We’ve already shared what Vince Marrow, Lynn Bowden, Josh Allen, and Brad White had to say on the Kentucky Football takeover of KSR this morning, but what about the head man Mark Stoops? Stoops sat in on hour two of the show and discussed his team’s progress since the ten-win season. Here are five highlights.
He teased Calipari about his new contract this morning
On Thursday, John Calipari’s new 10-year, $86 million contract extension became official, and Stoops couldn’t help but tease Cal about it this morning while getting coffee.
“I said, ‘I saw your contract and I’m here for a loan!’ We started laughing, and then I said, ‘Yeah, I’m going to get you. I’m going to go to that camp store and say, give me this, this and this, and all those things and put it on Cal’s tab.’ That’s what I’m going to do.”
It’s vacation time for the coaches, but the players are working
With the big camps of the summer now over, most of the coaching staff is taking the next few weeks off to spend with their families; however, the team is on campus for summer workouts, so Stoops is handing the reins to his veterans, including Kash Daniel.
“You’ve got Coach Daniel here next to me. He’ll take over and run the defensive meetings here when the guys do go out of town and really, that’s what we need. We need leaders to really have a great summer. There’s only so much we’re allowed to do with these guys, so when we leave, we’ve gotta have great leadership to step up.”
How does Coach Daniel feel about his squad so far?
“Everything in that 7-on-7 we did yesterday was crisp,” Kash said, mentioning how the team-run workout flowed like a normal practice. “For me, that gives me a lot of confidence going into the season, saying, hey, if we’re doing this right now in June, we’re going to be five steps ahead of where we were last year going into camp.”
Stay hungry, stay humble
Along those same lines, Stoops said the team doesn’t have a big head after last season’s success; in fact, it just made them hungry for more.
“We don’t ever go around beating our chest around here,” Stoops said. “In this business, you have every seven days to get humbled so you always keep things in perspective. We’re confident but we are hungry and we always try to have a chip on our shoulder. That’s why these coaches are in here on vacation. That’s why Kash is here. That’s why we’re here all the time. It’s a competitive business. We’re competitive. We’re not here to lose. We’re going to do everything in our power to win and be successful and that’s not going to stop. I want these guys to have an edge and an attitude about them but I want them to keep things in perspective.”
Recruiting is “really good”
Stoops couldn’t mention any names or specifics, but said he’s pleased with how recruiting’s going, which has to be the understatement of the century.
“Recruiting’s going really good,” Stoops said. “We’re on some great guys. These [coaches] have done a great job recruiting. They’ve been busy. We’ve had more guys on this campus this offseason than ever before at this point. Some really quality guys.”
Stoops said the ten-win season helped changed the perception of the program, making it easier for coaches to lure big names in for unofficial and official visits.
“Once we get people on this campus, they love it. We fight that — and we’re changing that — but that 100-year history, it’s a lot easier for them to look at some history of some other places in the SEC. When we’re bringing them from the south, we’ve got to bring them here and get them on campus and then they see that and they’re like, ‘Wow. This place is incredible. We love the atmosphere. We love what’s going on.'”
“We’re not going backwards”
A ten-win season that culminated with a New Year’s Day bowl and five draft picks is tough to follow, but Stoops vowed to do everything he can to prevent the program from backsliding.
“Keep on winning,” Stoops said. “I don’t ever make predictions, never have, with games or numbers or anything, but I’ve just simply said — and fortunately, to this point, it’s always held true — we’re not going backwards. We haven’t gone backwards in six years and I don’t plan on going backwards this year.”
Listen to his appearance below starting midway through Hour 2: