Mark Stoops winning despite significant deficiencies

Discussion in 'Wildcat Lair - Football Forum' started by UKErik, Oct 29, 2017.

  1. UKErik

    UKErik All-American
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    With four games left in the regular season, Kentucky is 6-2. They're 6-2 for a lot of reasons. The most obvious might be schedule strength.

    Schedule strength is important for every team in America, and UK is no exception. Certainly, Kentucky's schedule isn't as difficult as we're used to seeing. Of Kentucky's six victories, only two have come against teams that currently have a winning record (South Carolina and Southern Mississippi, both of which occurred away from Lexington). Still, the fact that Stoops is winning isn't something to take for granted when you consider...

    *Kentucky's inability to control the line of scrimmage. On defense, UK's d-line just isn't very good (and we knew that was gonna be the case back in April). They're routinely pushed around between the tackles. I guess you can blame Stoops for not having better lineman, but he's getting stops despite not being able to dominate up front defensively.

    *The same can be said for UK's offensive line. I think interior play has been better than what we've gotten at tackle (despite the snap issues before Jackson took over at center). UK's edge guys have struggled all season. As we saw last night, even when you move the football on most of your possessions (like UT did), tackles for loss kill drives. That's what's happened to UK far too often this season. It's tough to produce a consistent offense with a deficient o-line.

    *The UK running game has been awful (until last night). Some of that can be attributed to the losses of Toth and Mosier (also, Haynes isn't what he was last season...dude gets SO much credit for gutting it out though). Some of it can be attributed to the loss of Boom Williams. UK hasn't been able to develop a consistent threat other than Snell.

    *UK's secondary is underachieving IMO. It's gotten so bad that UK's staff doesn't really trust them in man coverage.

    *UK doesn't have a consistent playmaker at QB. Johnson is as clutch as they come, but he isn't the kind of player that's going to make play after play after play for four quarters every week. He's limited. He still struggles with accuracy (as we've seen in each of the last two weeks). UK can't really run him as often as they'd probably like (because he isn't exactly a bulldozer like Fitzgerald). Don't get me wrong, Johnson is probably the main reason UK is 6-2, but he's just not a consistent playmaking QB (well, until the game is on the line!!!!!!).

    *There's no real vertical threat in the passing game. Losing Badet really hurt. Baker too. UK has failed to quickly develop one of the freshman (Epps for example). UK's lack of speed and playmaking ability outside has been a killer. It's forced an offense with a below average running game to put together sustained drives. UK hasn't gotten many cheap points this season.

    Despite those issues (all of which are significant IMO), Kentucky is 6-2. Take away the bullshit flag on UK's final drive against Florida, and we're probably looking at 7-1.

    No question, Stoops and his staff have made mistakes (the most glaring of which occurred in the Florida game). Still, UK is 6-2 with a FAR from perfect football team.

    More on Stoops;
    *He's 23-22 since the end of his first season
    *UK is 13-8 over the last two seasons
    *UK is 13-5 in their last 18 regular season games
    *UK is 7-6 in their last 13 SEC games
    *UK is 9-2 in their last 11 games when the final margin was 10 points or less

    I think Stoops is on the "right path" to build something special at Kentucky. The first step was to gain some respectability. He did that. The next step was to win football games despite the lack of dominating talent. He's doing that. The "hope" is that if he keeps winning games and getting UK into the postseason, elite recruits will eventually take notice and start choosing Kentucky. If that happens, UK will be taking the step they haven't taken in decades...accumulating enough talent to consistently challenge the leagues elite programs.

    Sure, Stoops hasn't been close to perfect, but I still don't get the "fire Stoops" stuff. He's getting the job done with a team that has major issues. Like every other UK coach in my lifetime, he's found it challenging to put a dominant product on the field. Unlike those coaches, he's figuring out ways to win anyway.

    GBB!!!
     
    1 UKErik, Oct 29, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2017
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  2. dyersburgcatfan

    dyersburgcatfan Freshman
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    I felt like last night was one of Stoop's best coached games. Take away the -4 in turnovers, which were not his fault, we win but a much bigger margin.
     
