Vanderbilt –Kentucky Postgame Quotes
Nov. 11, 2017
Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason
“First let me credit coach Stoops and his football team. I thought they were opportunistic and we beat ourselves in this ballgame. Too many turnovers, to win any ballgame, four turnovers are too many, it can’t happen. We talked about what this game had to be and it was anything but that. Last week, we got a few bounces to go our way. This week we got one, and the ball was on the ground three times and we came up with one yet we were there all three times. It is hard when you turn the ball over and you can’t keep up in the turnover margin, it becomes extremely tough. You look at those two turnovers before half, it only led to six points but it was about momentum. We just didn’t do a good enough job of stopping the run. I said it earlier in the week, I said it coming into this and I told our team at halftime that you can’t let a team like this be two-dimensional. They continued to run the football and be efficient in the pass game. We checked off one more box in not playing well on special teams. Again, we have to be a better football team and that is on me, it starts with me. I look at the third quarter, they had 141 yards, 21 points and a 93-yard kick return that really takes the wind out of your sails. You look at us, we did some things in the second offensively but again killing ourselves with drives that end in turnovers and not being able to stay on the field. It was a comedy of errors, not very good football. I believe this football team is better than that, I believed that going into the game. Now what we have to do is wake up tomorrow and find a way to get Missouri. This one is gone, unfortunately.
On whether Ralph could have been used more in the first half:
“I thought we could have used him more, you have to stay on the field. When I look at it, there were a couple of times where he waved himself off. It wasn’t necessarily us taking him out, he said he needed to come off so we took him out. I don’t think that has to do with anything. I thought he ran hard, could he have had more touches, sure.”
On what upset him the most besides the turnovers:
“The lack of red zone stops. I thought we were non-existent in the red zone defensively. It is not about getting guys lined up, we had guys lined up every time, guys just have to make a play. To me, whether it is a guy overrunning a play or not staying in his gap, it just comes back to discipline. Right now we don’t have enough of it and that has been a common thing and a common problem and that is on me as a coach. You line it up structurally and I don’t care what the x’s and o’s say, you have to play above the x’s and o’s and we didn’t do that, we didn’t even play to the x’s and o’s. Again, we just have to be better.
Were you calling the defense today or was that Marc Mattioli?
“I had calls on every one of those deals. We were just talking back and forth about what the adjustments would be and how we work it. In the end, I truly believe it is not about what is being called, it is about how we play.”
Does the lack of discipline come in tackling?
“Yeah, it is all the way around. We had guys wrapped up and just did not bring our feet through contact. For us, it is definitely about us making sure we finish and we did not do that tonight enough or consistently enough.”
On whether there was confusion after the 25-yard gain on third down:
“I don’t think there was confusion, a guy got out of a gap. When you are talking about alignments and somebody misses a call that is what can happen to you and they got the first down. Unfortunately for us, there were a number of times where we knew what was coming, we knew exactly what they would be in and we didn’t execute. Just chalk it up to not playing well tonight.”
On whether he can figure out what is wrong when it comes to tackling:
“That is exactly what I am trying to do, I am trying to put my finger on it. I am trying to figure out exactly what the problem is. It is the ebb and flow, the up and down. I wish it was a problem that I can just point out and say here it is and fix it. We are chasing it right now and any time you are chasing it, it can be elusive so we have to find out what it is.”
On whether he wants this loss to burn with the team:
“Damn right. I am pissed, I am mad, I am angry and it starts with me. I am mad at myself. I talked to this group about expectations and we have to get it right and we have to get it right, right now. I can live with your best and that wasn’t their best so let’s go.”
Whether he has the same feeling as last year’s team needing two wins in the final two games:
“It is a different team. We are at a different point right now. The record may be the same but the thing we need to do is self-reflect every one of us. Coaches and players and let’s get it right and you have to take it one day at a time. Again, it goes back to process. I am not moving off that because until it gets fixed, you can’t change the outcome. We really have to change our process and make sure the process leads us to where we are trying to go and then the outcome winds up being exactly what you want it to be.”
Vanderbilt QB Kyle Shurmur
On your struggles with the turnovers:
“I am going to have to go back and take a look at it but you can’t turn the ball over four times and expect to win the game. So yeah, can’t do that.”
