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For Stoops and Barnhart, the Time for Excuses is Over


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As I attempted to process the humiliating beat down the Cats were suffering on Saturday, I looked for the right words to reflect the combination of disgust and resignation that I was feeling. Sitting in a room full of my college friends (in the same spot where I watched last year’s Vanderbilt game…it may just be cursed), it occurred to me that virtually everyone in the room either was or had been a UK Football season ticket holder. As the miserable spectacle lingered on, the conversation shifted to the game next week, the tailgate party that had long ago been planned and what would happen if UK ended up self-combusting to New Mexico State. I looked at this room full dedicated BBN members and ended up composing this tweet:

It clearly struck a nerve. Over the course of the last 24 hours, those words have become my 2nd most Retweeted comment in my five-plus years on Twitter (nothing will probably pass my picture of Josh Hutcherson in the student section at a UK game which ended up on insane Hunger Games fan forums). The reason it connected is simple. UK Football fans have hit a level of frustration that may be the highest I have ever seen. After decades of supporting the team at levels far above any natural reward, Kentucky fans have collectively just about had it and the miserable experience Saturday caused many to reach their wits end. After years of rationalizing every explanation in the book as to why Kentucky football is not successful, a stark realization is upon us. The time for excuses is over as Mark Stoops and Mitch Barnhart now must either produce or face the consequences.

Up until this point, Kentucky football has had a myriad of tailor-made explanations for its futility. Depending on your viewpoint, you could have claimed any of these as an issue that simply would prevent UK from ever really competing:

1. The University won’t invest in football
2. Kentucky has no recruiting base in order to get SEC-caliber players
3. UK can’t find (or won’t pay) a Coach of the highest pedigree
4. The facilities at Kentucky are too far behind those of their competition

and the list goes on. Each of these had various degrees of validity and have been relied upon by coaches and administrators in years past. Whether it was Rich Brooks’ frustration with facility projects, Guy Morris’s complaints about salary or Mitch Barnhart’s “microwave society” quote, we have heard every reason in the book as to why UK football has not been able to succeed. It is then somewhat ironic that the coach who has worked hard to dispel some of these excuses as explanations might suffer from our realization that they are no longer disqualifying facts.

The reality is Mark Stoops has flipped the script at Kentucky and he deserves a great deal of credit for it. Since Stoops has been here, we have seen that UK can recruit in the top 25-30 range, a level that can produce players successful enough to win. The excitement generated by this off-the-field success has led to an unprecedented investment in football infrastructure on campus and a practice facility that is as good as any in the land. The hoopla around Stoops’ tenure has proven (contrary to what Gary Danielson said during the Florida broadcast) that Kentucky isn’t just a basketball school to the fans and will still send 50,000 people to a Spring Game to help jumpstart a football program they so desperately want to see succeed. We thought there were a million reasons why Kentucky could not win…but now we see that while those reasons may make it difficult to get to the College Football Playoff, we have the infrastructure in place to win on a smaller level. Or to put it another way, if Rich Brooks could go to 5 straight bowls without any support, with support the sky should be much higher.

But so far under Mark Stoops it hasn’t been. In fact, with the exception of two special nights versus South Carolina, the Stoops era has been one continual repeat of “what might have been.” The past 4 years have seen the UK fan base get its collective hopes up over and over, only to have its heart stepped upon by losses big and small. Whether it was the painful Florida near misses, the Auburn draw play, the EKU near-humiliation, the Vandy systematic embarrassment or the Louisville collapses, we have continually gotten excited about games or moments, only to see a heartbreaking defeat. Often these disappointments have not been due to talent, but instead to mismanagement, disorganization or outright collapse. In some ways, Stoops’ first season has been the least frustrating. The team played hard, often over its head, and fought every game even when outmanned. Since then however, the losses have been much less explainable and significantly more mystifying. Whether its two 1st and Goals from the 1 yard line leading to three total points at Vandy, play calling in big end-of-game situations that baffle or the continuedlack of any discernible half-time adjustments, our problems recently have been self-made, not structural. As such, they are harder to rationalize.

