they executed and they moved it and got a field goal, and our guys settled down and made some plays.

Again, you know, some of that there were some missed opportunities. I think we had a sack, we had a clear sack and just missed him. We had a good pressure called on 1st or 2nd down and we're going to get a 10-yard loss, instead they scramble out and get a 10-yard gain. That's a possession.

Q. What was the message to the team after the game?

Mark Stoops: The guys were a little -- they were excited. Once we cranked the music up and they got their dance on, they were having a good time. They enjoy it, and I wanted them to. I told them to enjoy the victory and not be sulking around. If things didn't go the way they wanted to individually, then go back to work and change it. We can't have any selfishness. It's about the team, it's about everybody getting better and everybody pulling for each other and doing the right things, so we've got to get rid of anybody that might have any individual thoughts. It's important that I want them to think about playing well for the team. They were excited, and we're glad to be 2-0.

Q. Do you anticipate getting Blue and Badet back for next week?

Mark Stoops: I don't know. Badet, no. Badet, no.

Q. What is the No. 1 thing that needs to be fixed? You said you needed to fix some things from last week and now this week.

Mark Stoops: When I was talking about that I was talking about contain on the quarterback. That's one that jumps out at me right away. Again, it's just about being disciplined in all phases and that takes a lot to be disciplined and focused and the game changes and there's many formations. They do a lot of good things that you have to be locked in on. So we've just got to continue to focus, and the big thing is do each individual job.

Q. Was Bud cramping?

Mark Stoops: Yeah, he was.

Q. And before he cramped, did you feel like he played better this week?

Mark Stoops: Yeah, he did. Guys, he did some very good things a week ago, and those guys, all of them up front, they want to make plays. They want to be active and all that, so they've just got to play within the defense, and the plays will be there. It's a long year.

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Kentucky Player Quotes

#45 Josh Forrest, LB

Josh on being 2 and 0…
“Feels good, we haven’t been 2 and 0 since I have been here.”

Josh on holding teams in first two games to 0 points in the first half…
“We’re just trying to do our job, everybody take one play at a time. And if we do that good things will happen.”

Josh on the team being more physical this year…
“Yeah I think so. One of the biggest emphasis in practice is being more physical and everyone winning their one-on-ones and things like that.”

#14 Patrick Towles, QB

Patrick on getting a lot of carries this game…
“We talked about it this past week, we felt like this is a game where I could do that a lot more. There was some plays that didn’t go as well as we would have liked so I just tried to make the best with what was handed to us.”

Patrick on what happened to the offense after the first couple of TDs…
“We took it down on the first drive (of the second half) and I just got sacked. We were moving the ball all day long, but if you don’t finish that can really hurt us. There were some plays that we should have finished but those are just things that we need to work on and we will do our best in practice to correct them.”

Patrick on being 2 and 0…
“That is exactly right, not to take anything away from that we got a big game next week. We will celebrate this one tonight, but we will get back to work tomorrow and get ready for Florida.”

#18 Stanley “Boom” Williams, RB

Stanley on the game next week against Florida…
“Florida is a really good team and so are we, so it should be a good game. Hostile environment that we are going to. Just like coach said, we have to comeback next week and really prepare, Thursday and Friday are the days that we really want to slow it down a little bit and really focus on Fundamentals.”

Stanley on his big run…
“Yeah, I kind of was able to see the hole. Coach told me to be really disciplined with my runs and follow my blockers and that is what I was really trying to do. Obviously, it worked out for me which I was very happy about.”

#1 Ryan Timmons, WR

On Kentucky’s execution in the red zone …
“We went into the red zone about four times and didn’t get a touchdown. It hurts leaving points up there on the board. We just need to watch film more and try to execute in the end zone.”

On why he was able to have a career day …
“Coach Brown did a great job calling plays, and the way we were playing, it was easy for us to pass, with me and Patrick (Towles).”

On whether or not he knew he had 10 catches …
 “No, I didn’t (know). I mean, that’s a pretty good day. I wish I had more (catches), I know I could have played better.”

