The Kentucky Wildcats appear to be trending upward under second-year head coach Mark Stoops. Currently sitting at 2-0 with a 59-14 win over Tennessee-Martin in Week 1 and a 20-3 victory against Ohio in Week 2, Kentucky is not only 33rd nationally in scoring offense (39.5 points) but sixth in the country in scoring defense (8.5 points).
With the Florida Gators (1-0) on deck Saturday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida, Stoops spent a large portion of his Monday afternoon press conference discussing the Gators and the difficult task his team has ahead of it this weekend.
The below quotes are courtesy of a transcript from The Courier-Journal, which has more from Stoops on Florida and his Kentucky team entering its third game of the season:
On how the Gators have impressed him on tape: “Just the typical Florida team: physical, with a bunch of athletes out there. Very fast, very well-coached. They’re very aggressive defensively. They’re much improved offensively. Obviously, they racked up a whole boat load of yards.”
On the difficulties the Wildcats will face in The Swamp: “Well, we have some inexperience, but it is what it is. It will be a real challenge. I think it’s a great venue, obviously one of the best venues in college football. … It’s a great place, a great atmosphere. Very passionate fan base. It will be a real challenge. It’s certainly not easy. It will be really good for us to see where we’re at. I know the coaches are excited. The players are anxious for this great challenge. We’ll see where we’re at.”
On his relationship with Florida head coach Will Muschamp: “I know Will well. Have a lot of respect for Will. Great defensive coach, great head coach. They’re going to have a good year, I know that. Like I said, I just like him, like the way he coaches, have a lot of respect for him and the program.”
On what Muschamp’s teams look like on tape: “What you see is what you get. He’s a tough guy, defensive-minded guy, and they’re gonna play with that great passion, which, how can you not love that and appreciate that? Like I said, I think they’re much different offensively this year, and they got some weapons, and they got some real speed outside and a great scheme. So, I think they’re much-improved offensively.”
On whether the Wildcats will be coached up on their 27-game losing streak: “I really don’t think we need that motivation. If it does [provide motivation] to some individual players, that’s fine. I’ll let them read that, but it’s not something I want to put in front of them. We’re pretty motivated to get out there and play well and to try to get a win.”
On what problems UF redshirt senior quarterback Jeff Driskel presents for UK’s defense: “He’s a good football player, and he’s got some good weapons and a good system. So, he can run it and he can throw it. They obviously – they exploded in that first game. They have some playmakers. Well, I don’t know if we ever really go into it taking that effect, but I think it would be very challenging to jump out in front of them like we did in the first two. But that’s what we’re going to try to do.”
On the importance of Saturday’s game considering the roll Kentucky is on right now: “I think it is. I’m anxious. I want to have a great week of preparation by our coaches and our players. I want us just as excited to go out there and play as we were in the first two games at home, and I think it will be interesting to see how our young players respond and how they go play. So, yeah, it’s a measuring stick for us.”