Stoops Previews No. 17 Georgia at Monday's News Conference
HEAD COACH Mark Stoops
COACH STOOPS: Going back to last week, again, very disappointed with the way we played. The bottom line is we're too undisciplined. We need to be a more disciplined football team. We need to be tougher mentally and physically to win on the road and win in environments like that. It gets down to us and what we're doing and how we're coaching. Need to create more winning habits. Need to practice with a better sense of urgency. So we'll see if we can get back to work this week and improve. Playing a very good Georgia team, so we'll have our hands full. Looking forward to the challenge here this week.
Q. The discipline issues you're talking about, is it because you're such a young team or is that not an excuse?
COACH STOOPS: Yeah, I don't feel it's an excuse at this point. I feel like our players and our coaches, starting with me, we have a choice in that matter. We either choose to be disciplined or we choose to be undisciplined. We either choose to be a trained football team and us as a coaching staff need to train them. At times we're an untrained football team. You're not going to win like that.
Q. What do you mean by 'untrained'?
COACH STOOPS: Gets down to simple things: habits, creating winning habits. When I talk about toughness, it's not just always physically. Mentally being tough. If you're supposed to run a six step out, run it six, not eight. If you're supposed to follow the guard on a run play, follow the guard, not just run anywhere you want to run. That's what I mean by 'untrained'. It's creating those habits and training to play when you're under pressure. When we're under pressure, our habits come right to the surface and they're bad habits.
Q. (Question regarding injury updates on Blake McClain and Fred Tiller.)
COACH STOOPS: They should be fine. Banged up, but we should be okay.
Q. (Question regarding if there was anything positive after watching the film.)
COACH STOOPS: I thought the defense gave great effort and did some good things. Defensively we're not perfect, of course. That's aggravating. Had a chance to get off on the very first third down of the game. Missed a tackle. Great individual effort. That's one of their best players. The wideout made a great play and we missed him. That's the difference. They fought for those yards. He spun out of it, extended, made a great play to get a first down, which is huge to start the game. That's one of our better players, AJ, coming down and has a chance to tackle him. We missed him. Getting back to my point, there were some other critical third downs in there that we were wrong in our execution. They were there. They were there for us to have a successful play. We just didn't do them. So take a few of those instances out and we have a chance to play a very good defensive game.
Q. Do you feel the team has lost its way a little bit?
COACH STOOPS: I don't know if we lost our way. We just need to be better. We're inconsistent. The wheels aren't falling off; we barely had them on. (laughter)
Q. Have these last three weeks been a reality check about how far there still is to go?
COACH STOOPS: Anybody that didn't understand that is sadly mistaken, including our players. We've got to scratch and claw and fight and dig down for everything that we get. To think that you're going to go out there and hope that they happen, we're mistaken. I constantly talk about that. We cannot wait for our moment. We've got to train to go take it and make our moment. Right now we're in that mode of hoping, hoping things happen.
Q. Do you feel like the guys got overconfident considering starting the year 5-1?
COACH STOOPS: Maybe. I don't know. I guess. That's what I just kind of alluded to. I'd be shocked. We constantly talk about it, harp on it, that we need to train and put ourselves in position to fight for all those things. Maybe they don't hear me. I don't know.
Q. Georgia give you different looks than you've seen the last couple weeks, a different challenge?
COACH STOOPS: It's a real challenge. They're all a real challenge if you just look back at our last three.
Q. Does Georgia bring something different though?
COACH STOOPS: Yeah, they bring a very good football team. I think they bring a power running team that we know has hurt us in the past as well. They can run the heck out of the football. They're very talented. They can throw it. They're very balanced. They're playing great defense. Going back to their offense, I think they've been held under 20 one time in past week. Florida played an inspired game. Give Florida credit. They played a great football game and held them to 20 points which is amazing because nobody all year has held them under 34, 35. I think they're averaging 40 points a game. They're extremely hard to defend. If you just look at those numbers, we're going to need to score some points to have a chance to win this game.
Q. These seniors have been through a lot. How do their actions this week get the rest of the team to rally around to respond against adversity?
COACH STOOPS: I think it's important to show some leadership and some character. We need those guys to step up and push us over the top, push the younger guys to, again, be more disciplined, to do the little things right, to create those winning habits.
