Cole Cubelic, SEC Network analyst and object of Freddie Maggard’s affection, was a guest on this morning’s Kentucky Sports Radio hosted by Myron Medcalf, and, as you might expect, had plenty of praise for the job Mark Stoops has done in Lexington; however, Cubelic also made a point to credit the UK administration for giving Stoops the time and resources he needed to turn the program around.
“I think Coach Stoops has done an excellent job of having an understanding of what he’s capable of doing, what he needs to do in recruiting as far as kind of the guys he needs to recruit coming in from a developmental perspective, and on top of that, the understanding that this is how we’re going to have to win football games. It’s going to be running the football, it’s going to be playing great defense. Stylistically and from a mentality perspective, he’s brought exactly what he needs to Lexington in order to be competitive in football games.
“I want to say this about Coach Stoops. I think he’s done an excellent job. I love his staff. I think he’s got one of the better offensive line coaches in the SEC [in John Schlarman]. I love Eddie Gran. I think losing Matt House as defensive coordinator is going to sting a little bit more than people are talking about but that administration needs to be credited as well because they were patient with Coach Stoops. They gave him time to be able to get to where he got last year, to be able to get that win against Florida, to be able to get to a New Year’s Day bowl, to be able to get a double-digit win season, to be able to get a first round draft pick off the board. That doesn’t happen in a lot of places. Because the first couple of years were a little rocky. You kind of saw early in the season things were trending right and they just couldn’t keep up late.
“That was kind of the mantra for Kentucky for two or three years and then the administration was patient. They gave him a good contract, they helped him pay his assistants, they did the things from a facility standpoint — not just with the stadium but a beautiful new football complex and it paid off. It paid big dividends last year. Coach Stoops deserves a ton of credit but I think people need to look at what Kentucky accomplished last year and give the administration some credit as well because the things they did behind the scenes and the patience they had with their staff was a big reason they were able to pull that off.”
Preach. Speaking of facilities, Cubelic said Kentucky’s renovations to Kroger Field could serve as a blueprint for what Vanderbilt should do with their stadium, which is in dire need of an overhaul.
“That gameday atmosphere [at Kentucky] has completely morphed. They did something totally different. I look at what Vanderbilt needs to do and I think the Kroger Field model would be exactly what for what Vandy needs to do. Don’t go try and raise a billion dollars for a new stadium, don’t put your stadium off campus. Just go in and do a massive renovation, put lipstick on that thing and make it much better and much more comfortable. They did that there in Lexington. That gameday experience has gotten a lot better.”
Shoutout to Stoops, Mitch Barnhart, and Eli Capilouto for making it happen.