Kentucky-South Carolina Postgame Quotes

Oct. 5, 2014

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Kentucky Head Coach Mark Stoops

COACH Mark Stoops: It feels good. It's hard to describe how much pride you feel for the team, just for everybody in our organization.

You know to fight back through that adversity. To start down 14 points, what were we down in the fourth, 10 or 14 in the fourth? So, you know, it just felt uphill the whole game. Felt frustrating, felt like an uphill climb the whole game.

We talked about that before we went out that obviously it's going to start one of two ways. We're either going to start fast or face some adversity. And either way we were prepared for it.

And either way, there was a bunch of guys on that team in that locker room that were very united, that were going to stick together, and we were going to fight our way through that adversity.

That's a very good football team. Coach (Steve) Spurrier, I have so much respect for offensively, and he went to some -- not different things, because he's run all those sets before. But he featured them and kept us out and kept us really off balance. And it was very frustrating.

That's why he's a Hall of Fame coach and won an awful lot of football games. He took us out of some of the things we have been doing well. I don't know, maybe his quarterback was banged up a little bit throughout the week, whatever, they went to bigger sets, they just did a nice job.

He coached -- it was very frustrating from a defensive point of view. So to fight through all that and to come up with the big stops late and the special teams and the offense and the defense, just the whole group, it was truly a team win.

You know, it was one of the special atmospheres that I've been in because of what it means to this program, because of how far we've had to dig ourselves out of the hole. And guys have worked so hard and there's been total commitment from so many people that I mention all the time, from the fans, administration, and to our players.

I thank everybody for the great atmosphere and the great support and the commitment to our program. We always feel great -- we feel the urgency to put a great product on the field. We're getting there. We're getting better and better. We're not where we want to be. We can still play a lot better.

There's a lot more in our tank, and we'll continue to try to do our very best. But for tonight, again, just have great respect for South Carolina, Coach Spurrier and that program. And we're trying to build a program that everybody's very proud of. So I thank you.

JoJo (Kemp), so proud of JoJo. I think that was, other than some special guests we have sometimes when we honor somebody, that was the first game ball I gave out tonight.

Called JoJo up and gave him a game ball. Because just sheer determination that he had. He put the team on his back. He was trying to come out of the game once. I said: That's it; no more. You stay in there, grind it out. And he did.

And he really dug deep. And our offensive line did a great job. Neil (Brown) did a great job keeping them off balance. And it was just special to see him grind it out like that and make those big plays.

Q. Not many teams can get down 14 twice and come back and win the game. How do you guys stay focused when you get down like that?

COACH STOOPS: I think it happens by everything that we do in the program, all offseason, everything we do day to day. And we're far from perfect.

But I hope you all know that it's not just lip service. We work extremely hard to develop character in our program. And again we're not where we want to be. We all make mistakes. We're not perfect.

But that's why. That's how. Just the work that they do in the offseason and the leadership program that we're trying to develop and making strides in and just everything that we do. But the team is very united and they've shown some real toughness.

Q. At the end, what did you see defensively there?

COACH STOOPS: Just somebody batted it up. I saw it floating up in the air. Felt like it was up there for five minutes. I was hoping somebody would run underneath it. I saw Bud (Dupree) get it -- it was Bud, right? Yeah.

Q. Did you know you scored all five touchdowns out of the Wildcats?

COACH STOOPS: Did we really?

Q. Coming in, did you know that was going to be a huge part of the plan, what you developed there?

COACH STOOPS: I think just what South Carolina and Coach Spurrier were doing, they were doing some things to us that were very hard that we were having a hard time finding an answer.

And I think it's always that old cliché, you're going to scratch where it itches. If you can't get it stopped, you're going to keep on doing it.

We had a hard time defending certain sets from them that we've got to do a better job, and we will. But we did make some and we did get some stops.

And it was the same way with us. We'll run that package, and we have several plays off of it. And if they're not stopping it, we're going to keep grinding it out.

