September 13, 2013

Stoops bracing for tough matchup

Q. Mark, what's the key against Teddy Bridgewater?
COACH STOOPS: He's just very good at what he does. He has a great feel in the pocket. He eludes the pressure when and where he needs to, and the rest of the time he sits in there and distributes the football. But he's very athletic, and he's very live. He's just very fast. He's very quick with everything he does. Very, very good delivery and gets the ball there in a hurry. Again, he eludes the pressure when he has to.
Q. What does the Louisville running game look like?
COACH STOOPS: They're good. They're physical. Their O line is good. That's what you know, you start watching their team in depth, they're good across the board, they really are. I think they do a nice job of keeping you off balance. They run it. They threaten you with their run game, and they love taking their shots and their play actions off it because they're very skilled at wide receiver, and (Teddy) Bridgewater does a heck of a job with the play fakes and getting the ball down the field. That's always from a defensive coach through all the years and I get all the defensive questions as I've been a defensive coordinator always the teams that threaten you are balanced. You know, the teams that can pound it and run the ball and have a physicality about them, and then they're skilled outside, can throw the ball and distribute the ball down the field as well. So that's what they do. They put you in a run/pass conflict all the time. Again, they're good at what they do.
Q. How do you feel you match up against Damian Copeland and DeVante Parker?
COACH STOOPS: It will be a tough matchup. It's tough on a lot of people. I'm sitting here watching film of last year. Again, they put you in that conflict. If they make you play with numbers, they can hurt you outside, and they do it to a lot of people. They're pretty skilled.
Q. What is the reputation of a Shawn Watson offense?
COACH STOOPS: I don't know what (his offenses have looked like) over the years, but I'm just looking at what they do there. I see them very balanced and very talented. Like I said, just the things I just said, when they make you account for the run game, it opens things up.
Q. When did you first hear about the UK-UofL rivalry?
COACH STOOPS: Obviously, just as a coach, growing up watching it, you know it was a rivalry, obviously, just from watching TV. So that would probably be the first time.
Q. Did you know Charlie Strong?
COACH STOOPS: I've known Charlie for a while, yeah. I can't recall the first time we crossed paths or whatnot, but just being defensive guys, and I have a lot of respect for Charlie and what he's done and have known him for a while.
Q. Coach, do you think it's going to take big plays to beat them, or do you think, if you execute your offense the way you could, you can control the pocket and time of possession and beat them that way?
COACH STOOPS: I think it's going to take a complete game. They're a very good team. They're a top-10 team for a reason, and we'll need to play good on all three sides to win these games. To beat quality teams, you have to play good in all areas. Yeah, I think that's what it will take. I think execution and part of our offense is that. Execute, execute, and then get a big play. And the same thing defensively, we need to be much better than we were in week one, for instance, at the basics. You know, and then we have to have our change ups and all that, but we just have to be better at the basics of the game, and that's position on the football, tackling, all the things we've talked about.
Q. The players said they didn't think you would try to downplay the rivalry in college as just another game. Is that your strategy?
COACH STOOPS: Well, again, our players need to understand that every week is important, and we will be very systematic in our approach. But I'm never going to shy away from a big game and a rivalry, let's put it that way. We know it's important. We've also learned from week one too, trying to get them hyped up and amped up maybe wasn't the answer. We have to go about our business to prepare to win.
Q. As you watch game footage of Teddy (Bridgewater), does any other quarterback you've seen come to mind?
COACH STOOPS: Yeah, that's a great question. Again, I don't know. I hate to be quoted on that. He's just he's darn good. He's just a very good player. You just see a guy who's very confident, like I said. I think you watch the games and we watched the films, of course, and all that, but you could bring pressure, and he eludes it. He's so fast and so patient. He doesn't hurry anything. He plays fast without being in a hurry, if that makes sense. He's very cool, and he's got a very live arm and he can make any throw. You could just see the confidence in him the more he's played. They're a very veteran team, though. Again, I've talked about that in here, and I think he'll tell you the same thing. They're very good all around him, and they have a strong line. They have great backs. They have good wide receivers I mean, great wide receivers. So they really are. They're very talented across the board.
Q. All the talk about Louisville's offense, but they have a good defense. Do you know their coordinator at all?
COACH STOOPS: No. One thing that jumps out at you right away, they play very confident and very hard. Any defensive coordinator, that's the biggest compliment you can give somebody. When they turn on the film and they see a bunch of guys running around playing hard and playing fast, that's a compliment. That's the biggest compliment I could give them is that they play hard, they play fast, they play confident. They're versatile. They're much like I've been in that four down. They could get into some three down stuff. They could mix it up, and they don't pressure a good bit. But they're multiple.

Q. Vince Bedford, he's from that Florida area as well. What kind of interaction have you had?
COACH STOOPS: I really don't know (Vince). I really don't.
Q. You keep talking about how well balanced Louisville is. EKU shut down the run game and yet they prospered anyway.
COACH STOOPS: I think some of that's by choice. You're loading up and picking your poison, doing some things that they could some of those throws were like runs to them in alignments and how they were playing them. So believe me, they could run the ball when they want to. Again, that's football. That's good coaching. From both sides, you're always trying to be strategic in where and when and how you're playing things. But it's a simple numbers game to them a good bit. So you get numbers, and they're throwing it, and they're taking easy throws in the bubbles and just different things to complement their run game.

Q. The challenge it sounds like you can't pick your poison?
Well, they make it difficult because, again, going back to my original statement, as being a defensive coach for a long time and DC for a long time, anybody that can make you play with numbers, make you bring guys in the box, and they're talented outside puts you in a problem, puts you in a bind, and I think they do a nice job with that.

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