Kentucky-Georgia Postgame Quotes

Nov. 8, 2014

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Kentucky Head Coach Mark Stoops

Mark Stoops: Very embarrassing effort by our team, our coaching staff, starting with myself. Not acceptable. Just very disappointed in the way we played, the way we're playing. Like I said, embarrassing is the word that comes to mind.

We're a .500 football team. We've got our two biggest rivals left, so we'll see if we can regroup.

You look at a team like Georgia, they lost a tough one a week ago and responded with a complete football game and beat us in every phase. We'll see if our team can have the resilience to bounce back and find a way to go on the road and get a victory this week.

The good news is as bad as that is, it only counts as one. That's where we're at. They're a good football team. They played much better than us. They coached much better than us, and they beat us in every area.

Q. What are you thinking? You tried to fire those guys up and get them ready, had a good week of practice.

Mark Stoops: Yeah, I mean, that's just kind of how the day went. It's hard to have an explanation for that. It started with a terrible kick and some guys not doing their job. You play a very good football team and they make you pay like that, it kind of takes the air out of the stadium right from the start.

You know, we didn't give our fans much to cheer about all day, starting with that kick.

Q. Can you remember a game that went like this on defense for you?

Mark Stoops: I can't recall playing defense like that, no.

Q. What do you say to the team at halftime? You came back, you had it say within 35-24, you're going to get the ball. What was the message you were trying to tell your guys?

Mark Stoops: Well, we were trying to keep the energy up on offense. They had been moving the ball in that second quarter, and we were getting the ball to start the second half, so we were talking about keeping the energy up and defensively getting some snaps and regrouping and trying to go out there and get some snaps and play some good football or some better football in the second half.

You know, we start with the interception that was a play that was probably there for a 1st down, and once again, we don't execute.

Q. Do you feel like you guys were in the game right before the interception?

Mark Stoops: It was an uphill climb. If we weren't able to turn it around defensively, you never know. If you get some energy, get some things going, get a bounce here or there, you know, we had the ball on the ground once and we don't get the bounce again. You know, who knows. We didn't play very good. We didn't have a very good chance of stopping them most of the day. You never know what would happen if you get it closer.

Q. With special teams you did have the turnover on special teams but of course the kick returned, the punt returned today.

Mark Stoops: Yeah, the kick return, the punt return, then the interception to start the second half and give it to them. That's 21 points right there against an offense that's hard to stop. They're averaging 40 a game. I've said all week that they were going to be tough to stop, and then when you give them that 21, you know, we have no shot.

Q. It's been a long grind; do you think the kids are getting more down?

Mark Stoops: I'm not sure. That's what I just talked to them about right there. I just talked to them about it's not acceptable. We'll all accept responsibility for that, once again. We'll look at all the things we could do better. But the fact of the matter is we're a .500 football team with two big games left, starting with Tennessee, and we'll see. We talked about all week becoming men and playing big-boy football, but we didn't do that today. We've got to find some ways to get them motivated, to get them out there and play better. It is a tough grind, but it is what it is. We've got to be able to respond.

Q. Do you have any concern with this lack of energy and this streak you're going through that your kids are losing their belief that they can win?

Mark Stoops: No, I really don't. Our guys, they've had a good attitude in practice. They've worked. They've given me no indication throughout the week. This team was better than us and played much better than us and took it to us. They had a lot to do with it. I think we'll see. This will be a test of our character here this week. We'll see how we respond and dig down and how we come back and play.

Q. Do you believe it’s in there, the resiliency?

Mark Stoops: Yeah, I do. They give me no reason not to believe that. We're all disappointed. I'm embarrassed for our fan base to come out here in our last game of the year and play like that and not give them much to cheer about. That's tough. That's a tough game to go through right there.

But you know, the fact is we've got to bounce back, and again, we have a chance to still do some very good things, and we'll see.

Q. What do you think it was more of on defense, effort or lack of --

Mark Stoops: No, I think it was a very tough match-up for us. I've said that all week. That team is very hard to defend. They've put up over 35 points on everybody and averaged 40 with the exception of Florida. Florida played them exceptionally well a week ago. Like I said, I think it got their attention. This team responded and came out and played lights out, and they're very good when they play at a high level. Their tempo was good. They're very physical. Their backs are hard for us to tackle. And then when we have to play with numbers, our match-up outside was very difficult for us.

Q. Do you think that final score reflects more on what Georgia is capable of doing compared to you guys playing poorly?

Mark Stoops: Probably a combination.

