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Reflecting on 2017, Stoops is Proud of Accomplishments but is Pushing for More

Just like the Kentucky fan base, Mark Stoops has reflected on the 2017 season and came away with mixed emotions.

“That’s hard for me me,” Stoops said.  “You know I’m not going to define that because there’s no right answer for that. I’ll let the experts dictate that and give opinions on that.  But I really just want to always make progress, that’s the big thing.  Like I told you many times, I’m human.  There’s always parts of you that would like to do things over and have different plays back, different calls, different series, whatever it is; that’s human nature.  I do think about that, but I can’t dwell on that and I don’t dwell on that.”

Speaking for the first time since Kentucky accepted an invitation to the Music City Bowl, it was also the first time Kentucky’s head coach had spoken publicly since he had a candid, private conversation with Matt Jones.  While discussing the regular season that was, he stopped himself after the previous statement to show a side of him we rarely see.

“You know part of that’s true and part of it’s not,” he laughed.

“I try not to give you guys coach-speak, you know that, but I mean, I’m human.  There’s parts of it that do hurt and I understand that.  You always beat yourself up because you try to do the very best you can.”

Stoops doesn’t want the bad things that happened to overshadow the positive takeaways from the season.

We all have a tendency to hang on to the ‘what ifs’ and how close things were, but again, it’s an exciting time.  We definitely are proud of going to a bowl game back-to-back.  Like I said, it’s human nature to want more and to push for more and we’re going to continue to do that, but we’re also going to enjoy this.  Our team needs to understand that they need to feel good about some of the things that we’ve done and to put ourselves in a position to go play this game and how important it would be to win an eighth game for us.  It hasn’t been done a whole lot and our players have enjoyed knocking down some doors the past couple years.  We really embrace the fact that we need to go get this eighth victory.”

You can play the “could of, would of, should have” game every year.  This year’s losses to Florida and Ole Miss were more painful than most, but Stoops will not let that define this team.

“I can tell you this, this staff has worked unbelievably hard.  Our players have worked exceptionally hard to put us into the position we’ve been in this year: to win seven games again and to be .500 or above two years in a row in the SEC.  We’ve never done that.  That’s not just nothing.  Our players need to understand that, our coaches need to understand that and I appreciate the work that they’ve done to put us into position to do that.”

Stoops wants his players to appreciate how far they’ve come, and to use the painful ‘what ifs’ to motivate them to take another step in the right direction.

“We all want more.  We all expect to win more and do more and we want to do that, but I greatly appreciate the work that they’ve done and we’re going to continue to push forward.”

Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

26 responses to “Reflecting on 2017, Stoops is Proud of Accomplishments but is Pushing for More”

  1. Catcasey1

    Lost ball in tall weeds

  2. Alleykat16

    Its hard not to play the what if game when we lose two games the way we did

  3. Kevin C

    “We all want more.”

    Well, so far Mitch has been willing to give you “more”, well before you’ve even earned it…..and in return, your fans get mediocrity and disappointment.

    1. DennyC

      What he said…. smh..

    2. haroldhanson

      You guys act like you can turn a football team around in a minute. We are progressing forward. Maybe not as fast as everyone would like, but we are progressing forward. Every game this year I watched it with a belief we could win it. That’s not something you could say about UK football for a long time. We haven’t had mediocrity and disappointment since the Joker years. Either you’re not a fan or you’re ignorant when it comes to football.

    3. dismore

      I’d say your ignorant when it comes to football if you believed we could win every game. GA?? And after our defense went to crap you still thought we could win?? Bahahaha

    4. runningunnin.454

      So by that logic, what’s the point of playing the game? Just check it off.
      Ever hear of upsets? What was the point of Ball State playing Notre Dame last night…they had no chance.

    5. haroldhanson

      Howard beat UNLV with a 1.2% CHANCE.
      Liberty beat Baylor with a 2.2% CHANCE.

      We had a chance in every game. Do you not remember how crazy the Top 25 was this year? Teams were losing left and right.

    6. runningunnin.454

      I agree, harold…what were the odds of
      Iowa beating Ohio State,
      Appalachian State beating Michigan,
      UK beating No. 1 and eventual champion LSU.

  4. cats646

    If you told me 5 years ago the UK would win 7 games in back to back seasons with a .500 SEC record I probably would’ve slapped you in the face. It’s unbelievable what stoops has done. And we’re gonna continue to get better.

    1. ukkatzfan

      Yes !!!

    2. BigBlueBass

      That’s right!! ⬆️⬆️⬆️⬆️

    3. Rembrandt

      Agree completely. When Stoops got here, he inherited Joker’s garbage. Stoops has worked his butt off to build a real SEC roster. If the ungrateful crybabies here can’t deal with real life competition, then try fantasy football. Or watch the Bengals.

  5. Marcus Areolas

    Didn’t we just get killed by Little Brother and lose for the 31st time in a row to Florida? Perhaps I’m missing the success in this 64th ranked strength of schedule? Or is it just because we’ve been hot garbage? Especially under Barnhart?

  6. cats646

    64th ranked schedule? The same people who ranked that were the same ones saying Ohio state deserved the top four more than bama. You honestly believe our schedule was easier than people like Pitt or Iowa. Get real man. We’re in the SEC. Enough said

    1. My Dixie Wrecked

      The SEC is 0-2 against the Big Ten this year. Nuff said.

    2. runningunnin.454

      College Football playoffs
      SEC 2
      Big Ten 0.

    3. runningunnin.454

      Nuff said.

    4. My Dixie Wrecked

      BigTen 0? Didn’t Ohio State beat Alabama to win the National Championship in the playoffs? Ohio State’s in the BigTen, right?

    5. cats646

      I believe your thinking of Clemson limp dick

  7. ClutchCargo

    Calm down, people. It wasn’t as good as it could have been, but 7-5 is actually progress.

  8. blueballs80

    Going to highlight a few points below:

    1. We played to the level of the competition (Southern Miss, EKU, Eastern Michigan) – Check.
    2. Based on level of competition played above, none of our back up Qb’s, RB’s got playing time- Check
    3. 2 Strong games against SC and Vanderbilt
    4. Defense gave up a shit ton of passing yards throughout the season- dead last in SEC passing yards surrendered. No defensive identity
    5..Lack of competitive edge in the last 2 games.
    6. Will have to re-tool offense for 2018 -?

    Your thoughts?

  9. Alleykat16

    blueballs your right on playing down to our competitors and I totally agree with point 4 our defense was just not good should have beat ole miss. and florida, defense cost us those games and they just about cost us the tn. game I think I offense was pretty good we scored points to win games but our defense just gave up more but there was times we needed our offense to make longer drives

  10. timer2

    Les Miles isn’t gonna get a head coaching job. He is looking for a place where he would be accepted and appreciated.

    He is a great defensive coach who could help pull recruits from B1X schools up north.

    Looking at our last few games, it is debatable as to whether we had a defensive coordinator.

    We should hire Les Miles as defensive coordinator. And we should bring back Chuck Smith to coach the linebackers.

  11. DennyC

    Based off of Stoops contract, Mitch calls one game over .500 (seven wins) the ultimate success at UK. That’s a loser’s mentality. That’s a Kentucky football mentality. As long as its rewarded, don’t expect more. Nuff said.

  12. Howdy Doody

    All I heard was “wuda, cuda, shuda…” Same song, different day.