Mark Stoops angered by Kentucky Wildcats' poor practice leading into South Carolina game

The Kentucky Wildcats made it through fall camp and into the first three weeks of the season before drawing the full wrath of head coach Mark Stoops.

It arrived in force at Wednesday's practice.

"Not a very good practice today," Stoops said in advance of the 1-2 Wildcats' matchup this week with SEC East rival South Carolina. "I was really encouraged after (Tuesday's) practice. I thought we played and practiced the right way, and we came back out today, and defensively, we're not very good. So I'm not very pleased with the way we're practicing defensively.

"We better get a whole lot better in a couple of days."

The Wildcats face South Carolina (2-1, 1-1 SEC) in what could be one of the most important games of the Stoops Era, now in its fourth season. Having already been upset by Southern Miss in the season opener, UK cannot afford to lose another game it was favored to win heading into the season, and its coach is feeling the temperature rise on the proverbial hot seat.

Kentucky currently ranks No. 122 nationally out of 128 FBS programs in scoring defense (43.7 ppg) and total defense (528 ypg). The Cats are on pace to surrender the most points and yards in school history by a wide margin. 

Something has to give in Saturday's matchup. South Carolina enters the game 120th nationally in scoring offense (15.7 ppg) and 123rd in total offense (287.7 ypg).

On Monday, Stoops sounded optimistic that some of the issues could be fixed as inexperienced players get more reps. On Wednesday, he wasn't so sure.

"We absolutely regressed today, and that's our problem," he said. "That's our problem, and until we get it changed, we're going to have the same darn results that we've had in that stadium, which is bullcrap. So until we grow up and get a mentality about us, and have some guys step up and get tougher, then we're going to look like the same bunch of crap.

"Some guys need to grow up in a hurry. We have no idea what it takes to have concentration from the beginning of the week through the end and through a whole game and so on. You get the picture? We're not real tough, we're not real smart, and we've got a long way to go."

Asked if that was the toughest he's been on his team this season, Stoops went full Col. Jessup of "A Few Good Men" fame.

"The truth is the truth," he said. "If we're so fragile that we can't handle the truth, then we're not going to win many games. But I told them the truth today."

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