Mark Stoops called Kentucky’s 24-17 win at Southern Miss on Saturday a “thing of beauty,” but a look at the response on social media after the game showed that a significant chunk of Wildcats fans didn’t see it that way.
Stoops responded to that criticism on his weekly radio show Monday night.
“People want to talk about, ‘Well, it was ugly.’ I couldn’t care less if you want to talk about an ugly win,” Stoops said. “A win is a win. We’ve done enough losing for a long time that none of us like, and I certainly don’t like it. These things, ‘You may be running the ball too much, or you’re doing this, you’re doing that.’ People need to stop and think about a mentality once in a while as well. Do you think we’re a little better defensively because we have a tougher mentality?”
Stoops’ frustration seemed to be centered on the criticism Kentucky’s offense received after the game, rather than the praise his defense might or might not have gotten.
“I get that, you want to rip the ball around, throw it around, do this and that and whatever,” Stoops said. “I don’t know. I don’t know about this league. You better have a mentality, you better be able to play defense, you better be able to run the ball, and surely you’ve got to throw the ball. To be an elite team, you have to do it all.”
Kentucky held Southern Miss to 17 points and bottled up Golden Eagles running back Ito Smith, but the Wildcats struggled on offense. Kentucky had 254 total yards and averaged just 2.2 yards per rush.
But unlike in last season’s opener against Southern Miss, Kentucky notched the win. The Wildcats open their home slate at noon ET Saturday against Eastern Kentucky.
“Nobody wants to improve in all areas of the program more than I do,” Stoops said on his show. “And our players work extremely hard in all facets to be the best we can and deliver a winning program … They want to play good for the BBN. They do. So, come support us this Saturday. Believe me, these guys are gonna be ready to play.”
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