Kentucky coach Mark Stoops makes no apologies for fights as Cats prepare for top-ranked Georgia

By Keith Taylor
Kentucky today

Mark Stoops is unapologetic after his team’s 21-24 loss to Vanderbilt last Saturday.

“I don’t feel comfortable talking about excuses,” Stoops said Monday. “I give credit to coaches (Clark) Lea and Vandy for outplaying us and passing us. You have done a very good job. They came in and did some really good things with a quarterback who was playing a very good game.”

At the same time, Stoops said the Wildcats (6-4, 3-4 Southeastern Conference) failed to capitalize and “had our chances to win.”

Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops leads his team onto the field (Photo by LG Patterson, AP, via Kentucky Today)

“We can’t put ourselves in a position where it’s a game here or a game there,” he said. “We had these opportunities. We’ve won these games in the past and times and we’ve won quite a few. And that’s what will happen if you keep playing very tight games. We didn’t make the plays to win.”

Stoops and his troops don’t have much time to reflect on the disappointing setback. The Wildcats host leaders Georgia (10-0, 7-0) for both teams in the SEC finals on Saturday.

“We’re playing the number one in the country and they deserve to be number one,” Stoops said. “You are terribly impressive in every way. They deserve to be where they are and we have a big challenge ahead of us.”

In addition to preparing for the Bulldogs, Stoops also knows that improving on both sides of the ball is a top priority.

“We have to keep working extremely hard and evaluating all aspects of the program and trying to improve,” said the Kentucky coach. “We always take responsibility. We are constantly learning, changing and adapting, and doing our best to put ourselves in a position to win games. There are no excuses, we have to get better, train better and play better. And we will continue to do that and keep working on it.”

Although the Wildcats have lost four of their last six games, Stoops has faith in his players and the team.

“No one gave up,” he said. “We have a very good team. We have to play better in certain situations. We still have a lot in us. We could certainly be better. But we all believe in our team.”

game tracker: Georgia in Kentucky, 3:30 p.m., Saturday. television/radio: CBS, UK Radio Network.

Keith Taylor is the sports editor of Kentucky Today. Reach him at [email protected] and on Twitter at keithaylor21.