This culminated Saturday in the latest romp in the Swamp. After years of watching UK football, I am not sure if I have even seen Kentucky look worse. I don’t need to go over the details of the game, you saw it. But suffice to say the Cats were humiliated in every way possible on national network television in a time slot that ensured all of America would see. The announcers openly mocked the Cats, but who could blame then. UK looked disorganized and disinterested with no sign of hope that brighter days are to come. After the game, Stoops said we would have to “get back to work,” a cliche that has followed virtually every UK loss and has become this staff’s answer to Billy Clyde’s infamous “have to get tougher.” The resignation in his voice showcased that he too isn’t sure what to do next and even this Saturday’s game against New Mexico State doesn’t seem assured.

The reality is this. The UK Football program is a worse spot now than it was two years ago. After back-to-back competitive games against Florida, the Cats were just blown out. A Southern Miss team that was 1-11 in Stoops’ first season outmanned and out-schemed the Cats in a game the program absolutely had to win. And players who have showcased talent bursts in the past (CJ Conrad, Dorian Baker, Chris Westry) are now afterthoughts of defeats in which one forgets they were even on the field. UK Football has hits its nadir and now is the time for some answers. Mark Stoops has to make a 180 degree turnaround this season or risk losing even more of the fan base and turning Commonwealth Stadium into a ghost town. Mitch Barnhart has to answer for his decision to give Stoops an extension that produces a buyout so large ($12 million) that the obvious answer to 4 years without a bowl game (replacing the coach) has become a financial noose around the program. At the moment UK Football is left with few options and little hope, and it is up to these two men who have helped take us to this point to now try and rescue it.

I like Mark Stoops and Mitch Barnhart both quite a bit personally. What Stoops has done for this program off-the-field is unprecedented and no matter what happens with the rest of his tenure, that impact will have been extremely positive. Mitch Barnhart is a terrific person who has been a tremendous Athletic Director in most phases of his stewardship. But the reality is this. The UK Football Program has hit rock bottom and it is on them to fix it or change has to be made. Kentucky fans have given and given in an attempt to support a program that for decades has more often than not, let them down. There are simply no more explanations for disorganization, no more pleas for hard work or requests for fan patience that will suffice. The time for excuses has ended…UK Football now must produce.

Article written by Matt Jones

95 responses to “For Stoops and Barnhart, the Time for Excuses is Over”

  1. RamblingBeachCat

    When people ask me UK football fans get more angry/distraught that fans of other ‘bad’ college football programs. I tell them it’s because we’ve turned losing into an art form.

    http://www.ramblingbeachcat.com/2016/09/big-blue-sadness-state-of-university-of.html

  2. Cmart0907

    Just imagined if Rich Brooks recruited like Stoops staff has been!! I really don’t think people care about the loss to Florida its HOW we loss. If the played competitve i dont think ppl will be calling for Stoops head. There is no progress in 4 years since Stoops staff been here. Coaches are there to develop players. There is no pass rush , no defensive adjustment , offensive line not creating holes , Qb get smacked on the first play. All of it is on the coaching to help these kids get better. Looks like the same football games when Joker was the coach to be honest.

    1. RamblingBeachCat

      At least when Joker lost, we know that lack of talent was an issue. This collapse under Stoops feels so much worse.

    2. ukforthewin

      Plenty of room on the UofL bandwagon. Come on over. No idiot WR coach over here.

    3. Jeremy D

      Heard you stadium upgrades come with state of the art Glory Holes in the locker rooms, is this true?

    4. Cmart0907

      Agree 100% Rambling.

    5. UK Big Board Update

      UL fans are STILL salty over losing Lamar Thomas?!? LOL

  3. BLUEsky

    I was almost ready to cancel my KSR hat order until that last paragraph. Good save. 🙂

    1. cats paw

      what about the last paragraph? for the 20th time ive heard matt say this game is the most important one and we have to have it. for the 20th time we lose and he then just says… we have to show improvement going forward!! he needs the balls to say “times up”!

    2. CATandMONKEY

      Umm…did you read the piece CP? That is exactly what was said.

    3. UK Big Board Update

      cats paw doesn’t have time to read!! Too many big words!!! cats paw only has time to troll!!!

  4. RamblingBeachCat

    After watching the Florida game, Mark Stoops’ “We’re just getting started, bro” from a couple years ago takes on a chilling connotation.

  5. ukforthewin

    Lamar Thomas said he’s got some great tweets at UofL fans ready to send out; should really jump start the season. Ha. He’s a joke.