  3. Ky grandpa

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    Good read Erik and I agree. I get frustrated as anyone but I know it will take some more time to get a winning attitude around here(UK). It's been a very long time since the FB teams can go in and expect a win in every game. I remember the 70's teams very well and it was a lot of fun then. I certainly hope that Stoops can do the same.
    We are on our way to a very good season if everything falls into place. These kid's have a winning desire I have not seen in a few years and it's refreshing. I think most fans understand but it's easy to get caught up and react to a play that make's you want to scratch your head. I have enough faith in the coaches right now to get it lined out.
    Thank for all the great work you do Erik..

    GBB
     
  4. sambowieshin

    sambowieshin Senior
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    Agree with everything you say OP. I don't get the "Far Stoops" garbage either. Would we rather change coaches with Florida, Tennessee, Arkansas, Vanderbilt, or Ole Miss (almost half the SEC)??? Stoops is struggling to take a perennial loser program for most of the last 60 plus years and turn it into a winning program with sub par talent (by SEC standards). What Stoops is doing with what he's got is pretty darn good. He ain't perfect, but he is much better than many of our fans realize.
     
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  5. reflaine

    reflaine Sophomore
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    Wisconsin has yet to beat a team with a winning record. Wisconsin is also could be rated third in country.

    Let's not act like the schedule is so. Much worse than others
     
    5 reflaine, Oct 29, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2017
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  6. LordEgg

    LordEgg All-American
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    I still don't get our end of half play calling.
     
  7. reflaine

    reflaine Sophomore
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    Maybe this helps. 6/15 46 yards. That's what johnson was on the night.

    Remember the last drive before our game winning drive? Where we tried to throw the ball? SJ struggled last night with accuracy. While we gashed them for for nearly 300 yards on the ground.

    That was our best chance to get a score last night. (We did have timeouts left if we got a first down or what to set up a fg)
     
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  8. KyCatFan

    KyCatFan All-American
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    If he didn't have the same issues constantly occurring in year 5 that have been there since year 1, I think more people would believe in him and overlook some of our problem areas. I am happy to come away with the win after trying to do just about everything we could to lose it. I am aggravated that we have to make every game against equal or lesser opponents an adventure though.

    Regardless of our record, I still don't think he can consistently take us any further than he likely will this year (probably 8 wins not counting the bowl). Sure that is better than we have been doing over like the last 30 years, but the weakness of the schedule has never been and likely will never be any easier. How will he do once Florida and Tennessee get back to where they usually are? Georgia is already at that level. Will the rest of the SEC East improve as well? Is UL going to keep regressing or build themselves back up? Will we get to keep playing 3 nearly guaranteed wins every year out of conference?

    Next year will likely be a step back for us when you factor in the player losses we will have. There won't be a QB with much game experience on the roster and we will lose about 11 players (I believe that is the number) off of our 2 deep to go with our very good kicker. So how will everyone feel if we don't make a bowl next year? The natives will start to get even more restless and continue second guessing Stoops as head coach.

    I think Mitch caused a lot of the issues by constantly giving Stoops contract extensions with only minimal improvement. So even if Stoops declines the next 2 years I doubt we would get rid of him with I believe 3 more years on his contract still remaining after that. We are pretty much stuck with Stoops for good or bad for probably at least 3 more years regardless of the play on the field. So we better all hope we continue to improve and Stoops turns out to be the right man for the job or we will have another head coach that was kept around to long and be back to square one once again.
     
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  9. Jeff Sykes

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    Stoops is still a couple of position coaches away from having a really good staff. While most fans don’t like the conservative play calling that probably fits our personnel. The o-line did look better but one game doesn’t change the complete season up to this point. The secondary has woefully under preformed this season. A win is always great so can’t complain to much. Ball security which hasn’t really been a big problem this year caused this game to be somewhat closer than it should have been and that is on the players for not covering the ball with 2 hands when contact is about to occur.
     
