Kentucky-Alabama State Postgame Quotes

Nov. 3, 2013

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Kentucky Head Coach Mark Stoops

COACH STOOPS: Good win. It's good to get that victory. It's been a while. So any time you get a win, you have to appreciate it. And our players have worked hard and we've been fighting and clawing and scratching trying to get a win, so it was good to get a victory tonight. Still have a lot of work to do. We all know that and can see that, but I was pretty pleased with their effort and preparation and going out there and taking care of business.

Q. Do you see the confidence build as the game wore on and good things were happening on the field?

COACH STOOPS: I don't know. I'm not trying to be -- believe me, we know any win is a win. I'll take one more than anything, but it just feels like we have a lot of work to do. It feels like we're still just not executing the way we can, and that's frustrating.

Q. (Question regarding the play and toughness of Jalen Whitlow.)

COACH STOOPS: I did, yeah. I did. It was good to see him. I thought he stepped up and accepted that and wanted to go out there and play the whole game if need be. I felt like he pulled it down and ran around and created and made some plays when we needed him, so that was good to see.

Q. (Question regarding Javess Blue being lost due to injury in warmup and Alexander Montgomery’s injury.)

COACH STOOPS: Yeah, I'm better off just staying away from commenting on that, but it's frustrating, that's for sure. Yeah, we lose Javess in pregame. He was just out there throwing it around like the guys do, getting out there, getting loose, and just took a ball right in the eye. So that closed up and he couldn't see out of it. Then I popped him in the other eye; he couldn't see out of that one (laughing). So he had two black eyes.

No, you guys are going to put that in print and people are going to start arresting me. You know I'm joking. Then with Alex, that was really disappointing with Alex, and we'll see. Hopefully, it's not serious, but I'm afraid it may be because he's been solid all year and getting better for a young guy. To get that touchdown, we've got to learn to celebrate better.

Q. (Question on the quarterback position being Jalen’s job from here on out.)

COACH STOOPS: Yeah. Yeah, it is. It's his job right now. So we need him to continue to improve.

Q. Is it consistency?

COACH STOOPS: His reads and his progressions and there were some things out there and some plays out there, and they were in his progression. Those are things we have to get better at. That's why we're not throwing the ball as well as we can right now. So if it's him on the progression one play and then somebody else busting an assignment on the next or not running the route right, it's just a variety of issues that we need to get better at.

Q. (Question regarding the possibility of having to pull a redshirt from a QB.)

COACH STOOPS: Yeah, I didn't want to make that call. We didn't want to play Reese, so that's good.

Q. (Question regarding Alabama State’s touchdown drive and run ability of ASU running back Isaiah Crowell.)

COACH STOOPS: Yeah, I thought he made us miss early. I thought we were hesitant, and that was frustrating me that we were just siting there and not reacting fast enough and then they missed the tackle because we were late with our read. Then to get down there and a good back will make you miss, and he did that. So take nothing away from him. He's a great player. We all know that. He could play with any team in the SEC.

He's a good player and made a good run early, made us miss. But those were some of the things that were a little bit frustrating to me.

Q. (Question regarding this win helping the team’s confidence.)

COACH STOOPS: Yeah, definitely, we desperately needed a win and we got one, so that definitely feels good.

Q. (Question regarding the team responding to ASU’s first-quarter touchdown drive with a touchdown and good defensive play and if it was good for him to see that.)

COACH STOOPS: Yes, I was. I felt like we were pretty solid for the rest of the way until we gave up the big one. But sometimes it's just frustrating, and maybe that's the old defensive coordinator in me. You're always nitpicking and upset about the plays that are out there. You know, we just -- we're just trying to get better every play. So those are some very good things out there, and there are some things that are frustrating.

Q. (Question regarding injury on a touchdown celebration and how he will address it with the team.)

COACH STOOPS: I think we need to talk about it certainly because we may have gotten somebody seriously injured doing that. And somebody was telling me today, I guess, a Georgia player or something did the same in the first game, you know, so we definitely need to look at it.

Q. You have to worry about how you control the celebrations?

COACH STOOPS: Yeah, absolutely, yeah. Yeah, that's for sure.

Q. (Question regarding Kentucky creating several turnovers in the game.)

COACH STOOPS: I don't know if there is any magic formula for that. I know when guys are hustling to the football and playing extremely hard, generally you can get some good bounces. So it was good to get -- I think we got two turnovers, two fumbles. We're having a hard time getting interceptions, but we're getting fumbles, which is a good thing.

But I'm very impressed and pleased with the offense. I believe this is a school-record fourth straight game (with no turnovers). I probably shouldn't even mention it, knock on wood there, fourth straight games without a turnover. That's pretty good by our offense and our players of being conscious of ball security.

Q. Talk about getting better in the passing game and stuff like that. That touchdown was that a positive sign that, hey, he threw it to the final guy that was open?