Q. Any update on Za'Darius?

Mark Stoops: No, I really didn't. I didn't get an update before I walked in here. I addressed the team and came right over.

Q. Do you try to take something positive out of this this week or just throw it out?

Mark Stoops: Yeah, I'm not much on throwing things out, but I may have to throw this one out. I don't know, I generally -- that's how we do things. We look at it and face it head-on and look at the things we did good and things we did bad, starting with our coaching and all that. We'll certainly do that. And with the players, I'll see; I'll think about how we're going to handle that on Monday.

Q. Slow starts have been a problem all season. Can you put your finger on why that is?

Mark Stoops: Yeah, you know, actually I think the beginning of the season we've had some fast starts, and now I think it's been the other way. That's been troublesome here lately. It's hard to put my finger on it exactly why.

Q. Have you ever coached in a game where you've never forced a punt and never had a 3rd down conversion?

Mark Stoops: No, I just saw that, eight for eight. No, I don't think so. No.

Q. Is this a little -- obviously you didn't expect to be here, but is this a come back to earth a little bit? If somebody said you were going to be 5-5 at the halfway point of a season in year two of a rebuild, no one would probably be disappointed, but after starting 5-1, the way the schedule is set up, people --

Mark Stoops: Yeah, and that's where -- I already said it. I don't want to keep on going on and on, but when I say I'm embarrassed, I'm embarrassed. We didn't play good, and I'll sit here and accept that, and it is what it is. But that's the truth. We're a .500 football team with two big games left. Let's go do what we have to do to put ourselves in a position to win this next game.

Q. Taking Xs and Os out of it, whatever schematic things you might do, do you have the physical ability to go head-to-head with them?

Mark Stoops: This was a difficult match-up. These guys are as talented as anybody in our league. I have some friends that -- opponents that they have played them this year and talked to them, and that's what they said. They said, you're not going to want to hear this, but they're darned good. They're a good football team. They out-coached us, outplayed us, and it is what it is. It was going to be a difficult match-up all along, and then when you give up 14 on special teams and then a turnover right to start the second half, it doesn't give you much of a shot.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

Kentucky Student-Athletes

#18, Stanley “Boom” Williams, RB

On the halftime mindset…
“We definitely felt like we had a chance. I came in and just wanted to continue the game plan. We came up just short there at the beginning, and it changed the whole outcome of the game. Like I said, we had a chance.”

On being stuck on five wins …
“We’re just going to keep coming back and practice hard and just put ourselves in a position to give us a chance to win. We’re just going to come back this week, correct what we did on film, and try to win next week.”

On what changed from the Missouri game…
“Coach (Neal) Brown talked about being disciplined and aggressive. We just wanted to come out and establish the run game, play action, and things like that.”

#2, Alvin “Bud” Dupree, DE

On how the team reacted to the loss…
“There are a lot of different things we have to fix. We can’t point fingers. We just have to move to the next game.”

On how the team moves forward after this loss…
“We just try and get win No. 6. We have two more games to get that win, go to a bowl game, and have an opportunity to still have a good season by being over .500.”

On the team’s mentality over the past four weeks …
“It has been weighing down on us, but we have a bye week coming up after the Tennessee game, which will rejuvenate us for the Louisville game, and we will be ready for Tennessee as well.”

On if the team is close to breaking through for its sixth win…
“At practice it feels like it, we play differently in practice and we execute differently. We just have to keep getting it better and more consistent in the games and get that win.”

#14, Patrick Towles, QB

On trying to get off to faster starts then in the past few weeks …
“If we could, then we would quit doing it (starting slow).  We’ve got to fight it out, watch film, get back to work and figure it out for next week.”

On moving on from today’s game …
“Huge, yeah.  Tennessee and Louisville are big rivals, They are two tough teams who have played well.  Tennessee just had the huge win against South Carolina, and they’re all playing good.  We’ve got to go out there, do what we’re coached to do and play well.”

On Georgia’s pass rush…
“They’re good.  They’re tough.  Give credit to them.  They obviously are a very good football team.  At the end of the day, we didn’t execute.  We’ve got to execute.”

On the team being able to bounce back…
“No question.  We know what it takes to win.  We’ve done it.  We just have to do it more consistently.  I have all the faith in the world in these seniors…these guys.  We’re going to figure it out, and we’re going to give them all that they can handle down there next week. “

#50, Mike Douglas, DT

On how the game went …
“We all know that we are a lot better but when opportunities presented themselves we couldn’t get off the field, give Georgia credit they kept capitalizing when we weren’t playing our best, so all credit goes to UGA.”