  10. blugrazz

    blugrazz Freshman
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    Kentucky really had an opportunity to take advantage of the SEC East a few years back with the coaching shuffle but didn't. Looks like they get another chance at it again the next couple years. We really need to make some strides in 2018 and 2019 to solidly the program for five years. I hope they can take advantage of probable coaching changes at UT and Florida.
     
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  11. irishcat1965

    irishcat1965 All-SEC
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    Exactly. The list is endless of top 25 teams with winning records who have beaten nobody. Washington. NC State. Michigan State. Virginia Tech. South Florida. Miami. West Virginia. Stanford. Memphis. UCF. You can’t look at UK’s schedule in a vacuum.
     
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  12. reflaine

    reflaine Sophomore
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    I thought stoops had a fine called game last night. No glaring mistakes. Great halftime adjustments. Anytime you win with a minus four turnover margin, (nine in coaches). all in your own territory and win while throwing for less than 100 yards and winning is a good coaching job.
     
  13. screwduke1

    screwduke1 All-SEC
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    I think UK needs a new secondary coach. Clinkscale seems like a decent recruiter, but his secondary plays so bad. And that unit has several 4 stars and high 3 stars, so lack of talent can't really be blamed.
     
  14. reflaine

    reflaine Sophomore
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    Although they are highly rated by Kentucky standards, in the sec they aren't going against many receivers rated near they are. Most sec guys for every team are four and five star guys minus Vandy.
     
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  15. KyCatFan

    KyCatFan All-American
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    Isn't that Coach Stoops's area of expertise (defensive backs coach)? You'd think that would be a strong area for the defense. Especially with the rankings of the players we have been getting at those positions.
     
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  16. ManitouDan

    ManitouDan Junior
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    I don't wish to call for the firing of Stoops but I think this little section of success the past 15 games is totally related to schedule and we haven't improved any . None . We gained a W last night by the skin of our teeth against Tn , but its fact they are at a depth rarely seen in that programs history . We came razor close to finally beating UF , but again , that program is at the very bottom , and we can't expect them to stay there long . Its a complex question with any facets but have we really improved ? Did we look improved last night ? Have we improved from game 1 to game 8 ? I'm not seeing it , I'll root my heart out but if you take emotion away I don't see a team any better than the previous 5 years . We just happen not to playing hardly any good teams at all. The W's are related to the weakness of those around us , not our growing strength . Thats my opinion, and I hope I'm wrong.
     
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  17. shutzhund

    shutzhund All-American
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    This thread is substantial support of Brooks' remark about fickle.
     
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  18. UKUGA

    UKUGA All-SEC
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    I’m actually somewhat impressed that we’ve defeated 2 teams with a winning record.
     
  19. Prime MF

    Prime MF All-American
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    I disagree, I see people giving an honest, fair assessment. Some good, some bad. We're not a perfect team and Stoops is not a perfect coach. Fickle is people abandoning the team. Nobody's doing that.
     
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  20. dvillecatfan

    dvillecatfan Junior
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    Yes...yes...yes

    cant worry what the neighbors are up to...gotta take care of your own house and things will work out.
     
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  21. Johnfarrel

    Johnfarrel Junior
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    The difference is this team and teams of the past is that this team wins games it would have lost in the past. Some of the things that seem to happen to Kentucky all the time (slow starts, turnovers, giving up points at the end of first half, giving up bombs on third and long, etc.) are still happening but this team is overcoming them. With the exception of this year's Florida game, Kentucky has won the close ones since last year's Florida game. A lot of it is that Stephen Johnson just refuses to lose, but a lot of it is culture change that hopefully will remain after Stephen leaves.
     
  22. BigBlueCatNation

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    What is Stoops overall record now?

    I’m sure it’s still a losing record, but with numbers like those he’s got to have made a dent in it.
     
  23. BigBlueCatNation

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    Tennessee isn’t getting back to where they once were. They are like the Indiana of football. As far as Louisville being good again, if Kentucky continues to improve, it will have its pick of the talent.

    There is absolutely no reason for Kentucky to not have a much better program than Louisville. In the past, Kentucky has just chosen not too.
     