COACH STOOPS: Yeah, that was good to hit that one. We had to throw it a little bit more than we wanted to in the second half and just continue to work on things and try to get better as a football team.

Q. (Question regarding Ryan Timmons.)

COACH STOOPS: He's beat up. That was going to be the last couple of plays he was going to be in the game too. We just thought we'd get him to get his confidence going again and get him ready for the next week. The ball was behind him and just kind of a freak twist of the ankle. So he had his shoulder earlier in the game and then he had an ankle there. So I believe the shoulder shouldn't be anything too serious, but we'll see where the ankle injury goes.

Q. As a head coach, when do you turn your attention towards Missouri?

COACH STOOPS: Tomorrow morning.

Q. Will this be celebrated?

COACH STOOPS: I don't think so. It's a little late right now, isn't it? That game felt like it went forever. I mean, so, yeah.

Q. (Question regarding the team’s play late in the game.)

COACH STOOPS: Yeah, from a lot of points, a lot. The whole fourth quarter. I was getting frustrated. Then we put in quite a few subs and we kept on getting some negative yardage and trying to just throw easy throws like bubbles and things to get a few yards and try to get a first down and keep that clock moving and get out of here.

But we got the win. We got out of there in one piece. Kept some guys healthy at the end of the game.

Q. (Question regarding Dyshawn Mobley’s play.)

COACH STOOPS: I was pleased with him all week. He's tough. You see what he's doing on special teams? He gives us a little bit more pop. He's physical in there. And I think just he's been better. He's been more accountable. But he did have a protection issue again tonight, and those are the things that are hurting us. We can't afford to take negative plays and get our quarterback hit when he shouldn't.

Q. (No microphone) had the fullback …


Q. (No microphone) …

COACH STOOPS: No, I have not. We've been -- we need to be more disciplined in what we're doing in pursuant of the football. So we need to be -- you know, you've got to have some instincts, and, you know, there are a bunch of guys on the back side of that play that should feel those things, and we're not doing that very good right now.

Q. It seems like almost all of those catches came on third down, fourth down for a first-down conversion. Can you talk about those plays tonight?

COACH STOOPS: It was hard for me to tell. I did notice a few on third down. He had made some good catches. It was good to see him out there and getting going, and we need to continue to work with him. He's a guy that we're counting on quite a bit at the beginning of the year, and he's been banged up. So we need to get him healthy, get him out there and playing and catching some balls.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

Kentucky Student-Athletes

#2, Jalen Whitlow, QB

On his runs today, including the first touchdown…
“It was the longest touchdown I’ve ever run since little league. I had that week were I didn’t practice much so I ran out of gas. I’m thankful for Demarco [Robinson] (for making some key blocks). I need to go give him a hug.”

On whether there was a sense of relief in the locker room after the game…
“It’s always good to get a win, you know. It’s been a while since the last win so it’s always good to come out on top.”

On how Stoops still sees the need for improvement…
“Yeah we made some mistakes that we don’t need to make, but we’re going to correct it, come back in practice and improve. Hopefully correct it and get ready for next week.”

#9, Demarco Robinson, WR

On how it feels to get a win …
“It feels good to finally get a win. We’ve been working hard, coming to work every day. It finally paid off so we’ve just have to fight harder next week and make it happen again.”

On how different this postgame locker room was…
“It was exciting. We missed winning. It’s fun anytime we just come together. We work hard all week so it’s fun that it pays off.”

On how this wins helps for next week against Missouri…
“It feels good. A lot of guys should have confidence. A lot of people did really well tonight. We’re just going to come into Missouri trying to do the same thing.”

#40, Avery Williamson, LB

On what this win does for confidence levels…
“It gets our confidence back up. We have to go and make corrections and get ready for Missouri.”

On the team’s mindset coming into the game having not won since week two…
“I would say it was somewhat down but we still kept fighting. That showed in the Mississippi State game. We didn’t give up. Really, we should have had the win. Things didn’t work in our favor but we never did give up. That shows the character of this team that we’re not the type that is just going to lay down when we’re losing. I really am proud of these guys and myself for going out there and continuing to fight.”

On what the team needs to do better after allowing some big plays today…
“It’s just guys not being where they’re supposed to be. We have to go in and correct that. I’m sure Coach [Stoops] will get into them pretty good for that. I was mad at myself but that’s just being disciplined and the guys weren’t where they were supposed to be.”

#85, Steven Borden, TE

On his touchdown…
“It was a good feeling. It was my first one here at UK and it’s good celebrating with the guys. I could see it developing and opening up so I was excited.”

On the play leading to his touchdown…
“It’s something we’ve been running since spring and it’s one of those plays that you hope will open up for you. It’s a play that opens for you, a deep run down the sidelines and I enjoyed it.”