On whether it was something Kentucky did that they weren’t expecting:
“No, just bad quarterback play. That’s it.”
Vanderbilt LB Oren Burks
On what they can do to fix the tackling issue:
“Just being intentional about it in practice. We have to be able to wrap up and drive our feet through contact. There have been too many missed tackles, too many missed opportunities and it is hurting our defense and it is hurting our team. We have to find a way to get it fixed.”
On whether he can put his finger on what the issue is:
“It is just a lot of little plays that add up. Missed assignments, missed tackles and ultimately just missed opportunities for us to play good ball. We have spurts of good ball but it just needs to be more consistent. That is on all of us as a whole.”
On what point does confidence become an issue:
“I think that is one of the things coach Mason always drives home is that to remain confident in your technique and your process. For us, we just have to fix our process. We have to make sure we are doing the things that we need to whether that is our eyes or our keys or trusting the calls and playing to the best of our ability. It just goes back to the process.”
Whether he has the same feeling as last year’s team needing two wins in the final two games:
“I think we know what needs to be done, we have to win these next two games. We have to do whatever it takes to make it happen. We were in this position last year and made it happen so it gives us a lot of confidence in ourselves. It is a very similar team so we just have to go back to practice and the process. I 100% believe in this team, we are going to get it done.”
On what it meant to wear the names on the back of the jerseys today:
“Yeah I am wearing Christopher Horton’s name on the back of my jersey and that is something Jason Grooms approached us about. It is extremely humbling to honor our veterans this way. We are dissatisfied in the loss but at the same time to be able to honor those families of fallen soldiers, that means a lot. Thank you to all these Veterans on this day. Your service does not go unnoticed. Thank you guys.”
Kentucky Head Coach Mark Stoops
General Statements from the game:
" I was very proud of our team and the way we played tonight. To go on the road and play good football across the board. We knew it was going to take and our guys responded with a great week of practice all week and had the toughness and the attitude that we were looking for going on the road to win a game that we knew was going to be super competitive. I have great respect for Derek and Vanderbilt and what he does and how they play. I was proud of our guys with the preparation and with a little adversity early turning the ball over and then we go down by seven and just the way we responded and played the entire game, we played efficiently on offense, defense and special teams. Each group contributed to the victory and that makes it very enjoyable as a team.”
On the importance of forcing turnovers:
“I think it was really important. We were frustrated we hadn't gotten many in in the past two and a half games and so you know we stressed it, but I really liked the way the defensive backs played the football and were competitive all night.”
On earning a contract extension with tonight’s win:
“I'm always appreciative of that. You know this is a grind, it's always tough and you know how committed I am to Kentucky and in taking it to another level. That's what we're trying to do. And believe me, I want to stay with that.”
On the team’s fan support on the road:
“I greatly appreciate our fans’ support tonight - walking out there today early and seeing the Big Blue Nation represented like that was just great to see, our players really loved seeing all that blue out there. We always appreciate their support and thank them for hanging with us.”
On Benny Snell’s play and the running back breaking school records:
“Really, it's incredible. I just really love the way he's going about his work. As we said from day one when we recruited him and as he came in here, the first thing we looked at with him was what you see; that toughness and that attitude he has, he’s a strong, physical runner but he also has the maturity also. I appreciate him and what he's done. He’s a competitive guy and he goes through some ups and downs, but that'll happen when you’re in the SEC. He gets some really tough yards at times and you know there's times when he wants to get frustrated but he's really maturing and grinding his way through, and I just really appreciate his effort. You've obviously also have to recognize the offensive line and them for being physical, so he is able to run the ball as well as he does.”
Kentucky RB Benny Snell Jr.
On setting the school career rushing TD record:
"I'm very happy. I'm very thankful, especially for my O-line and tight ends. They do a great job.”
On how much pride he takes in coming through in red zone situations:
"I take a lot of pride in it. Since the last season, there's been a lot of situations where we kick field goals. Driving all the way down the field just to get three points- that's one of my biggest pet peeves."
Kentucky RB Sihiem King
On their best performance all season, top to bottom:
"We've been preaching all week: we can't get that loser atmosphere going on."
On the 2-headed monster of Snell Jr. and King:
"We try to keep the 1-2 punch going on. My speed and his size. That's what we call ourselves - the 2-headed monster."