Kentucky-Georgia Postgame Quotes

Kentucky-Georgia Postgame Quotes

University of Kentucky Football Media Conference

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Lexington, Kentucky, USA

Coach Mark Stoops

Press Conference


Georgia 16, Kentucky 6

MARK STOOPS: You know, obviously that’s a very good football team. Once again, credit to Kirby (Smart), his staff, his team. They’re the No. 1 team in the country for a reason. They’ve worked extremely hard in all areas. They have a very complete football team. I am proud of the response of our football team. It was very difficult, as you can imagine, the season, tough games, tough losses, through some ups, through some downs. I think you can look around our league and see there is a lot of us in a very similar situation, that through the 12 games that there is going to be some highs and lows and it’s extremely challenging after a tough loss a week ago getting them motivated to compete and play at a high level and reinvest to the commitment that it takes to go compete with a team like this took a lot of digging and soul searching and the competitive nature of our players to reinvest and commit and put in that kind of effort.

You know, came up short, but the effort was there. The preparation was there. Need to execute a little better. In the first half we had an opportunity to at least get three; another missed field goal. You have a chance to be 16-13 and you have an opportunity. We know it’s a real challenge either way, whether you get them or not. It’s no sure thing.

But we put ourselves in position. I would like to see us execute a little cleaner in the red zone and get points when we can get points, and, again, try to capitalize on getting the ball in the end zone.

Pretty impressive 99-yard drive. That was a good response from our team. It was a great fourth down stop by a defense. Showed some guts and determination and some of the personality of the way we play. That piece of it I can be proud of the team, the way they compete.

We’ve got to regroup. Big game coming up here this week with a rival.

You have four red zone stops and held them out of the end zone. What does that say about that group playing without so many of your veteran leaders?

MARK STOOPS: I really appreciate them digging in like that, because it’s hard. That’s a physical football team that’s creative with their dynamic tight ends and run game and the way they create explosives down there and score touchdowns down there.

I thought the guys really competed and played hard. When it comes down to it, yeah, there was good coaching and good scheme by Brad (White) and the defensive staff, but ultimately the players showed some guts and determination in some critical short yardage plays against one of the most physical teams in the country.

Did you think you could have some success in the passing game going into this, or just as the game started to play out?

MARK STOOPS: Well, you do. You got to be careful, as you know, with drop back and the way these guys can rush in pressure and get your quarterback under duress. So, you got to pick your spots. We finally hit some big plays and had them set up at the right time, the right moment, got the protection and a good throw and him them.

A couple opportunities, at least one PI that I remember also, but had our shots and hit some. It gave us an opportunity, and you have to against a defense like that, because just to constantly, you know, grind it out three, four, five yards at time it’s going to be difficult. You have to try to create some explosives.

(Regarding Barion Brown’s 10 catches, 145 yards.)

MARK STOOPS: I didn’t realize it was 10. Yeah, I knew — that’s impressive, and, again, I thought he really responded well. Youngsters that talented you’re going to have some moments, games where it’s like this and some games where it’s tough, and you have to respond either way.

Pretty impressive by him. I saw — you know, just some the competitive catches down the field were really good to see, and stuff to build on.

Six turnovers for Will now in the red zone this year. Is there anything in particular that is showing up in those moments for him?

MARK STOOPS: I can’t put exact finger on it. I think he tried to fit one in there. You know, it’s tough the way they’re playing and they’re doubling and there are short windows in there.

You know, in hindsight that’s one I would like to try to split and hit a run, and if I do that everybody is like, you’re an idiot, you know what I mean?

It was exciting to see Will running again. Was that an intentional part of the game plan?

MARK STOOPS: It was. Just reads. The one he kept was a read. But yeah, it was good just so keep him honest a little bit. When you can’t do that then you let him chase it down from behind all the time, and you had to slow him down and keep him honest a little bit.

That helped a little bit in getting Chris (Rodriguez Jr.) even on three, four yard runs sometimes against a defense like that instead of zero-yard gain or negative yardage. So, the threat of that helps you a little bit.

Mark, four of the five guys who caught passes tonight are freshmen. What does it say about the future of the offense if we are all talking about what it’s going to look like?