    1. east-ky-boy

      Huh? Our receivers sucked until he got here. Now we can actually catch when Drew actually has time to throw. Lamar isn’t the problem lol

    2. CATandMONKEY

      Love the UofL fans here.

  6. jaws2

    I’ve had season tickets since Commonwealth opened. At one time I had 16 tickets, used them for business, family, and friends. I’m. now down to 2 for all of the reasons above. I told my wife, who lost faith a LONG ago, that after the SO MS if we did not make a bowl this year I was done. Looks like my odds of coming back are very small right now.

    We spent Sat morning at the open house in the new training facility and I must say, this facility has to be second to none. The upgrades to the stadium are great as well. We’ve recruited as well as can be expected with our history. There are no more excuses.

    Negotiate the buyout and go get Jeff Brohm. The guy can coach, recruit, and with our facilities I believe he can get it done.

    1. scorpiocard

      Not going to happen because:

      A) The Brohms are the first family of U of L football. There is not a drop of blue blood in their veins.

      B) He knows he can get a better job than uk any time he wants.

      C) (this is speculation) I believe he wants to take over at U of L when Bobby retires.

      He turned down Nick Saben’s offer to be his OC at Bama to stay at U of L for crying out loud. You think he would come coach at uk? Dream on.

    2. UK Big Board Update

      scorpiocard knows his shit, folks!! LMFAO

      scorpiocard says:
      December 11, 2013 at 3:50 pm
      No one! turns down Texas? How ridiculous. Cracks me up how simple minded folks always think they know what someones else’s career priorities are.

      Jim Tom you know what else comes with the Texas job? CRAZY fan base expectations. If a new coach had one bad season their life would become a living hell. Charlie Strong is also a devoted family man with two daughters in their final years of high school. He’s not going to move them for ANY job. He may leave after they graduate. Sure its possible. Before they do? No way.

      Your idiotic response makes me laugh.

  7. original slappy

    We have a decent amount of talent at positions all over the field. They are never put into the right position to be successful. That is all on the coaching staff. When you have glaring weaknesses (whatever they may be) you do whatever you can schematically to turn those into strengths or at least less of a weakness. That’s coaching. After 4 years this staff has been unable to learn how to coach a team/manage a game with no sign of improvement in sight. They are not the ones who are going to win football games here, plan and simple.

    1. scorpiocard

      ^^ this ^^

  8. ukforthewin

    1. The University won’t invest in football – Fan base should demand it / fire AD

    2. Kentucky has no recruiting base in order to get SEC-caliber players – bahahahah. SEC not the issue. Loses to UofL, WKU, Southern Miss, and almost EKU

    3. UK can’t find (or won’t pay) a Coach of the highest pedigree: Nope, those coaches just know the place is doomed because of basketball.

    4. The facilities at Kentucky are too far behind those of their competition: Ask Houston / Louisville / Boise / Utah if this was a problem.

    UK football is bad because the ignorant, racist, basketball-obssessed fanbase deserves a bad football team.

    1. Jeremy D

      Maybe if our administration would hire prostitutes to get the best of the best,maybe that would take care of all our problems. But they would have to look better than the Booger bears and swamp donkeys you guys settled on. even if they could squirt to the ceiling.

    2. david8577

      Your life is a joke. How pathetic do you have to be to troll a rival’s website? There are better things in life. Take a shower, put on some clean clothes, and ask a girl if she will go out with you.

    3. east-ky-boy

      You must be a 300 pound Louisville fan with a neck tattoo that still lives at home with his mom. Get a life bro lol.

    4. Squall Leonhart

      ukforthewin…you appear to have either not comprehended that part of the article or deliberately removed it from its context to give it a false meaning to respond to.

      “UK football is bad because the ignorant, racist, basketball-obssessed fanbase deserves a bad football team.” That’s about as stupid and ignorant as you can get. Did you actually think that made sense when you wrote it?

    5. CATandMONKEY

      Intellectually deficient Card fans bring clicks and $$ to KSR.

  9. maximsm

    Mitch Barnhart has to be fired…First then Stoops

  10. jr1122

    Explain Houston then…top 5 and not even in a Power 5.

    1. Cmart0907

      All the talent in Texas I’m surprised it took that long.

  11. cats paw

    ukbigboards head is going to explode b4 this is over!!!! im not sure if its how bad his teams sucks or how much cats paw owns him that hurts the most.

    1. Squall Leonhart

      cats paw, you are the troll of trolls. How many other names do you post under – since you appear to have mistakenly referred to yourself in the third person here?

    2. UK Big Board Update

      Why? This was a well written article and I agree with just about everything he says.

      Go follow your Cards. They’re doing good. Or are you obsessed with Big Brother? 😉

    3. cats paw

      Squall–much rather be a troll living in reality than a cheerleader supporting the bad news bears! the little cheerleading bullies on this site are having a difficult time swallowing their crow.

    4. cats paw

      ukbigboard—- you have been exposed as the ultimate cheerleader that knows nothing about sports. you have officially had your sports card and man card removed from the UK fanbase

    5. cats paw

      squall–please dont anyone cares about your post other than bigboard. the child likes to sign in under 8 names and click “like” so he can get his post highlighted! lmfao

    6. UK Big Board Update

      What? Shuddup. EVERYONE knows you are a redneck idiot and your points are invalid. Your dumbass barely has the ability to read, let alone revoke man and fan cards. You want Petrino and now Art Briles. I award you the creepy pervert card.

      Why would I have 8 names, but still only post under this one? Don’t you think I’d use more than this name to call you out? You goddamned idiot. You’re just mad people agree with me more than you, Mr. Zero Likes.

  12. Willis talkin bout....

    I’ve said in previous posts that this is a multi-million dollar entertainment industry. Under about any other context the UK/Stoops show would have been canned long ago. And if the SEC would reward/punish conf members by basing profit shares on non-conf wins. Stoops wouldn’t have gotten that extension and our AD would HAVE to ensure the program was in good hands. As it stands now. Everyone still gets paid an enormous amount of money without any concern other than a popularity poll. I do feel bad for the players. There is obviously something broken within the program. And thanks to bad business decisions the options are limited.

    1. Willis talkin bout....

      Also. I think it would be nice if we could fill Commonwealth just to honor the military that will be in attendance just tell everyone to wear camo if they want to protest. our program may be a dumpster fire. But those men and women are truly heros.

    2. ukkatzfan

      What is your definition of “long ago”? Why would Stoops been canned long ago? At bare minimum, he should be given 5 years before getting hung up by the restless natives.

    3. Willis talkin bout....

      Sorry. I rephrase. After the second season in which there was a total collapse of the season. After the 24th game in which the staff demonstrated they cannot make any adjustments. Can not develop any players. Or compile a coaching staff capable of doing so. We are on our 3rd offensive coordinator. But still have the same defensive coordinator that has sucked from year one.

  13. ukkatzfan

    “There is no fanbase in sports that has been more loyal and Been given less in return than UK Football fans”

    With that tweet, Matt now owes apologies. Let’s start at the top of the list(or should I say bottom of the list) to Cubs fans. In baseball, the Red Sox also had a rougher road prior to their winning. In NBA, there is the Clippers, Kings and I am sure others. Golden State was on that list a couple of years ago.

    I really am not interested in going through every sport considering every team. I just think it is a crock of bull hockey to think being a UK football fan is so bad. I personally have enjoyed every season the team has played the last 25 years. Before that I had no interest in college football. So before you keep playing the “woe is me” song on your little violin, apologize to the Cub fans.

    1. Bluebros

      I think the point Matt was trying to make is that UK football doesn’t win. All the teams you listed win, but maybe they choked in a championship game. We are consistently bad. 30 losses in a row to Florida is the nation’s longest losing streak. What other college football team has a stronger fan base and has sucked as bad as UK football over the past 30+ years?

      That’s how I read the tweet anyways…

    2. ukkatzfan

      If that is the way you read it, please feel free to go back and reread it. Personally, i don’t think UK football has a strong fanbase. Brooks, Joker and Stoops all have had the redneck natives restless. Brooks was getting boos in his 4th year. But Stoops has all of these good recruits? And we are suppose to hold his good recruiting against him.

