Saturday, December 31, 2016

Meet the Wildcats: UK Women's Gymnastics Aubree Rosa

UK 18 vs Georgia Tech 33 TaxSlayer Bowl Post Game Headlines 12/31/16

Football Wildcats Fall to Georgia Tech in TaxSlayer Bowl

Future Bright for UK Even with ‘Bitter Taste’ of Defeat

NFL-Bound Williams Grateful for UK Experience

UK 18 vs Georgia Tech 33 TaxSlayer Bowl Box Score (PDF)

UK 18 vs Georgia Tech 33 TaxSlayer Bowl Box Score (HTML)

UK 18 vs Georgia Tech 33 TaxSlayer Bowl Postgame Notes

UK 18 vs Georgia Tech 33 TaxSlayer Bowl Postgame Quotes

UK 18 vs Georgia Tech 33 TaxSlayer Bowl Photo Gallery

UK's Boom Williams opts for NFL draft

UK football falls to Georgia Tech 33-18 in the Taxslayer Bowl

Kentucky vs. Georgia Tech Photo Gallery

Don’t forget all the good things Kentucky football did this season because of bowl loss

Mistakes overcome UK against Georgia Tech, Cats fall in TaxSlayer Bowl

Kentucky falls to Georgia Tech

Turnovers Trouble Kentucky at the Half, Cats Down 20-3

Kentucky's Late Comeback Falls Short in Taxslayer Bowl

Kentucky-Georgia Tech Post Game Stats

Georgia Tech Tops Kentucky 33-18 In TaxSlayer

Williams Announces Intention To Enter NFL Draft

Mark Stoops Talks Disappointing Finish To Georgia Tech In TaxSlayer

Derrick Baity Frustrated With Losing Turnover Battle

Dorian Baker Excited For Future Of UK Football

Despite late push, Kentucky falls to Georgia Tech 33-18 in the TaxSlayer Bowl

Stephen Johnson wins TaxSlayer Bowl MVP for Kentucky

Answers to Three Questions Burning the BBN

Optimism Moving Forward

Benny Snell is Ready to Take Over the Offense from Boom Williams

BREAKING: Boom Williams declares for the NFL Draft

Stoops fine with Paul Johnson, but “nobody else on that sideline is going to say a word to me”

Kentucky’s late rally not enough; Cats lose to Georgia Tech 33-18

Halftime update: Angry Stoops still really angry

HALF: Georgia Tech 20 Kentucky 3

Angry Stoops is not happy with Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson

Georgia Tech survives Kentucky comeback bid in chippy TaxSlayer Bowl

VIDEO: Everything Mark Stoops had to say following the loss to Georgia Tech

Kentucky falls to Georgia Tech 33-18

Boom Williams declares for NFL Draft

Transcript: UK Football Coach Mark Stoops Post UK 18 vs Georgia Tech 33 TaxSlayer Bowl Press Conference Comments 12/31/16

THE MODERATOR: We're going to let Coach Stoops have an opening statement, then we'll take questions.

COACH STOOPS: First, again, thank you to all the folks from the bowl and the bowl committee. It's been a remarkable week. It's a first-class bowl game. On behalf of the team and our administration, once again I thank you for everything that you guys have done. It was a great environment. Beautiful stadium to play in. Gorgeous day.

I'd like to congratulate and give credit to Coach Johnson and Georgia Tech. They played better. They executed in critical moments. They deserved to win the game. So I congratulate them.

As I just told the team, we're extremely disappointed with the way we finished in losing this game. But I'm very proud of them. That's a great group to coach. There's a lot to build on. I'm very excited about the future.

I thank our seniors. Very, very few in numbers, but they're very good quality young men and quality players. We're going to miss them.

I appreciate the way they kind of set the tone for us throughout the year when adversity hit. They were always very steady. Without that positive leadership, you're never going to build your program. I know we've taken very monumental steps to push this program further.

We return a whole bunch of football players. They deserve a little bit of time off right now, then we'll get back to work when we get back when the second semester begins. But I'm proud of this team, their efforts, everything that we've asked them to do.

We'll continue to build, become a stronger program. I'm excited about the future. I can't let one game get myself or this team down or take anything away from the good things that they did.

THE MODERATOR: Questions.

Q. Obviously you were upset there at the end of the first half. Explain what happened and the explanation you got from officials.

COACH STOOPS:
 The only thing I was upset about, I was getting conflicting reports. The bottom line is, he was inbounds. They later told me he was inbounds. I couldn't understand why they were waiting at that point before they reset it to three. This was one second left. It was like a timeout or something.

I mean, he was inbounds. I just didn't understand why they just let them have as much time as they want to set it up and kick an extra point.