Q. What did you say to the defense after South Carolina had driven those three touchdown drives to go up 14 in the fourth quarter?

COACH STOOPS: I can't say that in here. (Laughter). I mean it.

Q. Did you tell them to turn it around?

COACH STOOPS: We've gotta do a better job, I've gotta do a better job -- we've got to have some answers. And we maybe didn't have as many answers as we needed to out of certain sets and certain personnel groupings. And we've gotta do a better job.

And there were some things that -- and I was really getting angry because I give credit where credit is due. They did some really good things and there's some things we need to play better. Quit looking around for guys to make plays; you make a play. That's where I started challenging them. That's where I had enough. Quit looking around. Quit looking for a call. Somebody dig in and make a play.

Q. What was the locker room like after the game, did you acknowledge --

COACH STOOPS: No, we just jumped up and down. I'm done with the dancing. But it was a lot of fun. Guys were celebrating. And I think very grateful for each other and the team that we have and where we're going.

There's a lot of pride in there. Again, we're far from where we need to be. But I'm just proud of the strides that we have made.

Q. Any emotional reaction?

COACH STOOPS: Yeah, sure. I did. I mean, not so much in there. But it was an emotional night, frustrating night. Like I said, I don't want to get into it all again. The way we started, the way they were moving the ball, grinding it back, then they go ahead and all that. So it was an emotional day.

Q. (Question about Josh Forrest)

COACH STOOPS: I'm not sure. I couldn't tell a lot of things. I usually generally -- things stick in my mind are mistakes. I don't want to put all that out there right now. But he always does some good things.

And I think he made a few mistakes here and there. But we all did, all of us.

Q. Big third and three. You were down seven, I don't remember exactly how much time was left, but you stopped them there. Were you surprised at all they went away from the run? Their three and they --

COACH STOOPS: And they threw it. No. I really -- I remember the play. But I can't remember the situation. I think we had a few stops and started to slow them down some, getting them some better stops.

Q. What do you think tonight does for your program?

COACH STOOPS: I think it meant a lot. I think it's a big step. And we're very grateful for it. And as I just told them, I really want them to dig down, and there's a lot more in there for us. We could play better. And we can all do our job better. But very grateful for the effort.

Q. For a program that hasn't had a lot of success, how do they win a game like this?

COACH STOOPS: Again, it's gotta go back to everybody in the organization. I have a lot of good people that, excellent coaches, everybody in our building, everybody in our program is very united and has one goal and really works well together. And the players see that. And the players are the same.

So there's a lot of good people that have helped us get to that point. And we're 4 and 1 and that feels good and really want to enjoy this, and they should. It was a great night for our program, for our fans and for everybody. And really want to deliver more and get better.

Q. Where would this defense be without A.J.?

COACH STOOPS: Not as good. Not as good. He's a very good football player and very good instincts. So we're glad we have him.

Q. You said you wanted to see what this place would look like when -- what was it like?

COACH STOOPS: I have a lot of family and friends in town. And a lot of them have been to a lot of our games all over, whether it be Oklahoma or Air Force and all these places, and they commented on it. And I felt like that. It was as good of energy as any place I've been.

And I just wish we could have -- we quit going down 14 because it kind of deflated us a little bit, but then we brought them all back. I thought it was great energy all night.

Q. Is this the first time you've been through this as a head coach? Can you make a stab at it?

COACH STOOPS: It's hard. It's really hard to put into words. I think just I feel very proud of the whole group and all the work that we put in. And it was emotional. I felt overwhelmed at times when I was on that field. It happened so quick.

I was frustrated a lot of the night. But just very grateful, I think, is the thing that comes to mind and appreciate the guys in that locker room.

Q. We talked a lot about turning the corner. Do you feel like this team turned a corner tonight?

COACH STOOPS: If we go out and win next week and take care of business, I think we do. I mean that. That's the thing in this business, you've got seven days to be humbled. And then we'll keep that in mind and really appreciate and respect all wins and then try to get back to work and really play a quality game next week.

