Mark Stoops held nothing back.
The Kentucky coach acknowledged the shortcomings of his Wildcats team Saturday in a 42-16 loss to Mississippi State, and then subsequently took the blame for several of those mistakes on Monday.
In his weekly press conference, Stoops called the coaching performance “very poor” and said that he’ll need to make some changes moving forward for the Wildcats to be more successful.
“I’m always gonna own it. There’s things we could do better as a staff, there’s things I could do better,” he said Monday. “It’s not all on [the players]. It never is, it never will be … I don’t want to beat a dead horse publicly. There’s things that we’ll get ironed out and we’ll get fixed in the staff. I’m not panicked about it.”
One of the plays Stoops wasn’t happy with Saturday night came toward the end of the first half as Kentucky made a push for another touchdown before the break. The Wildcats elected to kick a field goal, which kicker Austin MacGinnis missed, instead of continuing to push for the touchdown on fourth down. Given a do over, Stoops said he would have gone for it.
“I need to be more forceful in my communication. I don’t call offensive plays, you know what I mean? That’s not, listen — you know me. It’s my job to get it done one way or the other on boths sides of the ball,” he said. “I don’t call defensive plays either but I still have to manage the game on both sides. That’s what I do.”
Heading into what will likely be another physical matchup with Tennessee Saturday, Stoops is hopeful he and his staff can get some kinks worked out in practice this week. He’s aware of the state of Kentucky’s program and is hoping to push it forward.
“People want results and we’re in a results-based business,” he said. “I fully understand where we’re at and where we’re headed and I fully understand when people say, ‘You’ve been here for two-and-a-half years now, how come it ain’t fixed?’ It’s no excuse or whatever but we have to do things right for 10 and 20 years.”
“I’m not saying it’ll take that long. You want to be good and you want to build.”