LEXINGTON, Ky. - With a bye week between games against Louisville and Florida, Kentucky had an opportunity to rest up, heal and improve. Mark Stoops came off the practice field late Tuesday afternoon pleased with his offense.
"Offensively, one of our better days we've had in a while," head coach Mark Stoops said. "Those guys were flying around, throwing it around pretty good, looked a little bit fresh and caught the ball and did some good things."
Continuing to adjust to and embrace the tempo of Neal Brown's scheme, the offense turned in a solid day. The defense was by no means bad, but with quarterbacks Maxwell Smith and Jalen Whitlow leading the way, the offense was better.
"They were more efficient when we went good against good throwing the ball around than they had been for a few weeks," Stoops said. "So I thought it was a pretty good day, and Max was pretty good."
Last week, Smith practiced but did not throw after sustaining a shoulder injury two Saturdays ago. This week, he is throwing once again, though with a decreased workload that allows him to ease back into action.
"When we were going good on good, again, I didn't notice which quarterback was in there. They were both throwing it pretty good. They were moving too fast for me to notice," Stoops said with a smile.
Stoops himself is still adjusting to UK's pace and his role in guiding the offense. Since his expertise is on that side of the ball, Stoops still spends the majority of his time with the defense, but Brown values Stoops' opinion.
"I go in there with the offensive guys, but I get bored very quickly," Stoops joked. "But, you know, I say that, but it was actually a lot of fun. I said, 'This is what you guys do. You just sit up here and try to torment all of us defensive guys.' Anybody can draw up some fancy play in the dirt. But then you got to go execute it, and that's the difference, and that's what the great teams do."
The Cats will need to execute on Saturday at 7 p.m. ET because Florida will present a challenge. Stoops said on Monday that the Gators may be the best defense UK faces all season. On Tuesday, he elaborated.
"I know the type of pride they have, the type of energy they play with, the confidence that they play with, and you can see it on film," Stoops said. "They're playing very fast right now. They're a confident group. They're playing very physical and very fast."