Let’s be honest for a minute. In regards to fan aggravation, nobody incited anger quite like the 2015 receiving corps. The receivers had legitimate SEC-talent and performed at a prodigious level, at times. Hopes were raised.
But, as the season lingered, indolent body language surfaced along with a reoccurring case of the drops. I’ll translate the previous sentence in football locker room language. The once self-assured group lost confidence. The missing assurance can be related to play-calling doubts, quarterback play, and the frustration of losing. I’ve said many times, if a team doesn’t have a WR meeting room full of divas, the program isn’t recruiting the right receivers. It’s just how those desired, yet fragile personalities are handled and motivated. Nothing is more critical for the unique position.
The Kentucky receivers now meet Coach Lamar Thomas. If you’re of a certain age, you’ll remember the initial run of the “U” or the Miami Hurricanes. It was a unique spectacle all to itself. Not only did the Miami teams win, it did so in an “in your face” style that hadn’t been witnessed before in college football. While playing in that era, respect from their peers was vast. Respect led to jealousy, quite honestly. During that period, college football lacked characters, personalities, and intrigue. In other words, it was a cookie cutter product of boredom. That is until the “U” stormed onto the scene. Touchdown celebrations, confrontations, and the “we’re here to kick your butt” mentality translated to must-see television. Go ahead and insert your “Bama doesn’t do it that way” thoughts now.
So what does all this have to do with Kentucky Football? As it appears former Miami receiver Lamar Thomas will be making the move from Louisville to UK. My hope is that the first step he takes in his initial meeting with his players is to install the Jimmy Johnson/Dennis Erickson era Hurricane attitude. Not the current product of false bravado, but the Uncle Luke days. Swagger is good, if backed up by execution. Controlled arrogance is acceptable, if passes are being caught and touchdowns are scored.
The way I see it, confidence problems should disappear. Players are a reflection of their coach. Lamar Thomas has never been shy to voice his confidence or opinion. I like that. Certain I-64 West media members described Coach Thomas as just a recruiter, indicating that he didn’t actually coach the position. Don’t buy it for a minute. While being a former great player doesn’t always translate to coaching success, the intangibles within Thomas are necessary to apply within the Kentucky receiving corps.
Lamar Thomas will demand instant respect. He’s played the position and will be the biggest personality in the meeting room. Think about that for a minute. The hiring of Lamar Thomas is Mark Stoops’ fourth step in his program’s attitudinal adjustment. The first three being Eddie Gran, Darin Hinshaw, and Mark Hill. You wanted change, Stoops has delivered. I like the hire.