I believe there was just some confusion. Maybe some of them thought it was out of bounds when he was inbounds. They later told me he was inbounds. I just couldn't understand why they would, with one second, give them as much time as they wanted to line up.

I thought if you're inbounds, you got first down, the clock winds. I just wanted clarification.

Q. Were you upset with Georgia Tech's blocking when you got a couple guys injured?

COACH STOOPS:
 No, not at all. I was upset with somebody saying something to me. I have great respect for Coach Johnson, but nobody else over there is going to say a word to me.

Q. Stephen went virtually untouched against Louisville. He was under pressure a lot today. What was the difference?

COACH STOOPS:
 He was under a lot of pressure. We were disappointed. We had some shots. We didn't get good protection, we really didn't. We didn't protect well enough to get the ball down the field.

With any quarterback, if you're affecting the quarterback with pressure, mixing up looks... They did a nice job. They played well. We needed to protect better. We were just off on shots and plays with pressures and coverages.

As I mentioned before, you know this game's going to go quick. We are methodical in our approach. They're methodical in their approach. Turnovers were going to be key. I really thought that set us back early with the scoop for a touchdown, getting behind. That's very hard to overcome against Georgia Tech.

You have to play keep-up. You have to score. Possessions are limited. You got to score points earlier than we did.

Q. Two critical plays, failed fourth down conversion, goal line. Then the third-and-four from about midfield at the end, blitzed off the corner.

COACH STOOPS:
 I thought the fourth downs were very critical early. We missed some short-yardage opportunities that we've been very good at this season. That was critical.

They converted a fourth down. We didn't. Those are critical plays. I don't regret going for it on fourth-and-one driving because I know we needed some points. We could have always done some different things, got a bigger set, taken our time, done that.

Late in the game, our guys were getting antsy. We had to get aggressive on the perimeter. They were milking us through the middle, they were getting soft. We were putting our guys on the quarterback and the dive. We had to handle the perimeter. We told them to be aggressive once they saw the option get away, not to blitz it.

We have a call that we do that, but that's in desperation on the goal line. Just made an aggressive mistake. It was just a mistake.

Q. Obviously first-time experience for these players in this program. What do you think, now that the game is over, that you will learn from the experience that will help you in the future?

COACH STOOPS:
 I think we learned a great deal from this experience. It's definitely a lot to build on. Our players got a good taste of the post-season, not only with being in the post-season, but being in this bowl game that I have great respect for. The history of this bowl, the people that played in it, it's significant. I'm very proud to get here. I'm proud of this team.

I think as we get a taste for this, we will want more. They know that we can win, we're capable of it. We can play with anybody we line up with. We just got to get better and build on it. I'm sure we will.

Q. Mark, talk about how critical the short-yardage play was deep in their own territory.

COACH STOOPS:
 That doesn't surprise you because they execute so well. There was obviously some risk there. But they wouldn't do it if they don't have great confidence in getting six inches, eight inches, whatever it was. Coach Johnson, they do that a lot. We're anticipating them going for it on fourth down. That's what they do. It's very difficult to stop that for a yard. They got it.

Again, it takes them executing, takes guts to call it. They did it. Certainly was critical at that moment.

Q. You talked a lot about discipline going into this, you needed that on defense. How do you think the guys did that with the triple option, especially with the penalties?

COACH STOOPS:
 The penalties I have to look at. I know the one on the punt was silly with Kash. Some of the other penalties, it's a blur to me right now. But overall, discipline, with the execution of the triple option, I was very pleased with. There were some mishaps, but they put a lot of pressure on you. We had some stops.

You have to score against Georgia Tech. When you beat them, your scoring. But certainly we can do better. I thought we got soft inside. That's, again, where the pressure of them executing, keeping you off balance, getting those three, four, five yards. That's why you know the game is going to be short.

First downs, they execute. You have the ball on the ground a couple times. I wish when the ball was on the perimeter, we had great support where we had pitch covered, two or three guys on the quarterback, the ball is loose, we just didn't get them. That's key.

The ball was on the ground. We didn't get it. They did. That can certainly help you. But I thought overall we defended them okay. Certainly we can play better. I'm not sure what the total yards was, probably mid 300s. But I'd like to play a little better, be a little more stout, in particular on the D-line. Some of those yards I just felt like we could be more stern.

Q. Why was it so flat starting out the third quarter?

COACH STOOPS:
 We missed on some opportunities. That gets aggravating. You can't go three-and-out against them because, again, the possessions.

We just were not playing our best. Give them credit. They did some good things. We were just slightly off. When you're not getting a whole bunch of plays, a whole bunch of possessions, you have to make the most of what you get.