Q. Not to downplay Monroe, but do you feel you're ready for a break in SEC play?

COACH STOOPS: We can't even attempt to think that way against Monroe because they'll beat our butts. They've won a lot of football games and are well coached. It's not even going to enter our mind. It's not easy. It is what it is.

You have to dig down and do what you can do to get your rest and the guys gotta be back and ready to practice. That's how you become a successful program and not just have these ups and downs.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

Kentucky Student-Athletes

#14 Patrick Towles, QB

On how they are playing so far:
“When we can get in there and really just run at will it’s going to help us beat a lot of people this year.”

On what it’s like to see the fans on the field after the game:
“We win for them. They’re as much a part of this team as I am. It’s great to see my  family after the game, it’s awesome!”

On Jojo Kemp:
“He’s a great player. The ball is in great hands when it’s in his hands. He made a lot of really good plays and I trust whatever Coach Brown does.”

#3 Jojo Kemp, RB

How he is feeling after the win:
“I’m feeling good I’m just happy to get a victory we work hard and we practiced hard all week and it finally showed.”

On his ability to run the ball in the Wildcat formation:
“My whole line was out there hungry and fighting for every yard I got. So I have to give the praise to my whole line.”

On his thoughts going into next week’s game:
“We are out here trying to fight and we are going to show the world what UK football is made of.”

#5 Ashley Lowery, S

On the victory tonight
“It feels great.  We keep battling through adversity and keep fighting.  This team has so much passion to win.”

On his interception late in the game:
“We practice the two-minute situation in practice every week.  The coaches always say, ‘Do your 1/11th of the defense.  My 1/11th was to stay high and intercept any pass that gets overthrown.  The ball came my way and I was able to catch it.”

#1 Ryan Timmons, WR

On the victory:
“The win feels good.  We struggled a lot in the first half on offense but JoJo (Kemp) carried us in the second half. “

On his touchdown catch:
“I’m supposed to pretend to block for Javess on the sweep, then sneak past the defense.  Once I caught the ball it was a footrace to the end zone.”

#2 Bud Dupree, DE

On the feeling of scoring:
“It’s great, you know I haven’t scored a touchdown since high school. It’s always a good feeling to get in the end zone.”

On the magnitude of the play:
“It’s still really hard to take in and that one play really just changed the game.”

On if the interception was instinctive or if he had time to think:
“I didn’t think about dropping it at all, I just thought about getting it and running.”

On if the ball looks big or small in the air:
“When I see the ball the ball gets big. My eyes get big. Just catch it.”

#1 A.J. Stamps, S

On his interception…
I see the ball, I am a ball hawk, I have to go get it. When the ball is in the air, I have to go get it. It was just a good play by the defense as a whole and the kind of play for me to make and I made it. The defense was behind me every step and it was just turned out to be a good play for the defense.

On being down twice by 14 and not quitting…
Yes it is easy to quit but we just stuck together. That is what Coach talked about before the game. He said things are not going to go as planned and sometimes it is going to get off script but you just have to stick together and encourage each other. And not fall apart and stick together through adversity.

On the atmosphere of the locker room after the game…
Of course, this is the best locker room I have ever been in. It is like this every win.

#69 Matt Elam, DL

On what it was like being on the field after the game…
It was crazy, I have never experienced nothing like that. Everybody rushing the field and we were in the middle so we just started celebrating. It was an amazing win and good victory, obviously we came back. It was nice just being down there with the team and everybody that supports us.

On interacting with the fans on the field…
There was a lot of fans hitting and smacking me, telling me great job. It made me feel good about myself but I still have a long way to go. It was just crazy the whole atmosphere with all the fans rushing the field and everything. That was kind of cool.

#50 Mike Douglas, DL

On Bud Dupree’s interception…
I was just hoping that my hand was in the right place at the right time, just cause I did not know where the ball was going to go out. I was just hoping that my hand was going to hit the ball. Something happened, tipped it and was hoping it would go somewhere.