MARK STOOPS: Yeah, I mean, you know, we know that there are some really talented players there and some good players. So, we’re in this moment now, you know what I mean? So, I would like to stay right here.

I just was accused of hyping up this team in the summer. I don’t need to start hyping up — you know what I mean? I need to stay right here with this football team and getting this team ready. That’s what I told our team. Like reinvest. Get some rest tonight and be ready to go and reinvest with that kind of attitude all week, with a very important game coming up here this week on Senior Day.

So that’s what I would like to see out of our whole team.

You had another bad snap on a kick. Do you have to re-evaluate?

MARK STOOPS: Yeah. I mean, what do I say? It’s not good. I mean, that anybody can see. You know, that doesn’t — I have no good answer. You know, we do it all the time. We have multiple people do it. Yeah, it’s not good. It’s no good.

Is Tayvion Robinson hurt?

MARK STOOPS: He is. He was banged up. Not 100%.

Was Kenneth Horsey hurt also?

MARK STOOPS: He was. He was. He had a situation before the game. I’ll address it Monday. Please don’t speculate on anything. All the preliminary tests we got back seem to be very positive. I’ll address it when I get more information. I’m glad the preliminary information seems to be okay.

You offensive line played pretty well today.

MARK STOOPS: They did, and I thought Deondre (Buford) stepped up. I heard Eli (Cox) rounding the troops up there and they were kind of patting him on the back because of his preparation. We didn’t know that Kenneth wouldn’t play until — I didn’t know until 20, 30 minutes before the game.

But the way he prepped and the way he stepped in and filled in and did a good job, that’s something for all youngsters to build on, all guys that are in a backup role. All of a sudden you’re thrown in and starting against the No. 1 team in the country and it seemed that he played pretty solid.

Obviously you wanted to win the game, but considering the way the defense played and the way the offense moved the ball, especially late in the game, is this something you feel you can build on?

MARK STOOPS: I definitely do. I think you and I know, like I don’t need to take a shot for a moral victory, but we all know the difference between putting something where you prepare and play and compete compared to not.

You know, the results are the results sometimes. We compete in a very difficult conference against some of the best, if not — I believe the best team in the country right there. So, it’s about how you prepare, how you play, how you compete, what we do to put them in position.

You know, I thought there were some good things and I thought the coaches put them in good position. You know it’s going to be difficult, but I was proud of our team’s effort, both in their preparation, in their responses to adversity all week, because it’s very easy to cave.

That’s the kind of response I would expect. That’s the kind of response when we’re competing against guys like Kirby who has competed against me for years and years, he would expect from our team.

Our team needs to understand that’s what people expect from our team, that we don’t cave. We have done some things right, we have done some things wrong, but that’s the way this team, this program plays.

We got to get back to being that all the time, competing like that all the time.

Mark, with those kicking game woes they kind of builds upon themselves. The mental aspect. Have you thought about maybe getting a psychologist?

MARK STOOPS: Yeah, they do. I think it’s fair. It definitely does. You know, it definitely does. You know, I’m a terrible golfer. You know, if I miss a three-footer that next one is in my head, you know, and so it’s kind of like the kicking, I’m sure it is part of it.

You know, so…

You mentioned players having something to be proud about. Did you see that from them today in the locker room? They did lose their second straight game. You said there is still room for improvement. Did you see the sort of like takeaways that you’re talking about now with us? Did you see that from them?

MARK STOOPS: They know. They know when they put on the film whether that’s something to be proud of or not. I’m not going to give you a headline, you know what I mean? Nobody is interested in going to celebrate because we played close. Yes, they know the difference between a prideful effort and one that’s not.

I don’t think it takes much to figure that out, you know what I mean? Our guys know they need that kind of commitment, that kind of investment, and that kind of competitive nature all the time.

On those stops on short yardage, especially late in the game, I know you’ve got to look at the tape for sure, but do you feel like your defensive line…

MARK STOOPS: I do. I think it’s a big piece of it. That’s what did came down to. We discussed, because Georgia is deadly on their boots and everything because of their tight ends and all that. I said, no, no, no, you know what I mean? They throw a boot, it’s on me, but we’re going to stay big and stay firm in there, and I wasn’t going to let them give them that.