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  24. medeski7

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    The fact that we came away with the W after four turnovers speaks volumes about this team and our coaches. We win ugly, but we win. I'm really proud of this team. I encourage some of the more negative fans to be more supportive and be thankful for a good season.
     
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  25. bigblueinsanity

    bigblueinsanity All-American
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    Really like Stoops. Love our record. But some of his staffs decisions, particularly on D, make things much harder on this team than they need.

    End of half defense and constantly having linebackers cover wrs are two things that jump out.
     
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  26. seccats04

    seccats04 Senior
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    This. The DB's have really regressed under Clinkscale. I mean we were pretty darn good under Ansley with way less talent. And we need to cut Schlarman also. His OL has sucked since he's been here, minus the last half of last season. He cut his teeth with spread offense teams and his OL reflect that because they are soft as Charmin.
     
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  27. KatFootballFan

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    I think UKEric hit the nail on the head, S C H E D U L E.....and we'll test that theory in the coming weeks. Not so much with Vandy, whom we should surely play close and win in the end ; )....but Ole Miss, UGA, and even University 6 will be big tests for this team. We better start stopping the run, or we'll go 1-3 from here on out....and who knows who'll we'll draw in the Middle-of-the-Pack Bowl?

    I agree with the OP except on "approach". Getting elite athletes is not going to push us over the top IMHO. All that does is put us on par with about 1/2 the SEC. From there we have to have some DYNAMIC coaching/scheme, and on that front I would have to give us one of the lowest scores in the country, not just the SEC. We're not even using all our offensive weapons now, so how will more help us in the future?? This offense doesn't even use the TE as a weapon. Did Conrad catch a pass last night??...and we're recruiting more of them, lol.
     
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  28. screwduke1

    screwduke1 All-SEC
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    I think the o line played very well yesterday, so hopefully they are improving. But yeah, Schlarmans o lines have mostly been pretty bad.
     
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  29. Bluesnky

    Bluesnky Sophomore
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    I think the coaches deserve credit for getting up to four wins against teams that are equal to or better than UK this season, and criticism because those teams should not be equal to or better than UK in year five.

    Three position groups seem to need significant improvements in development. Leblanc might be fixing the DL already, given Bohannan's improvement. I can give Schlarman the benefit of the doubt because of last season. But Clinksale inherited a talented group that performed pretty well, and that unit seems to have taken a step back.

    These things will have to be cleaned up or we will take a big step back next season.
     
  30. Johnblue2

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    Yes we look improved last night in the offensive line. The center and both guards played the entire game without rotation. So the offensive line has upside on the back half of the season assuming no injuries. That cohesiveness showed in the run game. I think this offense is on the verge of exploding. Our OLine has been a major issue but we are 6-2. We need to start putting up 35 because I do believe our secondary won’t improve much. I don’t have the answer on why it has regressed.
     
  31. irishcat1965

    irishcat1965 All-SEC
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    This schedule argument holds no water. Plenty of teams in the top 25 have beaten mediocre and bad teams. Why should UK be singled out?
     
  32. Xception

    Xception All-American
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  33. seccats04

    seccats04 Senior
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    I just think he's a bad fit for what we want to do. He's more of a spread coach and Stoops wants a Woody Hayes type, ball control offense.
     
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  34. KyCatFan

    KyCatFan All-American
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    Have those teams struggled to win against basically every single team they have played this season? That is the question because I really don't watch enough of other teams to see how they look against directional schools. Feel free to answer if you know.

    Everyone pretty much has a game that they don't perform up to the level they are capable of against a lesser opponent, but how many do it like 4+ times in the same season against equal or lesser teams? That is the main problem most have with Stoops and this team. I wouldn't care if we had a couple of ugly wins against equal or better teams, but constantly doing it against weaker teams is aggravating.
     
  35. KatFootballFan

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    You know, I'm thinking that the level of our competition last night had much more to do with our effectiveness, than the line getting its act together. Let's see how we move the ball against Ole Miss and UGA. Those are true SEC defensive fronts, and they should test your premise really well. Vandy and University 6 not so much, as neither is a solid SEC style unit.

    We're going to have to be able to run the ball against the big boys if we ever want to move up the SEC ladder using the CMS system of recruiting elite talent, and beating the best at their own game. I don't see that happening, but it will get us to a mid-level bowl year in and year out.
     
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  36. irishcat1965

    irishcat1965 All-SEC
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    They don’t put an asterisk next to wins that are struggles. And by the way, Stanford barely beat a 1-6 team this week. Miami barely beat a 1-6 team this week. UK is 6-2. That is the bottomline.
     
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  37. reflaine

    reflaine Sophomore
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    Look at Wisconsin. Up until yesterday they had even not played a team with a winning record (Florida Atlantic and northwestern won to get to 4-3 yesterday)

    Southern miss although not a power five school has been a respectable program, eastern Michigan at 2-6 (those six losses came by a total of ten points at end of regulation to teams with a combined record of 35-11). South Carolina is a pretty god football team, who when we beat them on the road had their best player (Dabo Samuel). Miss state is really good btw.

    Our schedule is no different and might actually be better than a lot programs in the top 35. Out of this stretch of 13-5 regular season games. we have losses to Florida, Alabama, miss state, Tennessee (much different team last season) and uga. Which we had a chance to win two more of those if we just make a routine play. (Badet catch, and a straight run playbwithout a hold). Let's not act like those teams are not ahead of us on program prestige and talent.

    Tennessee is not Tennessee of old, but they are not terrible either. Win over Ga tech, loss on a Hail Mary at Florida, had a shot in last minute against a decent to good USC team. And what one does against Bama can't be used as a measuring stick.
     
  38. KyCatFan

    KyCatFan All-American
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    I wouldn't say that about UT. They still get great recruiting classes even with sub par results. They still have a huge fan base. They still have great facilities. They just are making terrible hires. IU basketball is stuck in the 80's. Their recruiting has been way down. I haven't heard much about their facilities. I don't think they invest much in their basketball program, but I could be wrong. Plus their hires have been pretty bad as well.

    UL will always be an issue for us if they are allowed to keep taking questionable recruits and transfers. Will that change under new AD management? They should keep doing well offensively as long as Petrino is there, but they have to do better with their defense.
     
  39. truebluewildcat

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    CMS is going to get a nice fat extension. He deserves it. However I would agree with the poster who pointed out the opponents over the last 15 games.

    It's also import to realize how important/special Boom was, Benny is, and SJ is. I'm afraid our record over the last 2 years would be drastically different without those 3. Those three have not won because a lot of things going well but in spite of many things.

    Though it is time to celebrate and appreciate where UK football is and appears to be going, it is also important to understand that there are some severe deficiencies that are hurting the program from further progress.

    Folks, we don't have any offense nor an identity outside of Boom, Benny, and SJ over the last 15 games. Outside of Benny and SJ there is no legit consistent play making or any kind of note worthy threat.

    The offensive game planning and play calling is also suspect at best. One play last night summed it up perfectly for me. The Drew Barker roll out and fumble. Jesus christ, what was that? Terrible execution obviously on DB's part, but that play should never have been called. Maybe worst play call of Eddie Gran's tenure here thus far, and that is saying something.

    Guys we all know the OL and DL short comings. Still a long ways to go. Don't let a good showing vs a terrible UT team fool you. Even though our D had some big plays they still somehow managed to make a terrible UT offense look competitive.

    I think having Rich Brooks and company in for this weekend provided a great opportunity for some reflection. CRB took a bunch of 2-3 star guys and won 3 consecutive bowls with them, a handful of those low rated recruits are still in the league. CMS and company have stocked the cupboards with the best talent this program has ever seen, yet we don't have a lot to show for it, and if it weren't for 3 guys mainly CMS would be on a very hot seat with all that "talent". That means one thing, the recruiting is there, but the developing, coaching, game planning, and execution is not.
     
  40. irishcat1965

    irishcat1965 All-SEC
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    How would any team’s record look without their star players? I don’t get the point.
     
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