You most likely have heard by now how Coach Stoops sent out a care package to each former Kentucky football player currently playing in the NFL. All 19 of these players received hats, shirts, media guides, and personal letters from Coach Stoops himself wishing them luck in training camp for their respective teams and inviting them to come back to Lexington at any time. This is a small, yet very meaningful gesture from a man who most likely doesn’t know any of these players personally, and never spent time coaching any of them.
Kentucky basketball has a sense of “family” that comes with it. Coach Cal calls all of his players his “sons” and the players call each other “brothers”. When you hear “La Familia”, you think of the basketball team, not the football team. Kentucky football has never quite had the same sense of togetherness that the basketball team displays, and the only sense of family they’ve given off in the past is one with a lot of dysfunction. Coach Stoops offering out his hand to players who have already spent time at the program is a sign of things to come. Stoops is trying to unite this team and build a “players first program” (where have I heard that before?). Like any good relationships, it’s the little things that mean the most, and with stoops forging a bridge between the past and the present, this will do nothing but put Kentucky football in a positive light.
The goal is for these former players to wear their new Kentucky garb around their NFL teams, and to generate buzz about the uprising about the new coaching staff and program. Aside from winning games on the gridiron, the biggest challenge for Kentucky football is to have a complete and total attitude and image change around the program. Stoops is making Kentucky a hip, new and cool place to play football in the SEC, and with a top 10 recruiting class on the way for next year, I’d say he’s doing a pretty decent job so far. Many players, Randall Cobb among them, went to social media to voice their excitement over getting the care package and send a little bit of positive energy towards the upcoming season.