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  • Eastern Kentucky impresses Stoops

    By LARRY VAUGHT

    Eastern Kentucky lost its season opener at Western Kentucky, but Kentucky coach Mark Stoops was impressed with the Colonels -- the team UK hosts Saturday at noon.

    "We're going to have to play much better. They're an improved football team and were very impressive on both sides of the football. I was very impressed with the way they threw the football against a very good Western team. We're going to need to improve and play better," Stoops said Monday.

    "We all know what happened (in 2015). I've got (former Eastern head coach) Dean (Hood) up there in my office and that's why he's here. We were very fortunate to get to overtime and win the game the last time we played them. EKU will be fired up to come in here and play. I'm glad Dean is with me this time. They're a well-coached team in all areas."

    It took a dramatic rally by UK in 2015 to beat visiting Eastern when Hood was head coach. He's now special teams/linebacker coach at UK

    "It's very easy for us to get their attention because it's always about us. It was about us last week. We said that last week. It's about us and how way we play. It's the same this week. It's always going to be that way. We have great respect for everybody we play. We know we're not a team that can just go out and beat anybody," Stoops said.

    "We have to be on point, we have to play the game, we have to respect the game. It's about respect and the way you prepare. It's always about that. It's not about showing up on Saturday being ready to play. It's about showing up in the building right now. They're in there lifting and getting ready for meetings. It's about our preparation for the whole week.

    "There's a lot for us to build on. There's a lot of good things from this last game and a lot of things we can improve on. That's what's so great about it, so exciting to get back to the opportunity to improve."

    Stoops joked he might let Hood remind the team about respecting Eastern, something the Cats did not do two years ago when they were lucky to beat the Colonels.

    "He (Hood) probably feels robbed because they hey outplayed us and outcoached us. Maybe I'll have Dean talk to the team today," Stoops joked.