Watch & Read: Not a lot of positives as No. 22 Florida falls to Kentucky

Press Conference

by Inside the Gators Staff
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Opening statement

“Not a lot of positive to talk about today. Hats off to Kentucky and Coach Stoops. They were ready to play. They flat-out beat us. They were the more physical team. They controlled the line of scrimmage, the edges of the formations. They protected their quarterback. We did not win the line of scrimmage or the edges, and they effected our quarterback. We had a handful of penalties obviously, that were a factor. The early turnover was a factor. And then just fundamentally, very disappointed in our team. I told the players, I know one way to do this and that is to take complete ownership of it. I think for me, personally, as a leader, I have to do a better job for our team. In all ways. Ultimately, that’s my job. Is to have our football team ready to play. And I’m going to take ownership of that, because I know what we’re capable of. I do believe that we had a good week. I do believe that we were in the right frame of mind. But when the ball got put down, we didn’t execute. We weren’t physically ready and certainly, the way the game went early, it got out of hand. We did our best to try to fight and get back in it, but hats off to Kentucky. All parts of the game, they were more effective. I haven’t looked at the stat sheet yet, but I imagine that’s exactly what it says. Kentucky deserved to win today. The Gators did not. That’s my responsibility. I think we’ll be able to evaluate things technically a little bit more and talk with you on Monday, but overall, we’ve got work to do to improve. One thing I do really believe in, is I believe in that group of kinds in there. I think they want to have success. I think they’ve done a lot of quality work. And I do think that these types of experiences present opportunity, and I’m very hopeful there will be some good things to come of this. But, we’ve got to take a good look in the mirror from an overall operation here and do a better job for the players. I’m sure the players will see things that they can do better as well.”

On whether the team was ready to play

“I do think that we had a good week. I think that they beat us up pretty good. Anytime a team rushes for 300-plus and they hold you to under 100, ultimately, that’s where the game was won today. Line of scrimmage, edges, tackling, fundamentals, we misfit some runs, and then we were unable to do that on offense.”

On the special teams penalty turning a three-and-out into a 75-yard touchdown

“It’s disappointing, because we had a similar situation in last week’s game. We covered it thoroughly throughout the week. We actually sent a play in from last week’s game to the SEC, talked about the exact rule, how it’s interpreted, showed the clip in the meeting. I think we just got a young player out there who made a poor decision, and he knows he made a mistake. I do think that that was a pivotal moment in the game. I think you’re spot on. It’s still a close game. We’re off the field. We’re going to get it at midfield. We’re going to get it on the short field for probably the first time the whole day. And then we put them back out there and they ended up getting a touchdown off that possession. So, no question. 100 percent a huge play in the game.”

On whether the team’s physicality compared to Kentucky

“Anybody that knows me, knows that that game right there is going to be hard on me. Just in terms of who I want to be. The brand of football that I want to play. So, I think you’re exactly right. And look, I respect it. I respect it. I think you’re spot on.”

On whether the players got gassed early

“No, I think it will be very fundamental. I think we understand exactly what happened. We’ve got to strike blockers. We’ve got to play with better eye discipline. We’ve got to fit our gaps. And when given an opportunity, we need to get the runner on the ground. There were numerous times throughout the day where we did not do that. We played better defense, much like I have told you before, the challenges are ahead. Today is a good example of that. Good slice of humble pie. Ultimately, we’ve got to play with better urgency. We’ve got to strike blockers, we’ve got to fit runs and when given an opportunity, we got to get the runner on the ground. 300-plus on the ground. That’s not who we are. That’s not who we want to be. We’re going to get it fixed.”

On the pace of play in the fourth

“The sack was a big play. We’re kind of getting it on a long field. We get a first down, then we get it out there kind of into 20-30 range, and then it’s P-and-10 play, seven-man protection, and we give us a sack. And really, the challenging thing about that is, from an analytics standpoint, it was a go-for-it, all-go situation, so the last thing you want to do is have a negative play. So, you’re spot on. It’s a two-score game for a lot of the second half to some degree. I think once the game became about time, we played with more tempo and urgency, but I think it was three scores at that point.”