Q. Are you and Neal totally on the same page on the direction of the offense?
COACH STOOPS: Yeah, we're on the same page. Whether it's offense, defense or special teams, you're never going to be perfect. You're always going to look back on things and know, whether it be a scheme, whether it be calls... We're never going to be perfect. But we're doing good things. We didn't play our best. It's not so much about the X's and O's this past week, it's about our attitude and our discipline. We didn't do some things very well. So we need to get some things cleaned up in our execution.
Q. Offensively what do you have to do against Georgia?
COACH STOOPS: Georgia is going to present a real problem to us because, first of all, they're not going to give you anything. They're one of those aggressive defenses. They're very well coached. They're not going to give you anything easy. So you've got to go earn your yards. You have to win your one on ones. You heard me talk about that last week. It was evident in watching the tape. It comes down to winning some matchups. If you just watch them, take a couple examples, they need a third and five or something, they're going to create space, they're going to catch it and get it. We get covered and there's nowhere to throw the ball. It's going to be the same way this week. They're not going to give you anything. There's no magical little scheme or anything like that. You got to win. You got to block some people, get open, throw good footballs.
Q. Anything on film that showed what was wrong with Patrick on Saturday? Any common theme?
COACH STOOPS: No common theme, just inconsistent. Inconsistent with him. Inconsistent with guys around him.
Q. Re: shake ups on the depth chart, especially at wide receiver. Is that indicative of what you're saying?
COACH STOOPS: We're going to keep on pushing and keep on making guys accountable. We're all in this thing together. We're all here to try to get it, to improve and get better. At some point guys just run out of opportunities. You got to move on to the next guy.
Q. (Question regarding if it will be a challenge for him to get his message through with some media/fans saying a different message.)
COACH STOOPS: I need to do a better job. They're going to hear me today. We need to train to put ourselves in a position to take these games. It doesn't matter what anybody in here thinks, what they're hearing outside, all that. It's not going to just happen. We play good football teams. There's nothing given to you. You have to earn it. You have to go get it. We didn't play with that mentality certainly on offense last week. I mean, watch Missouri play football. I like the way they play. They play aggressive, they play tough. Their defensive guys fly around.
Q. (Question regarding if there is any benefit to playing at home Saturday.)
COACH STOOPS: I don't care where we play. We need to do those things better, play with a better attitude.
Q. How well do you know Jeremy Pruitt? What are the characteristics of his defense?
COACH STOOPS: I don't know Jeremy personally that well. I know a bunch of guys that obviously worked with him, worked with me. Nothing but positive about him. He's done a terrific job. Their defense is aggressive, very well coached. I've always liked the way his secondary has played. They have very good position on the football, change things up quite a bit. Obviously he's done a great job.
Q. When your defense is playing really well, your offense is really struggling, how do you keep the two facets from turning on one another?
COACH STOOPS: There's been moments this year when it's been the other way, too. There's no worry about that. I really don't worry about that. Our team, we have matured in that regard. There's no one side that's dominant enough. It changes. I've said that over and over as well. We need to play a complete football game to win any of these games. We're just not dominant on any one side. So defensively we had a chance to play a very good game last week, but we didn't. We didn't execute a few things that we could have done better. Outside of those things, it was really a pretty solid effort. Going 5 three-and-outs in the second half gave us a chance.
Q. When you're dealing with a young ish quarterback like Patrick, is this the week you sort of talk him back up or do you get in his face?
COACH STOOPS: It will be for us to figure out (laughter).
Q. (Question regarding coming off the practice field visibly upset earlier in the season.)
COACH STOOPS: I don't plan those things. I don't plan those things. I'm pretty transparent, if you haven't noticed by now.
Q. How will you express your displeasure to the team? What is the vibe you've gotten from them?
COACH STOOPS: I haven't been with them yet. We're going today. We didn't go yesterday. I have to give them one day off, it's either Sunday or Monday.
Q. After the game?
COACH STOOPS: After the game? The message after the game was simple. We got our tails kicked, they beat us. They out coached us. We all take our responsibility for that. We've got to get back to work.
Q. Did somebody on the staff recognize in pregame or leading up to that game that Patrick maybe wasn't dialed in?
COACH STOOPS: No, there was no indication that he wasn't dialed in. Again, I don't want to put it all on Patrick. I thought we played so, so average across the board, every guy offensively. He needs some help.
