Mark Stoops addresses Florida State rumors during news conference

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Kentucky head football coach Mark Stoops responded to speculation about being linked to the Florida State coaching vacancy during his Monday news conference.

Mark Stoops walks off the field following Kentucky's 29-21 loss to Florida. (Regina Rickert)

Stoops, who was the defensive coordinator at Florida State when he was hired as Kentucky's head coach, was named by many media members as one of the potential candidates for the Seminoles after coach Willie Taggart was fired in the middle of his second season in Tallahassee.

"It's something that you don't really want to address in season," Stoops said.

While Stoops said he wouldn't discuss the speculation, he said being named as a potential candidate is a sign that Kentucky is having success on the field.

"It's better than the alternative," Stoops said. He didn't put much stock into being linked to the Florida State job, joking about speculation about basketball coach John Calipari's potential return to the NBA.

He did say reports could have an effect on recruiting, as it is something he may have to directly address to high school players.

Stoops said he is focused on the Wildcats' upcoming matchup with Tennessee, which has rebounded from a rough start to the season by winning three of the last four games. The Volunteers also knocked off No. 12 Kentucky in 2018, so the Wildcats will be looking to avenge that loss. A win for either team will put them one game away from bowl eligibility.

Kentucky plays Tennessee at 7:30 p.m. on the SEC Network.

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