On the offensive play calling

“I remember them all. I think between possessions, we know what happened. I think sometimes, you’ve got to remain objective. No different than how we evaluate everything we do. What caused the issues in the game? Sometimes it may be design. Sometimes it’s communication. Sometimes it’s undisciplined penalties. Sometimes it’s fundamentals and techniques. I think there’s lots of things that contribute when you don’t have success in this game. We’ve got a great group of people that work hard to do that and we certainly weren’t good enough today.”


On his reaction to the game

“I think it’s never fun to lose a game. I’m frustrated. I think I could’ve been a lot better for this team today. I don’t think I played close to my best game. Personally, frustrated and it’s more on a front of, I could’ve done my job better for everyone in that locker room. Definitely frustrated but there is only one right way to go after a game like that and it’s how do we move forward. There’s two different ways to go and there’s one you never want to go down. There’s one route I’m going down, I’m going down full force.”

On Kentucky playing the style Florida wants to play

“I think in total, we look at the Utah game and this game and the word has been execution and it always will be. I think we had a great plan on both sides going in and that’s where I am going to put this on: the players. We have to be better. We can’t have penalties, we can’t have pre-snap penalties. We have a great plan. We have to be better for each other and we have to come together every single day and work for that. Because, flat-out, we have seen what it is like to not execute and the outcome that leads to it. And it doesn’t feel good, it shouldn’t feel good for anybody, but like I said earlier, you take that and you move forward with it. We are still only in Week 5. We have a long road to go and got a lot of games left. The emphasis on player-led execution on the plan that we were provided.”

On offensive line play

“That’s where I said it’s on me. I can be better in protection. I can watch more protection cut-ups, get us in the right mic point, the right slide. There are so many different things that go into that. They
fight like crazy every single play. I owe it to them to get them in the right call and be their extra eyeballs that’s always checking. I think today, they did some good things up-front and different pressures. So, I think in total, when I go back and watch the film I am going to see that I could’ve done a better job in protection, giving them alert calls and getting them ready for looks that are coming.”

What is your process after a tough loss

“I think you got to you got to go through it, and that’s an experience thing. I was just telling the guys in the locker room that I’ve been on a team that’s been 1-4 to start the season, we ended 9-4. There is always, and I said it earlier, there’s to ways to go with this thing. I’ve been through it, I’ve seen it live go both ways. So, I think I can bank on my experience and make sure it goes the right way. The character of the guys in that locker room, the character of the coaches and support staff we have, there’s only one we are going to go. Right now, yeah there’s frustration, there’s a bunch of we could’ve done better for each other that we are going to have on the whole flight back and then we are going to watch the film and it’s all about our approach next week.”


On Ray Davis’ performance

“It came down to being gap sound. Guys were jumping out of their gaps, not tackling very well. With a back like that, you miss a tackle and it’s ten more yards, 15 more yards, 20 more yards. It just came down to execution. We were just shooting ourselves in the foot, not wrapping up, not tackling, getting him to the ground.”

On stopping the run

“I think the early morning game played a factor in it, to be honest with you guys. We came out very flat defensively. We kind of got to get together in the second half. You have to start fast and finish fast in order to win in the SEC.”

On the defense’s physicality
“To play on defense, you are the aggressor in that situation. It kind of hurts me to my heart and hurts the guys that I play behind and in front of to know that I guess you could say out-physical today by Kentucky in the front seven. We’ll get that right next week.”

On the special teams’ penalty

“That was just, football is football. Unfortunate things will happen throughout the game, and it was just us as a defense to get back on the field and get another stop, but, unfortunately, we couldn’t do that. I feel like that’s up to me and my other linebacker to just get on defense ready and have them ready at all times.”

Video courtesy GatorVision | Transcript courtesy Florida Sports Information

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