      I just think that there are 10 more games to this season if the natives aren’t happy then, then they can talk replacing people when replacements are available. If the natives are happy, we will be playing 11. But to use the #1 phrase of the worst coach ever……”Saban ain’t walking through that door, Bellycheck ain’t walking through that door” and there is no one in their right mind going to fire Mitch for the football team not winning when UK sports overall is the best ever. Football team wins and Mitch will be greatest AD ever in college. And yes, I know that the rednecks want Mitch’s job still.

    3. Cats or Die

      You give pointy headed liberals like myself a bad name. Racists? Rednecks? What a moron you are. Please just jump over the river and make your home in Ohio. We don’t want you here.

  14. JDawg

    Didn’t read the post because I don’t waste my time with Kentucky football. I told all of you guys to quit getting excited in the preseason for damn UK football. Once again, we are a basketball school. I personally wish that UK would lose every game from now on until they abolish football from their athletic program. Football only gives UK a bad reputation and allows other inferior basketball schools to make fun of us in basketball offseason. Take my advice….quit giving a shit about UK football….be content with just watching big football games that actually matter….get ready for Calipari and the boys to do their thing!

    1. ukkatzfan

      I am ready to abolish the basketball program. Watching the blue hairs in Rupp set there like a knot on a log is a waste. Wish the NBA allowed players out of high school.

    2. DelrayCat

      Meanwhile, Duke is shooting for 5 bowl games in a row. Your argument is invalid.
      And anyone who says the ACC is not as good as the SEC is fooling themselves. Yeah, SEC has Bama, but the ACC has FSU, Clemson, and UL…all of which may be better than SEC’s #2 team.

  15. scorpiocard

    I think its high time that Matt Jones fires Mitch Barnhart and Mark Stoops!

    I can’t believe he hasn’t done it already!!

  16. cats paw

    hire the southern miss coach and bring back Dawson with him!!!!

    1. keiths

      ^^^^^^ idiot

    2. cats paw

      yea im the idiot… i bet you they could beat your team and your coach in their first year of existence together, with half the takent, at half the price, on your home field!!! now who’s the real idiot?

    3. rainman

      And “Cats Penis…er Paw shows his TRUE COLORS!

  17. BLUEVADER

    Well Matt Thank You for this. I quit listening to KSR due to the fact of the Bobby P situation. The man deserved the interveiw. I had a big response here but My internet crashed and it didnt save. This article made my day. Cont’

    1. maximsm

      I agree we had a chance to get proven coach and opted for unknown.

  18. BLUEVADER

    We are a country of 2nd,3rd etc… chances. Sometimes in life it takes a few bone head mistakes to get your life right. Bobby P is a prick but you know what usually a good prick makes a good football coach. Why did he deserve the interveiw you may ask. 1 we can forgive and move on 2. He is one hell of a coach. 3 he wins games and won in the SEC. 4 Many Bowl games. 5 Its doesnt matter if Mitch didn’t like him that should no way be an excuse to not interveiew and tun all the negatively about him. This article may have brought me back to listen to Ksr. Thank You for the HARD TRUTHS IN THIS ARTICLE!

    1. Sentient Third Eye

      But the nation looks at Petrino and Louisville as sleazy crooks who just haven’t been busted. Even if U of L won a championship, most people in the country would not consider it legit because of the extreme cheating. Winning is great, but what good is it if the price is never having respect from anyone? There has to be a way to win without becoming dirty like the Cards.

  19. jch67

    At this point, I’m afraid the $12M buyout IS an investment in the football program…

  20. east-ky-boy

    Completely agree with this article. Im a 12 year in a row season ticket holder and I’m tired. Stoops really has done great with every phase except for the wins which is the main thing. Mitch has put all his chips on the table and it hasn’t worked. We have talent. Not bama talent but good talent for what we are use too. We have facilities now. So it’s…. Coaching. Sick of lack of adjustments

  21. pmsmps

    I have suffered through UK football since The Bear. We have had some good teams since. I have always believed UK played as hard as anyone, even when outmanned. I cannot count the times I have driven or flown to watch UK play. The first two performances of this year are as bad as I have ever seen. At 79 years of age, their cannot be many next years left in my life. This team quit. I do not blame the players. I blame the coaches and administration. We are worse, not better. We are the laughing stock of college football. I am truly ashamed.

