Kentucky-Missouri Postgame Quotes

Nov. 9, 2013

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Kentucky Head Coach Mark Stoops

COACH STOOPS: Tough day for us out there today. Very tough match-up. Give Missouri credit; they beat us in all three phases of the game. It's a very good football team. It was very tough for us to match up.

Defensively I thought we had some decent stops. We had an opportunity on several others and they made the play on 3rd down, we didn't.

Offensively we did good things at times. We didn't do it at the right moments. I think early on it would have been nice to move it a little bit better there when we had good field position after we were up three and got the turnover. I thought that possession hurt. We need to do a better job in that situation.

But overall very tough night. Give them credit; they outplayed us in all areas, and we need to improve.

Q. You seemed to sort of blow your top a few times today. Was it sort of the frustration of the whole thing coming down?

COACH STOOPS: It is, it's frustrating. I've got to do a better job. That's it. It is what it is. It's a tough situation. I'm trying to fight and claw and help lead this team as best I can. It is frustrating at times, but we all need to do a better job, and we need to overcome adversity. There's going to be bad plays, there's going to be adversity, and we've all got to handle it better.

Q. Are you still seeing that level of play from your guys that you want?

COACH STOOPS: Well, no, it wasn't a great effort by us tonight. It wasn't. It wasn't good. But the late run that everybody is going to say we gave up, that's not true. We just simply out -- somebody went to the wrong gap, and the pre was coming down to play the run and went outside the Will (linebacker) and they creased us right up in there. We had two guys there to make the play. Again, it's technique; he goes outside of the block instead of under it, and the free safety gets cut off and he pops it for a long run. So the guys weren't laying down there; we just need to execute better.

Q. (Question regarding Jalen Whitlow showing toughness in Saturday’s game.)

COACH STOOPS: I did. I did notice that, and early on I thought he had some very tough runs against a very tough, physical defense, and it was nice. You could tell he was hurting, and again, I think he's learning to compete. I thought he did some good things, and he led our team good. We need to improve. We need to hit some open guys better. But we need to play better around him and all those things.

Q. Talk about Landon Foster, what happened on the punt.

COACH STOOPS: Yeah, the one was -- the shank, he just shanked it. He's been pretty steady here for a couple years, he just shanked there, and there's no excuse for that. I thought that was very critical, as well. I thought we had a chance. We had a big run and we held them, and that -- we bring that back, and then we shank the punt and they go in and score. That was critical. Those are things we've got to overcome.

And then we got the one block; that wasn't his fault. They just came clean on him.

Q. First drive of the game you march all the way downfield and hit a field goal. First drive of the second half you march all the way downfield, as well. What's different about coming out of the locker room?

COACH STOOPS: Well, I think guys were -- we made it a point at halftime. We didn't feel like -- you asked me the question earlier. I thought we started stronger. We have a chance there early to get ahead and to build a lead and to be in that, and then I thought the second quarter got away from us quick. So we addressed that at halftime, and the guys came out with the right attitude and moved it down there and scored.

That was positive.

Q. Did you destroy anything in the locker room?

COACH STOOPS: No, no. I mean, we'll get it. We'll get it done, believe me. It's hard, it's frustrating, but we're going to keep on going to work and getting better every day. This team is showing signs. We're not nearly as consistent as we need to be. You're playing a top-10 team that's grown up an awful lot themselves. They had some wideouts that we couldn't match up with quite frankly, and that wasn't a good match-up for us. Green-Beckham was the No. 1 player in the country a couple years ago, right? He's a beast. They're big, and they have great balance, and they put you in a real bind.

I thought, like I said, we had some chances at some stops on 3rd down. They made some good plays.

Q. In the second half when it looked like you might make it interesting, Raymond (Sanders) has a fumble, then they had the long kickoff return. Is that more of the execution issues you've been talking about all season?

COACH STOOPS: We're not making the play. I thought Neal (Brown) was set up perfectly. We had some runs off that same action. We had a nice beautiful play action pass set up. We get it out to the 40 after we had just moved it. He's got to hold onto the ball. That's it.

Q. Second quarter I thought their defensive line really dominated you guys in the trenches. Did you think so?

COACH STOOPS: Well, they did. They overwhelmed us at times, and the pressures got to us. But yeah, I mean, they did. We've got to do a better job of picking up the pressure, and they overwhelmed us at times, and we've got to be one step ahead of them right there, as well, and keep them off balance with some of the other things. I think we hurt them on some screens later. Obviously we could have timed some things up better in that second quarter.