Q. Are you comfortable with Boom going back there on kickoff returns now?
COACH STOOPS: Yeah, he should be. Once you're cleared of those issues, you're cleared. I don't think there's anything you could do to stop certain plays.
Q. I get the feeling the culture really hasn't changed if these guys don't know how to win. You're banging your head against the wall. The guys don't understand it. Am I wrong?
COACH STOOPS: I don't know if I'm going to agree with that. Well, let's put it this way. We've known all along that we haven't arrived. Whether they have or not, I don't know. I said that earlier, what they're thinking. I know the things we constantly harp and preach at. But to win in a tough environment on the road against a team that's won how many SEC games? Somebody told me only Alabama has won more SEC games than them (Missouri) in the last year and a half. They're just going to give you one? To go beat a quality team, you have to do everything right, and we're not doing that. So I agree with you there. We're not consistent enough. We don't have the discipline to do all the little things right all the time to win.
There's no excuse. Whether it's a freshman or a senior, we have who we are. They have to learn how to play at a high level all the time. We have to have those habits, create those habits constantly, that when we put ourselves in a position where we're under pressure, you have to execute. Running the route at the proper depth, is that a discipline issue or mental issue or smarts? Whatever it is, we've got to get that out of them. We've got to get it out of them 100%. That's what good teams do, they execute. They do things right and they win some one on ones. There's no mystery that you have to put your people in a position to be successful, but you got to fight, you got to win some one on ones. If you don't, you're not going to win, not against good teams.
Q. When you guys were 5 1, we were asking you about being in contention in the SEC East. Were you at that point cringing a little bit?
COACH STOOPS: I have no control over what y'all ask. I have no clue, you know what I mean? I mean, yeah, I want to sit up here and say that's asinine, let's just go try to win one more game. Let's go win a football game. That's all I want to to. It's not coach speak. Just want to win the next game. More so than that, let's go win the day. Let's go have a great day to prepare to win the game. You hear me talk about that all the time. It's truly one week. I don't look at the last three, you know what I mean, ‘til I get in here and have to answer questions. Obviously you got to be prepared. But truly I'm worried about what we can do this week to win, get last week corrected, what we're doing good, what we're doing wrong, then move on.
Q. How hard is it with young players to realize you have to win the day?
COACH STOOPS: That is hard. It is a challenge. I don't want to give anything to get off the hook, but it is. I don't want to give in to that. Our players need to be focused and be tough enough to handle those things. Sometimes you do, sometimes you don't. That's getting back to the question, I think we're better. Are we there? Are we arrived? Absolutely not. The guys we compete against, you got to do it right all the time or we got no chance. I tell our players this all the time. If you do all those things, play with a high energy, great motor, as detailed as you possibly can be, you got a chance. That's all it gives you, is a chance. Without it, you got nothing.
Q. You seem pretty angry right now. How is it going to be when you meet with your team today?
COACH STOOPS: That will be for them to figure out. That will be for them. You can stand out in the street and you'll hear (laughter).
Q. Re: if it is awkward to be talking about your last home game, the seniors.
COACH STOOPS: It is awkward. Haven't thought about that, yeah.
Q. What does this group mean to you as you've been rebuilding?
COACH STOOPS: Oh, they're great. I love them. They're a special group. They're a very good group to coach. They've been a lot of fun. They really have. I think they've really helped us set the tone and change the culture and be great leaders, really trying to do everything they can to help us win.
Q. From what you expected at the start of the season, where is the offensive line at?
COACH STOOPS: I thought they're doing some good things. They're doing some good things. I thought the tackles are playing pretty hard, doing some good things. Darrian (Miller) really played a pretty good game against some talented guys with the exception of a few plays. Everybody sees those few plays, wants to point them out. But he really battled pretty hard and did some decent things.
Q. Is it the interior?
COACH STOOPS: It's across the board. It's who we are. Yeah, I mean, we're playing some young guys inside. Again, I don't like talking about that. It is what it is. I don't care. Playing a redshirt freshman, walk on, redshirt freshman inside, it is what it is.
Q. What makes Georgia's running backs so hard to stop?
COACH STOOPS: They're a physical group in general. Their team is a physical group. Their offensive line and their backs are just very powerful, very talented, great vision. They're a lot to handle.
Q. The first week you don’t have Drew Barker listed as the backup quarterback. You're just not playing him at this point?
COACH STOOPS: Yeah.
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