LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Mark Stoops came of the practice field around 6:00 p.m. Thursday and said with the exception of Tuesday, he was pleased with his team's preparation for the season opener Saturday at Southern Miss.
“Been a good solid week of preparation," said Stoops. "I really like the way things have gone. I’ve really felt like especially after Tuesday they’ve been really sharp the rest of the week. We had a great practice on Wednesday. They’re excited and ready to go. Had to get them going a little bit on Tuesday and it’s kind of like that sometimes when you’re putting a lot of stuff in beginning of the game plan, even though we’d worked on them a little bit. That first day of high intensity work of the first game week, a lot of information, but I feel good about it right now. I feel like our team is really focused. They’ve worked hard and we’re relatively healthy outside of the two guys we lost early in camp. So we’re excited and ready to go.”
Stoops said he does worry about young players making mistakes in the first game of the season.
“Yeah. Without a doubt," said Stoops. "I saw that Tuesday. As you start really getting heavy in the scout team work and they’re not seeing the same things they’ve seen. You just add any wrinkle, it like blows their mind. We have to make sure we watch exactly what we’re asking people to do and make sure they can do it. We cannot beat ourselves. That’s happened from time to time. We cannot let that happen. We have to make people beat us and we’ve gotta be very conscientious with who’s in the game and what they can and can’t do.”
The Cats collapsed in the second half last year and dropped the season opener to Southern Miss, 44-35. Stoops said he did bring the game up for motivation as his team prepared.
“I did a time or two. Like I said, I never beat a dead horse on that. But yeah, when I feel like they’re going through the motions at times, I’ve certainly brought it up. You want to get in a bad mood, put on some of that tape.”