So, we discussed it. Brad had a good defensive plan, but we talked about switching it to a defense where, you know what I mean, you could not be maybe as firm but better on boots or be better — and I had a feeling with Kirby’s mentality, you know what I mean? Get stopped on third and one. It’s fourth and one. They’re the No. 1 team in the country. I felt like they were going to try and jam it right down our throat. I was really pleased with our defensive effort there, yes, up front.

And they beat Florida, SEC.

MARK STOOPS: I mean, you know, I know people don’t believe me, you know what I mean? But, again, I don’t know, but I know just with that and different things, I mean, that’s what I’ve told our team. Don’t be defeated. Don’t be down. We’re not proud of that effort, you know what I mean, couple weeks ago.

But like nine teams in the SEC, did we all cave? No. There are some teams that are elite playing at a really high level. They deserve the recognition and they’re really good. They pieced it all together.

And then there are a lot of teams fighting our tails off and it’s challenging. I can say this: The guys emptied their tank this week both in preparation and competing. That’s what we have to do all the time.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

NOVEMBER 19, 2022

UK Student-Athletes

#7, Will Levis, QB

On how the offense played…
“Not bad. I think from an execution standpoint, a little bit above average. I think we had a great game plan. This is obviously a really tough defense to go up against and we made a handful of plays. Probably more downfield plays like that then we have seen all year. Which is cool, but yeah, I am proud of how the guys played. It was a weird game with the number of possessions each team had. Obviously, we would have liked to have come out with more points especially on that one interception drive. We defiantly left three points on the board for that. I am proud of how we played against such a good team.”

On how frustrating it is not finishing drives …
“Yeah, its tough, there have defiantly been instances this year of getting in the red zone under the fringe and not being able to finish drive. It’s a bunch of different things but it’s just frustrating for sure.”

On growth over the year with Barion…
“It’s been important to me for sure that I get him to keep his head up and keep his confidence up. And for him to know that he is a really special player and that we are going to target him. And his big plays are going to come. I’m just glad that he has been able to keep that right mindset throughout the last few weeks. And trust in us and trust in the calls and my throws to get him down the field like that. And it was really cool to see him make a few of those plays today.”

#0, Deone Walker, DL

On making defensive stops…
“It meant a lot to us – trying to get our offense back into their groove early in the game. It meant a lot to me knowing that no matter what, my defense and my teammates got me.”

On how they got their spirits back up after the loss against Vandy…
“You know – just having a 24-hour mindset. We get to sulk in it that Sunday, but then Monday, we coming back working.

On if this game gives them reassurance going forward…
“It gives us a lot of reassurance, you know. We knew what we could do – we just had to get back into our mode, I should say.”

#11, Zion Childress, DB

On what it was like to play against the defending National Champions at Kroger Field…
“It felt good to be out there with my team and do what we do best, play football. My whole life has been preparing for this moment, so it was just taking advantage of the opportunity.”

On his open field tackling skills…
“Before this season, it was a weakness in my game. I just took it into the off season and just tried to focus on making it into a strength.”

On what the mindset during the stops on the third and fourth downs…
“Yesterday, Buster Douglas came and talked to us. He told us about when Mike Tyson knocked him out and how he got back up and kept fighting. All game you can hear Coach White and Coach Stoops just telling us to fight back, keep swinging, keep throwing punches. We kept fighting.”

On morale after the loss last week to Vanderbilt…
“All week we were just like ‘we’ve got to get back, we’ve got to play better.’ We knew we needed to play our best against the number one team in the country.”


NOVEMBER 19, 2022

Georgia Head Coach Kirby Smart

Opening Statement …
“Yeah, I was really proud of our guys tonight, the resiliency, composure, and the kind of toughness they showed. We knew it would be this kind of game, we had talked about it all week. We actually showed clips from the last time we came up here, in terms of the number of snaps played and the shrinking of the game. Which, I think, is really smart by Mark in keeping the game tight and lowering the number of possessions. In these weather conditions, you’re going to play these kinds of games like this. We’re really proud of when our guy’s backs are against the wall how they come out fighting. What they do certainly could have played better probably in the red area. They could have stopped some drives defensively; we gave them a couple of conversions on penalties. I have to give Kentucky a lot of credit for bounce back and being a really physical football team.”