Q. What did you think of all the fans that showed up? Anything you want to say to them?

COACH STOOPS:
 Yeah, I thought it was an absolutely incredible environment. So pleased for our team and for our fan base to see that kind of support. It's just fun to be a part of.

I've said it a long time, I feel an obligation to put a product on the field that our fan base is proud of. We're going to build on this. We need the stadium filled. We have a bunch of good players that it means a great deal to play at a high level for them because they feel the effects, they feel the positive energy. How can you not? You walk around this city this week, you walk around our hotel, our luncheon the other day, our fans are exceptional. I thank them for coming. I wish we'd have played a little better. I promise you we'll get back at it and we'll have a very good football team next year. I thank them for their support. They've been phenomenal.

Q. Moving into spring, will there be an open competition at quarterback?

COACH STOOPS:
 We just got done with this game. I mean, every position, we compete every day.

Q. You mentioned there was some off-sides, Coach Johnson was talking to you. Can you elaborate at all?

COACH STOOPS:
 No.

I will say this. I care about my players and I'm going to check on them. I didn't accuse anybody of doing anything illegal. I have great respect for Coach Johnson. I will talk to him. We have a great relationship.

But, again, nobody else is going to say a word to me.

Q. Any updates on Boom about the draft, what's going to happen moving forward?

COACH STOOPS:
 We had a conversation with he and his parents. We'll continue to look into it.

Q. The decision to go for it deep in Georgia Tech territory versus going for the field goal?

COACH STOOPS:
 I felt like we needed the points.

Q. Obviously it didn't work out. They took the ball and went for a long drive. Momentum swing there or was that unrelated?

COACH STOOPS:
 I think it was a game we needed the points. They had it deep in their territory. It was fourth-and-one. You know, you can always second guess that.

Backed up 10 or 15, converted it. We missed it. Good for him.

You can always second guess it. I don't regret that decision one bit. Does it hurt us? Yes, it probably did. I would have liked to have converted it.

Q. I know it might be difficult to think right now, can you talk about the success that this season was and how you can build for next year, the right way this program is going right now?

COACH STOOPS:
 There's an awful lot we can build from. I'm so proud of this team, these players, everybody. We've come a long way. If you think it's easy to build a program in this league, then you really don't know much about football.

We've come a long way. I appreciate our players because when it was 0-2, the criticism we got was deserved. You have to be strong enough to overcome that. Our players were. Our team was.

We had adversity. It's just how you respond to it, whether it's injuries, different things, bad starts, bad breaks, bad play, bad coaching. You have to overcome it. The better you are, you know, you'll overcome things. Our football team has come a long, long way. I'm very proud of them.

They've improved. Again, they set the tone for the future. We have I want to say 36 of our top 44 back. That's good for us and our future. We're excited about it.

Q. When you look back at this season in a couple weeks or months, what is going to stand out the most as far as what you're going to take away from it more than anything?

COACH STOOPS:
 I don't know if there's any one thing except the resiliency of our team. If you have listened to me in the off-season, as we were talking about building this program, it went back to me talking about capacity, just our players maturing, being mentally tougher, being physically tougher, being able to be in the weight room longer, being able to have our off-season program be more stringent, more difficult, longer and harder. They handled that. Two-a-days longer and tougher. That's what we're going to continue to do. We're going to continue to push forward. We have to.

So I have no doubt that our team will. I know we learned a lot about ourselves here. I feel good about the staff that we have in place, where we're headed. We'll take a great deal.

Q. After you cut it to 26-18, you had the kickoff, what was supposed to happen?

COACH STOOPS:
 We miss-hit it. I wish Austin could have kicked. Austin, to his credit, fought through some things this week with his leg. It was not the same injury, something that he had carried over from the Louisville game. Nothing major. Nothing we need to pry into.

Miles just miss-hit the ball. So we felt like we had three timeouts left. I was conversing with Coach Eliot, whether we'd kick it deep with the timeouts and stop or go for the onside. We wanted to see what the look was. We tried to hit the dead spot. If you get a funky ball, you can get the ball. If not, you're going to pin them on the 30 if you kick it deep.

Anyway, with the way Austin's leg was, they may have gotten to the 30 anyway. Tried to get to the dead spot, but he just miss-hit it a little bit.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you.

COACH STOOPS: Thank you.

Transcript: UK Football Players Derrick Baity, Dorian Baker, Jordan Jones, Stephen Johnson, Stanley “Boom” Williams Post UK 18 vs Georgia Tech 33 TaxSlayer Bowl Comments 12/31/16

#29 Derrick Baity, CB, Jr. 