On how big of a win this was for the team…
It means a whole lot for us. We knew on the sidelines that the defense played horrible tonight. I thank Pat and everybody on the offense for just keeping us in there. And when it came to crunch time, we had our teammates back and there were a lot of times that we let the offense down but I am glad they gave us one more opportunity to go out there. And we bowed up when it counted most.

South Carolina Head Coach Steve Spurrier

Opening Statement
“Okay I’m not going to yell and scream. Everybody saw what happened. They scored more points than we did; they got a deflection and a touchdown and they beat us. They had a lot of guys play pretty well and probably a lot that didn’t play well, but overall as a team we got beat. Simple as that. Got beat.”

On wildcat formation…
“Obviously we can’t stop it. Obviously we cannot stop that kid in the wildcat.”

On the thought of running the ball after UK’s go-ahead interception…
“It was two minutes. We got a two-minute drill. We thought of it. We don’t usually make as long of runs as other teams do. Although, Mike Davis had some good runs. Brandon Wilds had some early. They all had some good ones, but obviously not  good enough. Y’all watched it. We’re not a great team. You know that. Hopefully we play better the rest of the season. I told the guys we’re going to try to have a winning season somehow and we have to do some work to do that. We’ll obviously try to make some changes somewhere. I don’t know exactly where, but we have to do something different.”

On “talent issue” with USC…
“I’ll let you guys make that decision. Just write what you see. Wish we could’ve made some better calls. Wish our kickoff guy would’ve kicked it deep. For some reason we’re trying that grounder ball. I don’t know why. We got issues on a little bit of everything and you lose a close game and everything comes back to haunt you a little bit. You could probably say that if he kicked it off to the 20 or if they got it on the 50 because we couldn’t stop the wildcat guy (Jojo Kemp). That maybe had nothing to do to with the game, but yeah it was amazing. We were running one play and they were running one play most of the whole game. We probably should’ve run ours more often as it turned out. Didn’t block it correctly there when we had to punt the next to last time when we had a seven-point lead. Other than that, a lot of guys played pretty well and a lot not so well. That’s just the way it is right now”

On motivating the team…
“Well we’ll take some time off. We’ve got a team we’ll be favored over I think. We’ll be favored over Furman. We have to find a way to do a lot better to try to have a winning season. That’s where we are now. Every game is down to the wire like this except the first one and we’ve won several close ones and now we’re losing some close ones. It is what it is.”

On re-evaluating positions…
“Well we’ll just evaluate our players. We’ll see if we can get some guys on the field who haven’t maybe played much yet and see if they can make some plays.”

South Carolina Student-Athletes

#17 Dylan Thompson, QB

On back-to-back late fourth-quarter loses….
“We just have to finish. That is for everyone in the locker room, starting with me. We just have to finish, and we haven’t done that. “

On if the team thought a loss like this could happen after preseason expectations….
“You never know how a season is going to turn out, you don’t. Obviously you don’t expect to lose a game where things are going well, where you feel like you have control of it, and just blow it, and that’s what we did.”

On if he blames himself after this loss….
“I mean you can’t turn the ball over three times on the road and expect to win, and I was the reason for that.”

#28 Mike Davis, RB

On if the team should have run the ball towards the end of the game….
“That’s not my decision, I’m not the type of guy to go to coach and tell him I want the ball or whatever, but at times I want the ball, but I’m not going to go to coach and tell him I want the ball. My coaches are here for a reason, they are the ones calling the plays and getting paid.”

On back-to-back late fourth-quarter loses…
“It’s frustrating, but you know we have leaders on our team that pick guys up, telling guys that it’s not over, it’s not the end of the world.”

On if it’s frustrating losing while scoring 38 points…
“It’s not all the defense’s fault, it’s on the offense too. We had some three and outs where we should have kept the ball a little longer, so it’s not all defense, some of it is on the offense too.”