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Five Things Kentucky Football Must Find Before Spring Practice

1. Two Assistant Coaches

And one of the will probably not be Ed Reed.  It would be a fantastic hire, but at this point adding Reed as UK’s tenth assistant is wishful thinking.  More importantly, Mark Stoops needs to find an excellent wide receivers coach to replace Lamar Thomas.  Who that might be remains a mystery, but the four receivers from the 2017 class have a ton of talent that cannot go to waste.

2. A Way to Keep Xavier Peters’ Commitment

Arguably the toughest task at hand, Vince Marrow has to find a way to prevent the All-American linebacker from falling in love on official visits.  He’ll be at Florida this weekend, Florida State next weekend and Miami the following weekend.  Marrow is the king of building bonds early in the recruiting process.  Hopefully his bond with Peters is too strong for Florida football powerhouses to break.

3. A Running Back

Bryant Koback’s sudden departure leaves just four players in the running back room this fall — Benny Snell, Sihiem King, A.J. Rose and incoming freshman Chris Rodriguez.  2018 will likely be King and Snell’s final season at Kentucky.  Stoops must add at least one player on National Signing Day.  Stoops hopes that one player is on campus this weekend, Kavosiey Smoke.

Smoke is a big badass and it’s not just because of his name (well, kind of).  The No. 29 running back in America is a bruiser who earned All-State honors in Alabama.  UK’s toughest competition is North Carolina and Auburn.  Stoops must get a running back and Smoke is his best remaining option.

4. Leadership

The only Team Captain that will return in 2018 is Mike Edwards.  The offense lost five starters and the defense lost just two starters, but two of those losses are big ones: Courtney Love and Stephen Johnson.  They brought a calming presence and called plays on the field.  Off the field they were an example for all of the underclassmen.

Becoming a leader is atypical; the best leaders have innate qualities that set them apart from the pack.  One person I expect to set the tone as he returns to the team is C.J. Conrad.  Benny Snell’s work ethic leads by example, but can he become a vocal leader on the offense?  The ideal defensive leader is the middle linebacker.  If Kash Daniel can speak to his teammates on the field as well as he can into a wrestling ring microphone, the defense should be in good hands.

5. Consistency

Stoops has “knocked down doors” through consecutive seven-win seasons.  The reason there wasn’t an eight or nine-win season is because of consistency.  You can’t be consistent in October unless you’re consistently doing your job the right way every single day in January and February.

For the Kentucky football program to knock down another door and take the next step as a program, they must transform offseason consistency onto the field this fall.


Article written by Nick Roush

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

14 Comments for Five Things Kentucky Football Must Find Before Spring Practice

  1. makeitstop
    10:10 pm January 18, 2018 Permalink

    Couldn’t agree more. And in regards to consistency:

    Lombardi said: Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all the time thing. You don’t win once in a while… you don’t do things right once in a while… you do them right all the time. Winning is habit.

    Nick Saban and Bill Belichick sure preach it.

    • unbridled
      11:52 pm January 18, 2018 Permalink

      I don’t think mark stoops has quite the gravitas as Lombardi, belichick, or saban. Just saying.

  2. Angelo
    1:53 am January 19, 2018 Permalink

    We need a break from college football…

  3. Rembrandt
    4:07 am January 19, 2018 Permalink

    With exception of Maggard’s posts, there is a lack of basic accuracy about football on this website. Roush incorrectly states our offense “lost five starters” and our defense “lost two starters”. Actually, our offense lost four starters, and our defense lost only one starter. In all, seventeen starters are scheduled to return. Returning starters are actually a strength of next year’s team.

    “Consistency must be found before spring practice” is an oxymoron. Football teams can display dedication in the offseason. “Consistency” is developed in September. While our players do need another productive offseason, any suggestion that “doing your job the right way in January and February” would be something new around here just means Roush doesn’t know enough facts about our football program. Generally, offseason dedication has not been a problem for Stoops’ teams. OTC.

    Although I would like to see Xavier Peters sign with UK, his recruitment does not belong in a discussion of five “offseason musts”. Linebacker is not a position of immediate need. Peters is an interesting prospect, but Maggard and others have written that he needs a redshirt. Actually, Terry Wilson and Marquan McCall are the faces of this class. If they add Peters, so much the better. But it is amateurish to suggest one recruiting miss would lessen our team’s offseason success. All schools occasionally miss on a recruit.

    I share Roush’s curiosity about the two upcoming assistant coach hirings. I don’t know if this actually belongs in a discussion of “offseason musts”, since it is a fact that two more coaches will be hired.

    • Nick Roush
      7:08 am January 19, 2018 Permalink

      “Actually,” — Oscar Martinez

      The defense lost the starting Mike, Courtney Love, and nickel back, Kendall Randolph
      The offense lost Stephen Johnson, Juice, Chuck, Ross/Bone and Kyle Meadows.

      You can hate on the rest of my subjective post, but I gotta chirp back when you’re calling out my ability to count.

  4. kjd
    7:34 am January 19, 2018 Permalink

    Something to find is emotional control. This begins with Coach Stoops. He needs to learn to control his temper/anger during the games. He loses control, and it has an adverse effect. He fails to make critical in-game decisions because he is still fuming over a blown call from several plays earlier.
    Then Coach Stoops needs to teach the players, especially on defense, the same emotional control. Jordan Jones is in critical need of help in this department.

  5. kycats13
    7:42 am January 19, 2018 Permalink

    For running back how about we give a Kentucky boy a shot: JAKE CHISHOLM

    • unbridled
      8:10 am January 19, 2018 Permalink

      Chisholm is a great kid and running back. I don’t think he belongs at a power 5 school though.

    • kycats13
      11:28 am January 19, 2018 Permalink

      Maybe so, but how did Matt Elam work out for us?

  6. timewilltell
    9:59 am January 19, 2018 Permalink

    Same chatter- same attempts to hype up the next season. In reality expect the same results and looking at the schedule- maybe less wins. Just saying!

    • unbridled
      12:04 pm January 19, 2018 Permalink

      Agree. Less wins. The schedule next season is going to be grueling. If they couldn’t eek out mode than 7 wins this season….no way they will next year.

    • cats646
      3:30 pm January 19, 2018 Permalink

      8-9 wins is very doable next season. Our defense should be exceptionally better and if we have a playmaking QB (Terry Touchdown and/ or Gunnar Hoak) our offense should be too.