On the first bowl game experience and getting caught in the moment … 

“Some players were freaked out a little bit and we tried to freestyle it and it didn’t help the team, so they got five yards a pop, six yards a pop.” 

On how he would rate the team’s discipline level … 
“On a scale of one to 10, I would give us like a seven. If you look at the first half of the game, they blocked a ball and that gave them momentum so they just gained that momentum. I would say we were about a seven out of 10.”

On not being able to come up with one of the fumbles … 
“It was really frustrating because turnovers are key for us. We would have gotten the ball back to the offense and gave them a chance to score, but their (fumbles) bounced right back to them and ours bounced right to them, too. It was just frustrating. They won the turnover battle and they won the game.”

#2 Dorian Baker, WR, Jr.

On the main reason in his eyes for the loss … 

“We just had to take the opportunities that were given to us and we didn’t capitalize when we needed to do.”

On the future of Kentucky football … 
“I’m excited for it. For me, obviously I missed half of the season, but for everybody else they did a good job of maintaining and filling in the spots and I’m proud of the team of overcoming a lot of things and getting as far as we did. We started off the season 0-2 and a lot of people didn’t think we’d turn out like we did, so I’m proud of the team.”

On his year overall and how he looks to use this as a booster for 2017 … 
“I just have to take it on the chin. It’s a learning lesson. Everybody had their first bowl game here at Kentucky, so I’m proud of everybody for getting as far as they did.”

#34 Jordan Jones, LB, So.

On what the team takes from this game … 

“I think we came a long way this season. The loss (is disappointing), obviously, but you learn from a loss. I think we are becoming a better team and this is going to make us a better team for next year.”

On if getting to a bowl gives him incentive to work even harder in the offseason … 
“Especially losing a bowl game. We have a lot of work to do, and it starts right away when we get back. I remember last year right when we lost that Louisville game, we got right back to it. If we get right back to it when we get back, the only way we can go is up.”

On when things began to click for him this season … 
“I never feel good (about my play). I’m always self-conscious. Like today, I missed two or three tackles. I think I played bad and had a bad game. I guess it just makes you a better player.”

#15 Stephen Johnson, QB, Jr. 

On his fumble in the first quarter…

“It was just me not holding on to the ball. If I just hold on to the ball we’re not down 10 points like that. I tried to pull it up. I had the ball extended away from my body which I shouldn’t do and they hit it out from me.”

On Georgia Tech’s pressure…
“They have a lot of fast guys so they were able to get around the edges a little quicker but overall the protection wasn’t that bad. Some of the throws I needed to throw earlier.”

On having to go more to the air after Georgia Tech stopped the run…
“They started going to more of a 3-man front instead of a 4-man front and dropping eight guys. Their offense controlled the ball a lot of the time too so it really put us behind in time, as well.”

On what he saw on his scramble for a touchdown … 
“My first read was the post, which was covered. The other guy was double-covered, so I tried to take off and Ryan Timmons made a great block for me to get to the outside to punch it in for the touchdown.”

On how much the game changed on the failed fourth down … 
“That just takes points off the board for us. We kind of lined up in the wrong formation – a few things went wrong on that play. If we get that first down, we get more points on the board.”

#18 Stanley “Boom” Williams, RB, Jr. 

On declaring for the NFL draft…

“There were a lot of things that played into that (decision). Me and my family talked last night, just finalized the decision last night and told Coach Stoops after the game. It wasn’t an easy decision; it was very tough. I was stuck in a hard place in whether I wanted to come back or whether I wanted to leave. At the end of the day, we came to the decision to leave for the NFL.”

On his three years at Kentucky…
“They’ve been great. First two years, we were 5-7 and this year going 7-6 and being able to experience this moment with my teammates and everyone has been great. All I can say is ‘thank you’ to the fans, Coach Stoops, Mr. Barnhart, Dr. Capilouto for all of their support.”

The fans and what they mean to him…
“The fans mean a lot to me. They’ve shown me the love since the day I committed to the program and I stepped on the field to play for Coach Stoops. I’ll always love the fan base, the BBN has the best fans in the nation and I’ll certainly miss the fans. I love Kentucky and I’ll always bleed blue.”

On Mark Stoops…
“He’s a good guy, man. He’s done a lot for me ever since I’ve been here. I don’t think many people get to see him as a person, they always just see him as a coach. He’s a very good person outside of coaching and he would do anything for his players.”

Gameday Final: UK 18 vs Georgia Tech 33 ~ TaxSlayer Bowl 12/31/16

‪Final from the @taxslayerbowl : ‬

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Gameday Halftime: UK 3 vs Georgia Tech 20 ~ TaxSlayer Bowl 12/31/16

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