  22. nagnuggts

    were going to get smashed by New mexico State.. 10 total yards passing, a freaking pee wee league QB passes for more than 10 yards.. that is an embarrassment,

  23. chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door

    Mitch can do what happened at Auburn once. Tommy Tuberville had a big buyout, but resigned. Why? Many think he and AU agreed that he would get a lesser sum if he would just resign and go away.

  24. cpenny

    I really thought that Stoops was going to get it done. Now it appears that it won’t be so….Program has gotten worse since Neal Brown left for Troy. He had a plan and was organized. Bring him back to be the Head Coach when Stoops is gone.

  25. Luvas

    This website and its ignorant followers are more to blame than Barnhardt or Stoops. Ky football is what it has always been while KSR continues to over hype and over sell what it will be.

    People listen to your radio show and think you asshats have a clue. I’m not a UL fan and not a troll. I went to UK and watch us lose at football every week and don’t expect anything different. KSR is not a legitimate news source. If it was it would admit that UK football was going to suck every year before the season starts. It is like when Drew posts that we aren’t mathematically eliminated from the conference championship after week 1. We are what we are.

    Barnhardt tied the wagon to Joker and Clyde, I don’t give a damn who he hired for swimming.

    1. UK Big Board Update

      Hahah. Here’s that idiot that blames KSR and its fans for the football woes. How stupid can a person be? LOL

    2. UK Big Board Update

      I’m sure Matt appreciates your click$ though. 💰💰💰

    3. rainman

      I’ve never lined up wrong, missed an assignment. or dropped a pass, so don’t blame me!

  26. FunkyMonkey

    I’m tried of the wusses on this thread who say we should give up on football. Will we win the SEC?,… hell no. But can we hire a Coach that can get us 6 wins every few years?,… hell yes! We should expect that and we deserve that with the investments we have made. I just don’t think Stoops is the Coach to do it.

    I’ll be at every game the rest of the season. Why?,… well I support the team and my Section 8 seats with the KFund donation is a huge investment. But I don’t support Stoops and I won’t support Barnhart unless he makes a change. 5 wins gets Stoops another year to save on the 12 million. 4 or fewer wins and he has to go this year, money be damned.

    1. UK Fan In Nashville

      Jesus Christ!! 6 wins every few years? How can that possibly be your benchmark for success? We won at least 6 games five years in a row from ’06-’11. That has been proven to be possible when we had terrible facilities and 2/3 star recruits. Now we have spectacular facilities and four years of top 35 recruiting classes. The right coach could come in next year and win 8 games. The reason we suck is a self-fulfilling prophecy. We think we can’t do things because we never have, and that gets in the players and coaches heads. Then we fail to do them. You bring in a guy that has won, and he believes he can’t lose, and the players believe they can’t lose, and then we don’t lose.

  27. blueballs80

    Well Mitch won’t fire Stoops. 12 mil buyout will get any AD on the hot seat. Just sayin.

  28. blitzedanddazed

    Stoops biggest mistake was recruiting Patrick Towles. Towles was too dumb to play QB. Now we are stuck with Barker who is even worse. Team knows there is nothing to play for now.

    1. chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door

      Joker signed Towles.

    2. keiths

      You’re a dumbass Joker recruited Towles. And Towles wasn’t dumb. he already graduated and is getting his masters at BC,

  29. Cat_n_Texas

    “I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. … It’s the only way to be sure,”

  30. BiasedBigfoot

    How would we have to finish the season to make the majority of UK fans satisfied enough to give Stoops more time to succeed? I need a bowl. Maybe a bowl win even. Would that be enough?

    1. Mathlete

      Anything short of a bowl appearance and the fans won’t be around next year

  31. will.risner

    Should have hired Petrino 4 years ago when they had the chance.

    1. CATandMONKEY

      No.

    2. Mathlete

      Hells no. I’d rather lose with Stoops than win with little brother’s leftovers

  32. LaFlamaBlanca

    Face the consequences? What consequences is Barnhart going to face?

    1. Catsby80

      Money talks. Enough people don’t renew their tickets and the money is going to go down drastically… Plus, this will have been Barnhart’s 3rd bad hire (joker & billy g) in 10 years… He’ll run out of lives eventually.

  33. justaUKfan

    It may be time for little brother Mark to phone a friend and call big brother Bob for some advice on how to get the job done!