#2 Dorian Baker, WR

On his first touchdown …
“It was a great feeling. It was just like, ‘dang, I didn’t even hit the end zone.’ But then when I saw the ref put his hands up, I’m like, ‘wow.’ I already scored my first touchdown in Commonwealth Stadium.”

On his block …
“I’m going out for a pass, thinking I’m about to get the ball. I see Patrick (Towles) taking off across the line of scrimmage, and a linebacker in pursuit. I said, ‘Oh, I’m about to take his head off.’”

On his relationship with Patrick Towles
“We definitely have a good relationship. When we go through our progressions in practice, he and I always work together. We let each other know what the corners are doing. ”

#2 Alvin “Bud” Dupree, DE

On his cramps …
“That cramp was horrible. I cramped a couple times last year, too. I have to get more water than I really need.”

On today’s performance …
“I think I played well today. I got a lot more holding calls. But it’s good, we got a win. That’s all that matters.”

On opening the season with consecutive victories …
“It feels great. It gives us a lot more confidence to go play Florida this week in The Swamp. It’s going to be a big game. We have a whole week of preparation to get ready for it. We just have to go out every day this week and prepare for it.”

Ohio Head Coach, Frank Solich

Opening Statement …
“I believe our guys played hard. I like the way they hung in there the entire ball game and battled. Obviously we didn’t execute as well as we needed to execute to be in this game at the end. But we did battle throughout the game, and I’m very pleased with that. I think Kentucky’s got a very good football team. They are very athletic. They’ve got good team speed. Their quarterback was able to make plays, both in the throwing game and in the running game, he kept some drives alive. But, in saying that, I think our defense played well enough. If we could have gathered an offense that was able to gain more first downs, especially early in the game and in the first half – to be able to put together some first downs and some ball control, and work field position – but it really didn’t happen that way.”

On his decision to play both quarterbacks…
“We wanted to give JD (Sprague) some playing time in this ball game, just like we intended to play some young defensive linemen. I think at one time we had three true freshmen linemen in the game at once. We need to get those guys some reps, and it’s the same thing at the quarterback spot. Both of those guys have preformed well enough in fall camp, leading up to this game, with the situations the way they were that they both got playing time today. And JD got in there and moved the team on a couple drives, so we stayed with him throughout most of the game then.”

On the way JD Sprague played after the slow start…
“I thought he responded well, you know, he had some scrambles and did a good job keeping some drives alive. He threw the ball well at times. So in the situation we handed him, I thought he preformed well.”

On the difference in the game after the first seven minutes…
“I’m not sure why we took a while to get going. I think they’re a good football time, so I think they had something to do with it. But in saying that, we did not execute very well early on in the game, and that cost us. They certain took advantage of that. But as the game went on we started making some plays offensively, we started to make a few plays defensively and pretty much got to where it became a punting game for both teams. Obviously the weather at the end had an affect on both teams, so it just played out the way it did. They got a great start. After we settled in I thought we battled them pretty good.”

Ohio Player Quotes

#32 Quentin Poling, LB

On trouble getting in sync …
 “I think a lot of it was just our execution.  We weren’t quite hitting our gaps right.  We came out a little bit on our heels and just weren’t executing well.”

On settling down the defense …  
“We really talked to each other and we got together.  We got a little energy going again and we made a couple big stops.  Then after that it just felt like we were at home then so we felt natural playing together and kept making some more stops even though they had some longer drives but we kept making stops.  It just felt better as the defense was out there.”

On outlook of game …
“The way I look at it is I’m happy that we gave up that 14-point deficit in six minutes or so and we came back and played the rest of the game.  The second half we came out and scored and made it even in the second half so I’m pretty happy with how we came back after our start.”

#3 JD Sprague, QB

On the huddle …
“(I’m) just trying to keep encouraging them. All week I had to prepare like I was going to go in, and when I did, it just came natural.  The other guys looked to me, and I think they didn’t lose faith in me, so they kind of trusted me to continue what we were going to do.”

On play in final two quarters …
“I did not expect it, but I was ready for it, and I was happy that I did but I prepared all week like I was going to play.”

On dropped balls …
“We just didn’t execute like we did last week.  I think last week we did a really good job at executing, but this week we had some mishaps with some of the protection and I had a lot of miscues as well.”