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Former Kentucky players excited about Stoops era

What took place at the Nutter Practice Facility today is uncommon of the University of Kentucky. As Mark Stoops was introduced as the 37th head coach of the program, there was a genuine excitement about the game of football that was  felt throughout the building. Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart, a football guy at heart, is trying hard to shake the idea of Kentucky being just a “basketball school”, and it starts with bringing in a coach that can change culture of a dormant program. Barnhart thinks Stoops is that guy, and if today’s press conference was any indication, he’s right. Stoops’ background in undeniable. His last name is synonymous with football success. The Stoops brothers have been winners in the college football world for decades and Kentucky hopes the youngest brother can lead the Wildcats to national prominence. For former players, this day was bittersweet. Many are friends of former head coach and player Joker Phillips and are sad to see him go but know the type of impact a guy like Stoops can have on a program. I got a chance to speak with a couple of them before the presser about where UK Football is headed and here’s what they told me:

Former QB Tim Couch, who actually helped with the hiring process:

“Every single thing I and Barnhart asked Stoops about during the process he had a plan for. We were incredibly impressed. Stoops has a plan for a throw-it-around offense. If I’m [QB Patrick Towles], I’m pretty excited.

Former WR Kio Sanford, on the atmosphere at today’s press conference:

“The atmosphere here is electric. We’re just excited about the new coach and the new coaching staff he’s going to bring in. [Former players] just want Kentucky to be competitive in the SEC with all the other teams. I think this is a good hire and hopefully he can take us to be one of the powerhouses of the conference. He has a great pedigree and hopefully he’ll be able to bring that winning attitude and passion here to Kentucky.”

Former CB Kerry Baird:

“When Joker was hired, he was obviously the coach-in-waiting, we pretty much just had an informal meeting at the K Club to announce he would be taking over. This is much different, I think it says we are trying to take the program to the next level. “

“Anytime you can get a guy from the state of Florida, it allows you to tap into that recruiting market down there and it can be great for the program. I’m just excited about UK Football, right now.”

 Former LB Jerry Blanton:

“When I watched Florida State play last night, I said “Oh my!” I loved what I saw. It was the same defense we played when I was here at Kentucky and it allows linebackers to be great. I think Williamson and Dupree will have success with Stoops with the type he scheme he runs.”

“What excites me about seeing that type of football from Florida State is that I know we are going to have a bigger, more physical, aggressive team that’s going to be able to compete in the SEC.”


And just like that, Stoops has the blessing of the former players. It’s going to be exciting to see who the new coach adds to the staff and what type of recruiting he’s going to able to do. It’s truly great to see this type of support around the football program and BBN should be e static about what’s to come.

Article written by Rashawn Franklin

11 Comments for Former Kentucky players excited about Stoops era

  1. 44 Stitches
    7:41 pm December 2, 2012 Permalink

    Speaking of former players unfortunately I just read that former offensive lineman Mike Scott passed away. Scott had been battling pancreatic cancer and was a high school coach in the metro Atlanta area.

  2. SMH
    7:47 pm December 2, 2012 Permalink

    “What took place at the Nutter Practice Facility today is uncommon of the University of Kentucky”

    What’s uncommon is your grammar.

  3. Go blue
    7:51 pm December 2, 2012 Permalink

    Hopefully Stoops can see that Towles is the future of UK. Smith is a capable back up at best. Whitlow is a WR or Wildcat option for a change of pace. Joker made a horrible choice burning his redshirt year hope it doen’t comeback to bite UK.

  4. BearBryant
    7:53 pm December 2, 2012 Permalink

    This is the best coach since me…

  5. L1C4
    7:53 pm December 2, 2012 Permalink

    Hey Cayut fans! Looks like Teddy and the boys get to lay it down on the Gators in a BCS game. We’re about to do in one attempt what you haven’t done in a quarter century: slay the Gators. It’s like these hot 606/859 girls leaving their hick boyfriends for a weekend in the Ville. They haven’t given it up to Bubba, but needless to say me and my boys give them the night of their lives. We get ours and then we’ll send them home to the rednecks for another round of denial next year. Have fun thinking about that Mild Cayuts! LOL @ you

  6. Megan
    7:55 pm December 2, 2012 Permalink

    Educate me, because I’m not sure here – since Towles played this year, if Stoops decides to go with Maxwell Smith as his starter, can Towles still redshirt either his true sophmore or junior year so he gets an extra year while waiting for Smith to graduate? That way we get at least two years of Towles as the starter, assuming he’s as good as advertised?

  7. Blue Healer
    7:56 pm December 2, 2012 Permalink

    I am excited about football and already checking games I can make it to next year. However I’m not sure about the Barnhart is a football guy at heart comment……..Meh….I’m just hoping he becomes a football guy in his 11th year at the helm.

  8. Wet Pistol
    7:57 pm December 2, 2012 Permalink


  9. YoutubeSportsWannaBe
    8:26 pm December 2, 2012 Permalink

    Yes #6 he could still be redshirted if he wanted to, but I doubt he’ll be willing to accept a redshirt. He really wanted to be on the field this year.

  10. Katdaddy
    8:27 pm December 2, 2012 Permalink

    Lets see how excited everyone will be in two to three years from now. The man will have FOR SALE signs in his yard.

  11. Beatle Bum
    8:54 pm December 2, 2012 Permalink

    I do not know if all UK past players are happy. I will have to wai and see if Larry Vaught quotes Mr. Anonymous again before I can fee confident.