  34. kyle heavy

    The bottom line is: Mitch Barnhart needs to go. That is all.

    1. UK Big Board Update

      Yeah derp

  35. Kindergarten Cop

    Well this sucks….Back in the same Kentucky Football boat. The fan base has done the best that we could to support 5 win seasons. UK can’t fire Stoops and that is Barnhart’s fault. Any other AD would be fired for making that decision to give him that big of a buy out. Even if we paid him to leave what coach would come here? Lincoln Riley?

    1. Mathlete

      Neal Brown just played Clemson to within 1 possession at Troy, who definitely doesn’t have the talent we have

  36. Sentient Third Eye

    Maybe I have a blind spot for UK football, but I’m not ready to give up quite yet. The Stoops era has been eerily similar to the early Brooks era so far. Starting with almost nothing and having to bring in talent. Not getting results on the field. And, of course, a total disaster against a traditional power on the road. For Brooks, it was LSU, and that became the turning point. For Stoops, it’s Florida. Now I want to see how the team responds. There no possibility of a change during the season anyway, so wait until all the evidence is in to pass judgement. By the end of the season, the calls for fire Stoops might then be legitimate, but they also might be a distant memory if the team turns it around.

    1. Saul T. Nuts

      I agree 100%. I remember loudly calling for Brooks’ head, and I learned my lesson. No doubt the loss was ugly against Florida, but Stoops has my support until the end of the season.

    2. UK Fan In Nashville

      The problem is Stoops has shown little signs of ability to coach a team through adversity. Rich Brooks had years of experience to draw from. Stoops has none.

  37. UKAlum2012

    Sadly this article is 100% on point (I wish I was wrong…). I agree with many others that if we win 4 or less games this season, that change has to be made. If that is the way we go, I’m thinking PJ Fleck, Lincoln Riley, Neil Brown, or Dave Aranda. All of those guys are great recruiters and have a fire that is helping them to succeed. Stoops is an excellent recruiter, and probably still would be a great defensive coordinator, but just cannot devote the time needed to be great along with all that comes from being a head coach. I’ve never heard of a head coach being demoted back to a coordinator and someone else filling the shoes of Head Coach, but that may be the best option if that were even possible.

    1. UK Fan In Nashville

      All of those guys are a great fit for a fledgling program full of hope. None of them are big enough names to reinvigorate the fanbase and get people to come back to the games. It has to be a household name or an NFL coach/coordinator. I am calling for Jim Tressel. I know Tom Herman is unlikely, but the guy he replaces may be a good fit, Les Miles. Chris Klieman coming off three straight FCS championships would be great too. We can’t go with a coordinator, and we can’t go with a third tier coach that has shown promise, but no evidence of sustained success. The pieces are in place for this program to explode… with the right man at the helm.

  38. r-mel

    two word solution…….. Art Briles

    1. UK Big Board Update

      GTFOH

  39. UK Fan In Nashville

    99 Days until Jim Tressel’s show-cause period ends.

  40. UK Fan In Nashville

    You guys saying we can’t afford the $12 million buy-out need to take an economics class. Just looking at the lowest level of season ticket holders: at $280 a year multiplied by 30,000 = $8,400,000. When you look at that number again and then realize some people pay almost $3K a year for tickets, we can’t afford not to pay the buy-out. In 2013, arguably one of the worst seasons in 20 years, UK had $20 million in revenue, while only spending $8 million in the annual budget. That’s a $12 million profit. I cannot imagine enough support returning next year if we keep Stoops to be able to bring in $20 million in revenue. If we devise a payout system for his contract which most teams do (See the Cleveland Browns) we can pay that $12 million out over multiple years. We can’t afford to lose the fanbase. We can afford to lose $12 million in the short run for a $15 or $16 million profit next year with the right coach and buzz around the program.

  41. BluBilly

    “It’s a Process”. I used to cringe hearing that during Stoops first few years.

    This was the year of opportunity. He has all his recruits. He has redshirted some of these players his first few years. The schedule is soft compared to typical SEC years. Mizzou, SC, Miss St, Vandy are all down this year and should have been sure wins. The talent is there to be competitive. He does less with more.

    Other coaches in the same span have showed progress at other programs: Herman, Narduzzi, Petrino, Mclwain, etc.