Q. Have you found that to be -- obviously you talk about skill on the outside, but have you found the trenches, the match-ups up front to be the biggest thing about finding a way to compete in this league?

COACH STOOPS: It is. I mean, I think they're a good example of that, that this is a mature football team now. I think watching them play last year and watching them play this year, it's a big difference. They've got some guys outside that are very difficult to match up with, and their inside guys, O-line and D-line, have grown up and they're big and physical and they're playing extremely hard. They've done a nice job.

Q. I know you keep talking about the mismatch, but was your secondary doing anything to make it any easier for them?

COACH STOOPS: No, we were trying to get up there and play tight coverage, and we didn't play it very well. We were mixing some things up with 3-4 early, and it was good, but they spread you out. You see them. They're all over the field. You want to play two safeties high, they're going to run it all over you. You want to play one safety high, you've got to win, and we didn't win; it's that simple.

Q. When your quarterback is kind of hurting, but shows toughness to stay in the game does that increase his leadership value for the rest of the team?

COACH STOOPS: I think so. I think so. Yeah, it does.

Q. Every week you run into a new coach. Is this league as good as advertised coaching-wise? Are these teams as well coached as you thought they'd be?

COACH STOOPS: Oh, absolutely, absolutely. They're a very well-coached team, and I think the big difference is they've got some players now, between this year and last year, and guys have grown up and got more physical. Quarterback play has been outstanding. They're tough.

Q. You talked about the frustration and so forth. You're coming from a program where you lost just a handful of games, and you knew what you were getting into here, but how do you keep that frustration from bubbling over when you're losing game after game?

COACH STOOPS: Yeah, it's hard, but you've just got to go back to work, and you've got to stick to what I preach all the time, and that's getting better. I've got to get these guys up. We've got to get them mentally prepared to practice on Monday and to prepare, and to go out there and compete and try to win a game. That's what I'm going to do. I'm going to go back to work and stick to the things that I feel are necessary to help build this program. I may get frustrated, but I'm not discouraged.

Q. You talked about Missouri has grown up so much from last year to this year. Do you kind of file that away for your own team?

COACH STOOPS: Yeah, I think so. I know guys are working hard and doing the right things. We need to do things better in all areas. I always take responsibility. It starts with myself and the coaching staff, and on to the players, we all need to do better.

Q. They hurt you with a couple of long returns. Did you guys break down?

COACH STOOPS: Yeah, we need to do some things better. The guys have been solid all year, and it wasn't a good game for us to break down in the special teams area.

Q. I know you've still got obviously three games to go, but is there anything going through the league that changes your thinking about what you need personnel-wise or any other way?

COACH STOOPS: Well, I think there's so many areas that we need to improve. I think that's our focus is really improving in all areas. I mean, we need play-making ability, we need big, physical guys, we need a lot of things. We need linebackers. You've got to have a secondary. The match-ups are so difficult, you play a team like this that spreads you out all over the place with extremely talented wide receivers, and then you go play. We had to play Alabama and all the rest and on the road next year at LSU and then you've got to be physical as heck, so you need a lot of bodies. You need a lot of good players and you need some guys that are versatile.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

Kentucky Student-Athletes

#9, Demarco Robinson, WR

On Missouri and how they played …
“Missouri was a real tough team. They had a really good defense and offense. They got us today, and we are going to have to go back to work on Monday.”

On punt return that got downed on the 6-yard line…
“I read it wrong off the kickers foot. I was trying to read the wind, but I read it wrong. I did not want to take a chance and fumble it so I downed it.”

On the offense in the first half…
“I’m not sure what happened. We got down and made some mistakes. We just need to work hard on Monday. I can see that we are making progress. I see the good things and the bad things.”

#13, Jeff Badet, WR

On if a sense of frustration kicks in…
“It is about being consistent and finishing drives. At times, we move the ball but we need to finish the drives to be a more consistent team.”

On how the offense played in the first half…
“I don’t know what happened. We need to be consistent and execute the plays that Coach Brown calls.”

On how the team came out in the early second half…
“We just had guys in their telling us that we need to step up. We need to play hard and play for each other. Coach Brown came in to hype us up. He was a little frustrated, and he opened up our eyes that we need to play for each other.”

#3, Jojo Kemp, RB

On what needs to be changed going forward …
“We need to keep our heads up. There were just too many mistakes. We just have to be more consistent. We do that and we’ll have a ballgame.”

On how frustrated the team is ...
“We get frustrated because we know we can make those plays. At practice there is good energy and everyone is working hard. We come here and we make little mistakes.”

On whether he thinks this team is better than when they began the season …
“Yes, because everyone is playing together. It’s the little mistakes that are killing us. I am a little surprised [with our mistakes] because I know we have it in us. We just need to capitalize more, be more consistent, and limit the mistakes.”

#2, Jalen Whitlow, QB

On whether execution was to blame for today’s loss …
“We have got to execute better, finish drives, and fight harder. They are a good team with great defense. [They are] a top 10 team.”

On how discouraged he is…
“I’m not discouraged because I know what we did wrong. It’s always good to know what you did wrong and what you did right.”

On his leadership role with the team …
“It is always good for the quarterback to be a leader. I am working on becoming more vocal. I think the guys see [that] I lead and try to do everything right. Day-by-day I am working to lead and be more vocal.”

#26 Tre’ Dunn, Linebacker

On special teams…
“They had a good game plan and we just didn't do our part of pulling the trigger and making the plays. That’s what it boils down to, just making the plays because we missed out on opportunities and they capitalized on theirs.”

On Missouri’s success in the return game….
“They just have seen where we have been so aggressive and they tried to take advantage of us overplaying, which they did a couple of times, but now we just got to go back and regroup and see if we can do better next week.”

On being frustrated after Missouri’s 62-yard return…
“It was extremely frustrating. We started to get a little bit of momentum and could have controlled the tempo of the game, which we preach on every week before the game. Having that happen really dampened our optimism but we still tried to stay positive and fight.”

#8, Javees Blue, WR

On how the teams morale is after today’s game…
“It is hard after a loss. Especially with a defense like that and an offense like that, we just had to fight to the end through these types of situations. We are coming together so I know we will finish out strong.”

On how the game felt to the players…
“It was really fast.  We had a lot of three-and-outs so we had to take the time to rebuild what was going on.  We had to get our defense off the field.  Their D-line was making plays and we just didn’t get the ball off in time.”

#2, Alvin “Bud” Dupree, DE

On how the team will look to bounce back…
“It is frustrating.  Once you do so much and you prepare so hard, and don’t succeed it is always frustrating.”

On what they play for…
“We play for pride.  We play for next year’s team.  We play for the future of the program.”

On how the spirits of the team are…
“That is the thing about this team.  No one has dropped their head.  We have frustrated people on the team but no one has given up.  No one will give up.  The coaches won’t allow that.”

#4, Raymond Sanders, RB

On the improvement in the second half…
“They were playing harder, executing better and doing a lot of things that we weren’t doing. In the first half, we got down from not playing hard enough, so I’m proud the team came out in the second half playing harder. We played with a lot more fight and I was able to help them out. When a guy came behind and knocked out the ball, I was able to help them out on that.”

On Missouri’s performance…
“They’re a pretty good team with a great front four. Their guys move around well, but we have to play with a lot more fight than we started with. We have to do a lot of things better, execute better, play with more fight and compete more. In the second half, I thought we competed and we were able to move the ball pretty well. I feel like they have a pretty good team, but if we come out fighting and competing then we always have a chance. “

On improving in the first half…
We have to get them talking football and get into the guys heads and I will definitely be more vocal before the game and make sure those guys are ready. We started fast, but once we faced adversity, guys went flat and you can’t get flat after someone scores or something happens. We have to keep the same intensity and be ready to ball.”

Missouri Head Coach Gary Pinkel

Opening statement …
“Well it was a good win obviously for us. I thought we did a lot of good things. Like any game, what we’ll do is we’ll evaluate the good things we did and the things we need improvement on. I’m glad we got the bye week this week because it is much needed for our team, mentally and emotionally I think. But anyway, there are a lot of good things and things that I was very proud of our team so it’s a good situation to be in right now.”

On Dorial Green-Beckham’s day …
“Well there is a physical mismatch with almost anybody he plays against. He’s 6’6, weighs 225 pounds and he’s athletic, he can jump. We’re just fortunate he’s on my team. A guy like that can make plays, you coach them only to a certain point, you can throw it up and he made a couple really great catches. It was nice at the end, they called that slant at the end because they were going fade, fade, fade and then that fourth-and-three at that particular time we went for it and obviously we set the whole thing up with all those fade routes and he set the slant route up, looked pretty good. Did a lot of good things.”

