COACH STOOPS: Give Florida credit, they did what I was worried about going into the game. They really controlled both lines of scrimmage the entire game. Very physical team. Right from the opening drive, they kind of set the tone of what the night was going to be like. It's a very good football team, very physical football team.
We had a few opportunities to make it a game, and didn't make them. It was going to be hard. We knew that going into it. Felt like we had a few opportunities here and there. Just didn't capitalize on the plays.
We were leaving a lot of plays on the field, but that has a lot to do with Florida and the way they play. Give them credit. They beat us. They physically beat us. We need to get back to work.
Q. Was it the line of scrimmage that maybe kept you guys from getting any kind of rhythm offensively?
COACH STOOPS: That's a big part of it. Said that going into the week where they can get pressure. They can control the line of scrimmage. They make it very difficult to run the ball. They outnumber you all the time with big, physical dudes. Then you have to beat them outside. They have some very good talent outside.
You saw in one‑on‑one situations, they made most of them. So they put you in a bind where you have to make plays and you have to beat them.
Q. Jojo’s (Kemp) first carry, 11 yards. Don't see him again until the fourth quarter. What happened there?
COACH STOOPS: I'm not sure, to be honest with you. In the rotation there. We got guys coming and going so much, really didn't pay attention to that until I get to the film.
Q. What did you make of the way the quarterbacks played tonight?
COACH STOOPS: We knew it was going to be tough on them. There's a lot more to it than just the quarterbacks. We've said that throughout the year, that we expect them to play better. We need them to play better. We also need the guys around them to play better.
So it was going to be a difficult situation for whoever was playing quarterback for us tonight.
Q. Did you see anything you liked tonight?
COACH STOOPS: I mean, I've said this over and over. Our guys are going about their business the right way. They're trying to prepare. They're going about their business the right way during the week.
There was some fight in us. We're going to continue to fight. We're going to continue to get better. That's what I just told them in there. That's the way it is. We're going to get back to work on Monday and we're going to prepare to win next week. We expect everybody in there to keep on grinding to get better.
Q. The faked field goal something you saw on film?
COACH STOOPS: Yes. It was something we worked all week. We've been greasing it up. We felt like we had an opportunity where they had one guy and we had the option to run or throw that depending on what he did, whether he covered the guy that leaves for a pass. We felt if we could get the handoff or the toss, then we would have them in a bind.
Q. Do you know what happened on the play that looked like a throw‑back?
COACH STOOPS: Yeah. We should have thrown it. Was set. That's where I say we saw some opportunities. That was one.
Hey, that's a good football team. They were beating us from the start of the football game to the end. That was an opportunity to get some good yards on that play. It was set up right like we wanted it to be.
Q. They were 8 of 13 on third down.
COACH STOOPS: What was disappointing was some of the third‑and‑longs they created. There were a lot of third‑and‑shorts that were under a yard. They were going to be tough to stop on that as big and physical as they are. But the third‑and‑longs were discouraging.
There was one we were screwed up on a call, busted one on a third‑and‑long in the first half that really hurt us. We've been pretty good on those. Had a pretty good third‑down package going this year. They created a four‑by‑one set, motioned it over. We just got off track there.
Q. Were you more aggressive than you would be against a normal opponent?
COACH STOOPS: Yeah, out of respect for their defense, knowing that we were going to have a hard time moving the ball consistently. So we had to take some shots.
So the fake field goal we thought was there. I wanted to call it when we had an opportunity. I wasn't sure if they would play it any differently because it was such a long field goal to try. That was the only thing I was worried about at that point.
Then with the trick play there, the throw‑back to the quarterback, it's just something we had greased up. Again, it would have given us an opportunity had we executed it. But we didn't. It takes us right out of another opportunity.
So, yes, we did feel like we had to take a few shots here and there.
Q. (Question regarding Josh Forrest’s interception.)
COACH STOOPS: That was a nice play by Josh (Forrest). We were doing some other things. They were picking us apart at times with certain looks. So that was a change‑up, different personnel grouping. Put Josh in there, it did work. He made a nice play. Again, it gave us an opportunity.
I was really hoping Bud (Dupree) would get out there and get that block. I thought early Bud had a chance to see Murphy and get that block. Then as the play went on, he was going to outrun Bud.
But I thought had Bud turned real quick, I was just watching it on the field, but had Bud gotten that block, then we score, that pulls it to within 7 I believe at that point.
So it was a nice play by Josh. It was a good change‑up.
Q. (No microphone.)
COACH STOOPS: He was frustrated. We knew it was going to be a hard night. I'm sure, just like any of us. I was frustrated, too. I was frustrated on the first drive.
They do a nice job. They get you a little bit off balance. They're physical. They put a bunch of personnel groupings, more than people watching them on TV once a week. You study them, they put you in some positions that are hard to defend.
Q. Injuries. You've been very honest what you're facing here about what a long‑term project this is.
COACH STOOPS: One or two guys don't make a difference. We were there. I was there a year ago. We lost the best player on our defense the first game. It didn't affect us one bit.
They got a lot of good players. They have very good coaches. They're good at what they do. That's what we're aiming to get to.
Yeah, we know it's going to be a process. Again, I'm not discouraged. We're going to go back to work. Our team's going to go back to work. I've been happy with the way we're preparing, going about our business. We know we're not there yet but we're going to keep on trying.
Q. What have you found out about your team the last two games?
COACH STOOPS: Well, I just felt like it was uphill from the beginning. Again, give them credit. I thought they were in control of it. But had we made a play or two, you don't know what's going to happen. You don't ever know.
But I like this group. We know where we're at as a program. But we're going to keep on banging. We're going to keep on working. We're going to keep on preparing to win. One of these days when we make enough plays to win, we'll win.
Q. (Question regarding Joker Phillips.)
COACH STOOPS: Joker has done a lot for this program, worked very hard for this program for a long time. I think most people have a lot of respect for what Joker has done, the person, the player, the coach he's been for this university. I'm glad to see that.
We're disappointed in a loss. But I went over and said hi to him, as well, congratulations. He's done a lot for this program.
Q. Talk about trying something different on the offensive line. Have you not been satisfied with that?
COACH STOOPS: It's tough. Like I said, you know, at times within this offense you try to eliminate some pressure off of them with getting rid of the ball and all that. But in this league, I mean, they're going to get up on you.
We talked about that. We know that. They're going to get right up in your face. They're going to outnumber you in the run game. They're going to make you beat them outside. They've got some good players to cover you up out there.
We've got to continue to get better, keep on working, get more skilled in what we're doing.
Q. What did you think of the way your defense hung in, especially during the middle stages of the game?
COACH STOOPS: Yeah, if I'm not mistaken, y'all can tell me better, it's running together for me, I thought at one point when they were getting some drives on us, we were off balance defensively, we had a couple three‑and‑outs, put us right back out there. That's hard to do.
We know that. That's not blaming either side because it's going to take a group effort to beat Florida. We would have needed to play good in all phases, the best of our ability in all these phases.
I faced that team for a while. You give them a lot of opportunities, yes, it wears you down. You know, they're physical.
Q. Are there things players can still take away and they can use when they go against South Carolina?
COACH STOOPS: I think we'll go back, watch the film, look at the things we did good, the things we did bad. We'll keep on building on the things we did good and try to eliminate mistakes.
That's what I like about this group. We'll get back to work on Monday and they'll be ready to go. They're prepare to execute the offensive, defensive and special teams game plan and we'll just keep on working.