On if there is any fear that the players are losing belief …
“Not at all, we have a strong senior group and the guys behind us know that we are going to come back and keep fighting. There’s no give up and if you give up you might as well stay in Lexington when we travel on the road.”

On if the seniors get the younger players together to have player-only meetings…
“We have had player-only meetings, it’s tough but like I told this gentleman over here, there comes a point in time where there are no more words that can be said it’s all about action, you either put up or shut up. We are at a time now where you can’t talk anymore. If we have 1,000 player-only meetings but we still come out and have the same results then what are we really doing? We are really just wasting our time talking. Now we are at a point where we need to come out and be focused and come out and know the mission at hand. Thank God that we still have two games to prove that we are better than we have shown.”

#21, Nate Willis, CB

On how good Georgia is …
“They’re a good offensive team. You can’t take anything from them. You’ve just got to look at the negatives and take the positive with you next week and just get better as a whole team, including defense. The offense put up points, we just got to stop them.”

Have you ever played in a game where the defense didn’t force a punt?
“I don’t think so. That was my first time. That’s why it’s so embarrassing for us. Coach Stoops, as a defensive coach like he is, it’s just embarrassing for the whole defense.”

Regarding team’s effort?
“I feel like we gave a good effort—or mostly good. It was just executing our assignments. Some of those were close calls and secondary had close calls with some 50-50 balls. So, just go to take from it and move on.”

On third down troubles…
“They were capitalizing and blocking good. The quarterback didn’t make too many mistakes and threw it accurately. That’s all I can say.”

On Georgia’s execution…
“Their execution was pretty good. Can’t take that from them, they were 100% on third down.”

On pressure from remaining two games…
“The pressure’s always on during the whole season. No matter what week it is, the pressure is always on. We just take it from this game and move on, and try to be the best team that we can be.”

On seniors going out this way..
“It hurt. It hurts. Like I said, it’s a game. But, we got to put it behind us and just move on even though it’s Senior Day.”

Georgia Head Coach Mark Richt

Opening Statement…
“Very pleased with what happened today. I’m proud of our players. I thought they did a really good job. Starting the game, there was a lot of energy in going up 21-0. I thought our defense made a good stop after the fumble on the kickoff return. We forced a field goal instead of a touchdown. I thought that was a big play and drive for our defense in the first half. Obviously, to start the game with a kickoff return for a touchdown was huge. Isaiah (McKenzie) did a good job of finding it. We played about as good as we practiced on that team. It was a great week of practice on the kickoff return team. I remember watching film one evening and the scout teamers flew down the field and everyone got their man and it just opened up big. I was thinking if we could just do that in the ballgame, then we’re going to be all right. They did a good job there. We talked a lot about starting the second half better for the season. We’ve scored over 90 points in the first quarter, 90 points in the second quarter, over 100 points in the fourth quarter, but I think like 31 points in the third quarter. For whatever reason, offense and special teams haven’t started fast in the second half. We really made a big point of that and actually changed our routine to get everybody out there, run some sprints, have them gather up, and try to get the blood flowing a little bit before the second half started. The way we came out in the second half was maybe more impressive than how we came out in the first. I’m just really proud of the team and what they did today and the coaches and everybody involved. It was a good day.”

On the team returning home next weekend …
“It’s going to be nice to be home. Period. It’ll end up being about a 42-day span from the last time we played at Sanford Stadium. Just playing there in front of our fans is so meaningful to everybody and I’m sure our fan’s blood will be pumping; our player’s blood will be pumping, and coaches. It’s going to be an exciting day next week for sure. We had that stretch of four games away from home, an open date in there, and a lot of travel. I’m glad we had an early game today and got the victory and we can get home with a little bit of time to regroup and rest before we start getting cranked up on that plan for Auburn. We look forward to being home for sure.”