On getting a win…
“We just found out today, none of us had put the numbers together, but it’s been 56 days since our last win and it felt really good to get back in the win column. Everyone is celebrating and it’s a good feeling.”

#2, Bud Dupree, DE

On Alabama State’s Isaiah Crowell…
“I think Isaiah still has NFL ability and SEC ability. He’s still a good player, nothing has changed about him.”

On the challenges in the game…
“The game wasn’t easy at all. Isaiah is a good player and every time they gave him the ball, we had to be on our toes in case something big happened. They got a couple of big plays so we had to go out there and play hard.”

On the personal fouls in the first half…
“The guys were coming out, trying to get in our head and tying to make us rattled, but I’m glad everyone stayed composed.”

#97, Mister Cobble, DT

On the victory…
“It feels pretty good, going out there with the guys, banding together and just coming out with the W. It just feels really good knowing we went out there and accomplished our goals that we planned on doing since last week.” 

On how the defense responded to Alabama State scoring early in the game…
“I thought we responded well. We missed assignments and were just upset with ourselves knowing that we can do better. If we just come out and do what we have to do then it would never have happened. But at the same time we just have to learn from it and move on to the next play.”

On the performance of the defense…
“I do not feel like it was our best defensive performance. It was just one of those games where we came out and did everything that we were supposed to do. I think it is something that if we continue to do more consistently then it will happen more.”

#3, Jojo Kemp, RB

On the victory…
“Everyone was excited to build off this win and carry it into next week. We were just excited to get the W and showing everybody what we can do and hopefully, like I said, build off this win and carry it into next week so we can get another one.”

On playing with a heavy heart
“I could not make my grandmother’s funeral. I made the decision to stay here and play. I thought about it last night and decided I wanted to do it for her. I wanted to be here for my team.”

Alabama State Head Coach Reggie Barlow

Opening statement …
“For us, this is a great opportunity for our program to come to Lexington and see how we measure up against an SEC opponent in Kentucky. I thought our guys came out with some great energy and enthusiasm. I thought the first quarter, the first couple plays on offense we had some positive stuff going on. But again, this game is a game of emotions; there were some penalties that kind of set us back, put us in bad situations. Of course you can’t do that against any opponent, let alone an opponent in the SEC.”

On Isaiah Crowell …
“Crowell has been a little banged up all year. He’s been dealing with an ankle injury. Of course this game was important to him and important to us but there is another young man that we think gives us an opportunity to be successful offensively and that’s Malcolm Cyrus. In sparing Crowell and not leaving him out there too long, we wanted to give Malcolm the opportunity to play. That’s kind of what we’ve been doing all year since he’s had his ankle rolled up.”

On getting out of this game injury free …
“We’re glad that we came out injury free and for our guys, a lot of them, we were trying to give them breaks, but these guys were really pumped about playing against these guys. Guys like (Daerius) Washington and (Leland) Baker, you couldn’t pry them out. We are glad that we were able to get out without injuries. It was a physical game; I imagine these guys will be sore. It will be a quick turnaround for us, we’ll get back, I think they’ve done a good job of getting the treatment and doing what they need to do to get their bodies right. It will be the same way tomorrow, we get back, treatment and turn the page and get ready for the next one.”

On what he got out of playing against an SEC school…
“Well, I think, for our kids, for me, I guess it’s not really a big deal to play against an SEC school but for our guys, I know they want to know how they measure up. They want to say they played against these guys and they might have one a couple one-on-one battles and that’s something that they can take and live with. Obviously we know that when you’re talking about 85 scholarships that they get and we have 63, obviously there is a difference there. In your mind, just as a competitor, you believe that you have a chance, that’s the nature of it. But for me personally, it’s all about our guys getting that opportunity. For me, it’s not a real big deal to coach against them.”

Alabama State Student-Athletes

#32, Kourtney Berry, LB

On being a candidate for the Jerry Rice Award…
“It doesn’t matter for me personally if they are an SEC team. The competition is going to be the same. You have to put forth the effort, and at the end of the day that is all you can ask for. I feel like I did that today. Right now I’m not worried about awards. Right now I am worried about the next opponent.”

On defending against Jalen Whitlow…
“Sometimes we were able to contain him, but he was able to get outside against us. We started out fast and then we became less disciplined. Then things started to unravel. After that he was able to get free.”

On the speed of the game…
“It was more about not being disciplined than the speed of the game. We have to read our keys and do our jobs.”

#15, Daniel Duhart, QB

On if they were able to stick to the game plan…
“We came out and did some good things in the first quarter. We ran well and threw some quick passes, but they adjusted and moved guys out of the box. We knew they were a fast team, and we did not execute.”

On the Kentucky defense…
“I’ll give the defense credit, but we did not execute. We also had some dumb penalties in crucial situations.”

On the gameplan going in…
“We watched film and saw where we could exploit them with our rushing and passing attack. We did that some, but we did not do it enough.”