For those that don’t understand The Office reference, no big deal. It’s my way of saying that Mark Stoops was at his most animated during the 2020 Kentucky football season-opening press conference when he quoted General George S. Patton. Some context…
Naturally, many of the questions Stoops was asked centered around the coronavirus. Based purely off tone and body language, I get the vibe that he just wants to play some football. The good news, for his sake, is that Stoops believes the season will kickoff as scheduled Sept. 26.
“I’m personally optimistic that we’re going to get started on time,” he said. “Again, this is a very fluid situation and we’ll take it day-by-day. We’re excited to get out there and practice today. We certainly have a lot of tests between now and the first game that need to happen throughout our conference and we’ll do the best we can to keep everyone as safe as humanly possible.”
Tuesday morning he could not provide specifics on how many players are attending in-person classes. The staff is trying to limit them, but for some upperclassmen that is out of their control. As for socializing, Stoops reiterated that he’s not the type of guy to set a curfew or create a lengthy list of rules for players to follow once they leave the facility. To this point, he believes the team’s leadership has provided a good example to make sure folks aren’t acting inappropriately or in an unsafe manner during their free time.
Now, back to the football, what Stoops really wanted to discuss. A day after the SEC unveiled UK’s 10-game conference-only schedule, Kentucky’s head coach believes his team is prepared to go to war against any and all opponents.
“I do feel like this is the deepest team since I’ve been here. We are a deep team with some experience. That has to help when you’re playing ten conference games, because we all know how difficult that will be. We know how taxing that will be on our players and our coaches. It will be a real challenge but we do have a deep team, we have a mature team. That has to help us. We’ll see where it goes,” he said.
“Like General Patton said — nobody misquote me; I know I’m no general. I certainly don’t want to compare football to our military, who I have such great respect for, but we can learn from past leaders. General Patton said, ‘I am a soldier. I fight where I’m told and I win where I fight.‘ That’s going to be our approach. Just prepare the team each and every week to be ready to go, to be ready to prepare to win and we’re going to take that approach everyday.”
Unfortunately, that was the only United State military leader Mark Stoops quoted on Tuesday. To see the rest of his quotes, including three questions about home field advantage and an interruption by Buzz Baker, enjoy the entire 30-minute Zoom press conference.