On thoughts of Kentucky closing the scoring gap multiple times…
“We just have to keep banging away. I think some of the things we were doing well -- we’re understanding that it takes time to get in position to win a game so to speak. What I mean by that is you can’t just have this mighty blow in the first drive of a game or even a kickoff return for a touchdown. That was a great play and if you’re talking about a boxing match, knocking a building down, or cutting a tree down, then you’re not just going to take a big swing one time and knock the tree down. You have to keep banging away. As we keep saying, it’s going to take time. You have to be patient, strategic and physical. I think everybody bought into that. When they did keep narrowing the gap, we tried to prepare everybody that this team is very capable of that. I think they’re one of the best offensive teams in the league. When you watched their film, they’re outstanding in my opinion. What they do scheme wise, I think they’re quarterback is really good. I really believe that guy is going to play in the NFL. He’s 6’4 or 6’5, 230, he can run like well, he’s physical, throws the ball extremely well, and he’s got a lot of poise and confidence. He’s a really good player and they’ve done a lot of good things around him as well. Year in and year out, their special teams have been some of the best in the league. We knew we had a challenge there. We rose to it and for the most part had a good day.”

Georgia Student-Athletes

#83 Jeb Blazevich, TE

On the deflected TD catch …
“God is good.  There is nothing that I really did to deserve that.  Brice through a beautifully placed ball, and it was about to hit me in the chest but it was deflected twice.  That was pretty crazy that it ended up in my arms, but as I said, God is good.”

On playing at home next weekend for the first time in more than a month …
“I am very excited about it.  I truly understand what home field advantage means now that I am playing college football.  It takes away the stress of traveling, and you can feel the buzz around campus building more and more throughout the week.  I can’t wait to play in front of the Bulldog Nation again.” 

On Georgia’s young players performing the past few weeks …
“We actually talked about that today.  Coach said there is no such thing as a freshman anymore.  He said we are not rookies, because we have been doing it long enough to where we can’t make that excuse.  A lot of guys have stepped up, especially Nick (Chubb) being in the role he is in.  Everyone is willing to step up.  That’s just who we are as a program.”

On being compared to Artie Lynch …
“I don’t think I fit in with the greats yet or even being compared to them, especially not Artie.  He is a great guy and player, and he texts me every once in a while.  I love catching up with him, but I don’t think I am in any spot to compare myself to Arthur Lynch.”

#27, Nick Chubb, RB

On filling in for Todd Gurley …
“I know I haven’t taken his spot.  I am looking forward to Todd getting back on the field and playing with him.  I miss him out there.  We also got Sony back today, which took a lot off of my shoulders.  It felt good. 

On his performances the past four games? …
“I am very happy.  We are 3-1 in the last four.  Even though we lost one, I feel like everyone has been picking up each other’s slack, especially on the defensive side of the ball.  We have also been putting up points on offense, and I feel like that is what it takes to keep winning. “

Is it going to feel like early September again with Todd and Sony back? …
“Yes sir.  I cannot wait.  It will keep all of us fresh and ready to go.”

#16, Isaiah McKenzie, WR

On adjusting to the college game …
“I guess it’s just believing in what my coach tells me. Last week I wasn’t hitting the right holes and going to the right places but today I believed in what he called and hit the right hole. That’s it.”
                                                    
On the opening kickoff he returned for a touchdown …
“I (saw) it open up really quick on the right side, and once it opened up I knew I had the speed to get there… I just hit it”

On the punt he returned for a touchdown …
“On the second one I got pinned in the corner, had to get back to the middle, my teammates had some great blocks.”

#14, Hutson Mason, QB

On Jonathan Rumph’s performance …
“Yeah, Rumph played great today. It was good to see him be out there making some plays. Some of those plays early on really helped his confidence, and he showed what we brought him here for. He’s a big-body type guy who can go up and get some of those balls if you put them in the right air.”

On Nick Chubb’s performance …
“Obviously I think it helped to have Sony back there, give him some rest and stuff like that. [He] continues to be very effective and precise in the run game, and it starts with our O-line, they’ve been playing phenomenal”

On his touchdown passes …
“More practice reps and more communication. These last three games we’ve really come out throwing the ball a lot better.  It’s really helped, It’s a mixture of everything.”

On winning comfortably ahead of next week …
“I don’t think there’s any importance in the way we won… The important part was just how we came out and responded… You get hit in the chin, you face adversity… People are going to call for your job, people are going to tell you [that] you stink… For us, for anybody, it’s how you respond. There will be people who pat us on the back and tell us how good we are, and those who will tell us how bad we are… We have to stay focused on a week-by-week basis and try to put our best foot forward each week. I feel like for most of the season we’ve gotten better after each week.”

You were completing a lot of passes out there… What was working? Were the receivers that open?
“Yeah, a lot of the receivers were pretty wide open… And I thought we executed pretty well on some tight passes… It was a little bit of both.”