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  • Kentucky improving, with good scrimmage today - tidbits from Mark Stoops

    Kentucky had a football scrimmage today and I have some notes from an interview with Mark Stoops that I thought I would share. All of these observations and comments are from coach Stoops.

    *He seemed very happy with the scrimmage as a whole, and said that they escaped with no major injuries.

    *Kentucky improved in certain areas and are getting closer to what he wants to see. He mentioned offense particularly as improving and being better off, although he said that they needed improvement in the red zone.

    *Kentucky will have another scrimmage next week.

    *He was asked about a contingency plan if he or other coaches went down because of Covid-19. Mark said that he felt very comfortable with their continuity in the staff, and feels very good about the experience and everyone being on the same page in terms of knowing how he thinks. He said he did not want to get into specifics, but felt comfortable with that.

    *He was asked about how tough it will be to get young players experience early in the season, particularly with opening up at Auburn first game. Mark said that he likes to play a lot of players, and it will be important for him to continue to push the young players in camp and putting them in game situations so they are ready to play. He said that it will be important, especially opening in Alabama where it will be hot around noon time for that first game.

    *He was asked about concerns he has that keep him awake at night. Mark basically said that the principal concern was that the team would have a new identity this year. He said that he thought he had an idea of what they wanted to do and what they would do, but until they play, there are still a lot of unknowns. He said he would know more after the first game.

    *Specifically, he was happy with the kicking game today. Ruffolo hit five of six today, including his last five with his last field goal 51 or 52 yards straight down the middle. He said Max was Max, very effective, getting some nice punts, including one that started on the 1 where he flipped the field.

    *He was asked about team bonding and he said plainly that it was tougher this year. They're not having the big team meetings, and having meetings on zoom video conference, with breakout rooms. It's just not the same thing. It's difficult not to have in person team meetings and not as many individual meetings. He said that that was one of the things that he was talking with the leaders of the team about, to make conscious efforts to spend time with each other even more so than normal because you could get big groups together. Just not as much relationship building this year as in previous years because of Covid-19.

    *He was asked about Demarcus Harris specifically and he was complimentary, saying that he just keeps his head down and does his work, good in attitude and is improving. He said he thought he hit a couple of long passes today.

    *One of the things he addressed was the protections that the team will have to do for road trips. Although there will not be the crowds, they will be taking more buses than normal, their own dining and own people, team meals, and taking other precautions that he did not want to get into specifically because he felt like he would just be picked apart if he did. He said the team's Covid-19 infection rate is still very low, doing well in that area.

    *The last thing that was mentioned was with the NCAA delay on making a Joey Gatewood waiver decision, whether he was having to make changes in practices for backups. He said there was still time for that, but yes they would start to have to make adjustments at this point. I believe he mentioned possibly next week.