The Kentucky Football program hosted their annual women’s clinic Saturday, and it was a major hit. If you missed my full recap post yesterday, you can catch up by clicking here. Although I got a lot out about the day’s activities already, there are still a few things on my mind I want to share. I’ve condensed some of the best moments of the clinic down into the top five quotes of the day:
“The biggest difference I think you’re going to see in our team and in our program is our leadership in the players” — Coach Mark Stoops
Although this quote was said near the beginning of the day, the idea of strong leadership was conveyed throughout the entirety of the clinic. As each coach stood up to give his individual presentation, he would mention how the players, specifically the upperclassmen, are holding their teammates responsible for their actions on and off the field more than ever this summer.
During practices where the coaches aren’t present, upperclassmen are stepping up and leading practice, according to Coach Stoops. Five years after Mark Stoops began his Kentucky coaching career, we finally have that solid group of juniors, seniors and even fifth-year seniors to truly set an example for the younger players. While we’re also adding some dynamic younger talent, this team’s backbone will be its more experienced athletes.
Speaking of fifth-year seniors, let’s talk about Austin MacGinnis. The kicker had quite a few memorable quotes during his presentation, but my favorite of the day had to be the following:
“I have to put the ball through this… then if I make it, everyone will love me” — Austin MacGinnis.
Yep, he pretty much nailed it. When a game comes down to the wire and it’s up to the kicker to drill that final field goal, all eyes are on him. To help him practice getting in the zone while controlling his nerves, MacGinnis admitted to a unique relaxation technique: meditation.
Last season, we saw MacGinnis hit a 51-yard field goal to clench a Wildcat victory over Mississippi State and nail that 47-yarder against Louisville. Have we seen MacGinnis’ peak? According to him, not yet.
When asked how far back on the field he can make a field goal from, he replied: “in practice, 65 yards off the sticks. I’m hoping to have some longer ones this year.”
Do your thing, MacGinnis.
“To see you guys down at the Taxslayer Bowl – we stunk that up offensively and we apologize for that. But to go there and to see you all there and to see the Big Blue Nation and to see the support, it’s phenomenal” — Eddie Gran
So… it sounds like if Kentucky fans promise to keep going to games, Coach Gran promises to not stink them up offensively. All the more reason to go to the games!
But seriously, the coaches are revved up about this season, and that’s only going to become more and more apparent as the first game of the season approaches. Vince Marrow also announced an exciting promotion going on right now for season ticket holders. You can read about the “YAHTZEE promotion” here. Even if you don’t win, at least you’ll be able to say you supported our team at all of the home games this season. Plus, you may just end up talking to Coach Marrow himself in the ticket office. I mean, look at this. He’s awesome.
“This isn’t just going to be a coach/football relationship. I’m going to treat him like he’s family” — Vince Marrow.
One of the biggest draws to the Kentucky basketball team has always been the family-like atmosphere. The players appear to keep in touch even after their time in Kentucky uniforms is over, and Ellen Calipari baking cookies for birthdays doesn’t hurt either. But this “family first” mentality is relatively new for the football team.
Throughout Coach Marrow’s presentation, he repeatedly mentioned giving players a father-like figure while they’re at the University of Kentucky, since most of the young men are living away from their parents for the first time. It’s not just about playing ball — he also has the team over for family dinners and goes to church with some of the players. Even with a team composed of 105 players rather than 15, this football team is still a family. Which leads right into my favorite quote of the day…
“We’re always going to be a basketball school, but now we’re a football school too” — Vince Marrow.
Beautifully put, Coach Marrow.