On if there was an emphasis to get Dorial Green-Beckham the ball …
“No, I just think you see it, you take advantage of it. There was not one word mentioned in the staff meeting. We have guys that come out sometimes that could be a bunch of catches and they come out in the game and don’t catch as much. You got as many players as we do and they’re good players the thing is you have to be unselfish. You’d like everybody to have the chance to catch 8-10 balls a game but this is about the team and executing as a team and our kids handle that pretty good.”

On Kentucky’s mistakes in the punt game …
“The short field on the kick, we’ve done that before, that’s not a whole lot of fun. The block, that’s not a mistake, that’s a great play by our punt block team and that’s just a great play. We thought that we had a chance to get in there when they spread out and coach (Craig) Kul(-igowski) wanted to do it. I’m always hesitant a little bit because I don’t want to hit the punter and then have them get 15 yards and stay on the field. We decided to go with it. Levi [Copelin], is it Levi the one that got it?  It was a huge play. Those punt blocks are huge momentum plays and we scored I think the next play later so that was really good. But I thought it was interesting too though when we fumbled the football in the first half our defense went right out, took a stand, got the ball right back to us and that’s what good teams do. We come out in the second half, they score against our defense, our offense comes back and scores, they score against our defense, our offense comes back and scores. That’s happened a lot with this team as you go back and look it. I’ll talk to the team about it which I have before, that’s going to happen when we play some good people. Some people are going to stop us and people that can make plays. When one of the sides is struggling a little bit the other one has to stand up. It’s happened a lot in a very positive way for our team and hopefully we can learn from this and there is a sense of urgency if one side is struggling a little bit that the other side understands that they have to pick it up and make some plays.

Missouri Student-Athletes

#48, Andrew Wilson, LB

On what was going through his mind when he forced the fumble…
“I was just thinking ‘oh crap, oh crap.’ Coach preaches run to the ball and that is what I was doing. Somebody got a hold of him and stopped him and I was just running up from behind.”

On if the 40-game turnover streak is something the team thinks about…
“We don’t really think about the 40 games in a row, but we always preach turnovers and preach takeaways. We are always doing takeaway drills. It’s a big part of our defense.”

On how well Kentucky limits turnovers…
“We knew they do a great job of holding onto the ball. I think it’s been the last four games since they’ve had a turnover, so we knew we were going to have to do a great job getting after the ball.”

On if the defense has been setting the tone for each game…
“I don’t know, we are just trying to do our job and execute. I can’t really speak for the offense, I thought they did great, I mean they had 48 points. They did a great job, and we are just trying to execute on defense.”

#15, Dorial Green-Beckham, WR

On what he thought of Kentucky keying in on him…
“I guess that was one of their game plans, to key on me really. The safety was really rolling over most of the game. I just felt like I came out there and just beat their defense myself and just went out there and made plays.”

On whether he knew he made history with four touchdowns and how it feels…
“I didn’t. It’s always good feeling to achieve my goals and also, my team came out there and played hard. We came out there, fought and took what was ours. We can’t take any team for granted so I felt like we all just came out there and fought.”

On whether he knew his coaches had predicted this would be his breakout game…
“I guess they saw it before I went out there and played. We really don’t talk much about that. We just talk about just our receiver group, just how we need to go out there and be the game-breakers. We just need to go out there and make plays. We’re the ones to get our offense going so that’s mainly what we talk about, just getting our offense going and going out there to make plays.”

#7, Maty Mauk, QB

On the play of the wide receivers today…
“If I do throw it up, I have 100 percent confidence that one of them will come down with it. It really takes a lot of stress off of me, especially when I have time to throw it. They did a great job up front and a great job outside catching the ball.”

On if this was his most comfortable game yet…
“Definitely. The coaches put me in a great position this week with the game plan. I felt good about everything that we were doing and we had a great week of practice. The big thing is we came out and did it on the field this week and it was a great team effort today.”

On how much he has improved the last four games…
“A lot. I couldn’t even tell you how much, especially with James (Franklin) there, beside me, helping me everyday. What it takes is time and that is obviously what it came down to and now we are out there executing just like we were before.”

On tying Chase Daniels’ record of five touchdowns in a game…
“Obviously, with your name besides his, it’s a tremendous honor. But like I just mentioned, I couldn’t have done it without the five guys up front and the guys that made something happen after they caught the ball today.”