Mark Stoops’ Kentucky Wildcats played with heavy hearts on Saturday, just two days after the death of assistant coach John Schlarman.

UK managed to snap a two-game losing skid with a 38-35 win over Vanderbilt, improving to 3-4 on the year with No. 1 Alabama next on the schedule.

After the game, Stoops discussed playing for Schlarman while also sharing his early evaluations of the offense and defense as well as some individual performances. Here are the highlights of what he told reporters via Zoom:

  • “It was obviously very important to come away with a win today… we’ve been hit with a few curveballs this year…it was important to win…”
  • On getting QB Beau Allen playing time: “Up 17, I felt it was important to get Beau in the game… important for the program… I want to continue to push the program forward.”
  • On opening play tribute to Schlarman with open left guard: “It was a good idea by someone in our staff; I can’t remember who exactly it was, but I was certainly on board.”
  • Stoops added has great respect for Derek Mason declining the delay of game penalty.
  • On playing Schlarman Strong: “It was important to honor John by playing the way he coached and played… the toughness that he had, the tenacity that he had. As a player, he was extremely technical.”
  • Stoops was pleased to see more explosive plays on offense as Wildcats gained 458 yards on just 55 plays. He was disappointed that the defense allowed Vandy to hold the ball in the second half.
  • On the defensive performance: “It seemed like a game where guys expected everyone else to make a play except them.”
  • On the performance of the offense, QB Terry Wilson: “We were very efficient throwing the ball, and could have been more so… we were good at keeping them off balance and will need that going forward.”
  • More on Wilson: “This was the Terry I expect every week. Of course, that involves who is around him and who coaches him… I’m proud of him for the way he responded.”
  • On the absences of punter Max Duffy and kicker Matt Ruffolo: “I’m sure you can read between the lines, but I can’t comment on that.”
  • On preparing for Alabama with schedule uncertainty: “We’ll show up next week wherever they tell us to play.”