On not taking the points on the last possession the fourth quarter …
“I feel like to win the game, you need to be able to run it in from fourth and one and if you don’t get it, they got to go 99 yards. So, those decisions I get to make.”

On Kenny (McIntosh) getting his 1000th career yard …
“Awesome. Kenny ran the ball really well tonight, physical, tucked the ball up. I thought the offensive line was really physical. Did a good job in the run game to be able to get the ball out of there a couple times, and you know for him to hit 143, It’s awesome for him. He probably could have had more you know if he shared the load with some other guys. Kendall did a good job when he came in and that’s all those guys ran the ball will.”

On how it feels to be 8-0 in SEC back-to-back years …
“Hard to do, the last 40 years there’s only been two teams and it is hard to win on the road in the SEC. You look across the country today, you see the environments people were playing in. You see, it’s different. You find out really quick, who really wants to play football, and who’s just a football fan, and you have to be able to win in games like that, especially in November.”

Georgia Student-Athletes

#6, Kenny McIntosh, RB

On the Second-Half Touchdown Drive …
“It was real big. We had been driving the ball the whole field, but we knew that we needed to score on that drive to come out strong and get the ball rolling on the ground. We had preached during halftime that we needed to go out there and start stronger and be physical on the line of scrimmage.”

On the weather conditions …
“We preached all week that, no matter the circumstances, I wouldn’t be the only one out there that was cold. All of my brothers were cold too, so we had to go out there and execute the plan and do our job. The cold didn’t really affect that. The wind was blowing hard so we wanted to keep the ball on the ground. It was hard going against the wind, so we wanted to stay on the ground and the backs executed that. We went out there and ran hard and physical and did what we had to do to help this team win. ”

On Kentucky’s goal line success …
“I’d say they did a good job of plugging the holes and shooting the gaps. They have fast linemen who closed the holes. They played physical too and they have a good team over there. We knew that it was going to be hard and physical, just like every SEC team we’ve played. ”


#5, Kelee Ringo, DB

On the undefeated accomplishment …
“It’s a great feeling honestly. Every single week. Day in and day out man. It’s physical in practice which prepares us. Feels great to win especially on the road. I’m happy for this team and the future of what we can accomplish.”

On Wills Levis making plays …
“Will Levis is a good quarterback. He is an NFL type quarterback and has good receivers around him. They’ve got a good scheme and I respect the Kentucky offense. They were making a few plays here and there but I feel like us and our scheme limited them to a few things they were to do as well.”

On Kentucky changing things in the 2nd half …
“Not too sure if they changed very much, but they definitely tried to throw the ball a lot more as the game continued. I feel like the game went by really fast as both of us were trying to throw the ball in the first half. They came out in the 2nd half trying to take a lot more shots at us.”


#13, Stetson Bennett, QB

On remembering first game as a Bulldog in 2017 …
“(Jacob) Eason got hurt on their sideline. Man who would have thought that would happen? I think you can look at most college kids in a six-year period from when they get there and when they leave there is gonna be growth. Especially in football, you’re expected to grow a lot.”

On Jamie Carter punching it on the goal line …
“I couldn’t see it because I’m worried about getting a snap and then they didn’t replay it. We haven’t been winning those match-ups on third down and one and one to go at the goal line. So we’ve got to win those match ups.”

On what happened on that interception …
“I didn’t see the safety. I saw the front side safety and I thought the back side safety went up too but he did not. ”


#70, Warren McClendon, OL

On red zone issues …
“I really don’t know what happened. We’ve got to get back and look at the film. Of course we want that’s one back, the third and one and fourth and one but we were just lucky to come out with the win.”

On being 8-0 (in the SEC) and how difficult that is …
“We’ve got to go in and go to work every week. Every week you have to expect that teams best so you have to go and prepare and be ready for their best.”

On factors making it hard to bounce UK back …
“Right now I don’t know we have to go back and watch the film. We scored every time we got down there we just couldn’t finish with a touchdown how we wanted. We came out with the win so we will get back Monday and watch the film.”


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