One of the best players to ever wear a Kentucky football uniform knows the program is in good hands.
Former UK wide receiver Randall Cobb was a part of three teams that played in bowl games. Even so, the margin of error was thin, compiling just a 20-19 overall record in his three years at UK. In a recent episode of The Matt Jones Podcast, Cobb explained the difference between the teams he played on and what Mark Stoops has brought to the Bluegrass.
“We lost close games in ways that we shouldn’t have,” he said. “I think it came down to having one or two players — missing one or two players. When you look at the program Kentucky has now with the players that they have, it’s a little bit different. Obviously if you look at the offensive line, the ability that their offensive line has had over the last couple of years has been tremendous and I think that adds to the team factor of it and bringing out more wins.”
Along with play on the offensive line, Stoops has developed incredible playmakers.
“When you look at the program now at what Mark Stoops is doing, the players that he’s bringing in, the guys like Lynn Bowden and Benny Snell, these guys that are really making a change to the whole program and I think gaining respect from the nation continuously every year,” said Cobb. “It’s definitely been very impressive to see what they’ve been able to do here recently.”
The wins have impressed Cobb. His respect for Stoops grew to new heights after he saw Kentucky’s head coach lead players through downtown Lexington in a Black Lives Matter protest.
“He put himself out there for his players, a lot of his players who are of African-American descent who come from impoverished neighborhoods, who come from places where they see all of things that people are just waking up to this week. We’ve been seeing that for decades. We’ve been seeing that for years. We’ve been hearing about that from our parents, from our grandparents for years. This is nothing new to us. And for him to take a step out there like that… when he goes into a recruit’s house and says, ‘I got you when you come to this program,’ parents know that it means something. I have respect for him as a man. The things he’s doing for these players and the way that he gives them opportunity and puts them in places to succeed, that’s all you can ask for from a coach,” Cobb continued.
“He has that respect from me and he always will from this point on, no matter what he does as a coach. No matter what the teams do, he gained a lot more of my respect as a man by taking a stand and being able to put himself out there on a ledge, especially in a place like Kentucky. I love my old Kentucky home, I loved my time there but there are things that have taken place throughout history in that area of Kentucky that a lot of people are probably looking at him in a different light and probably lost respect for him, but he definitely has mine.”
You can hear the entire conversation with Cobb, including his thoughts on Lynn Bowden’s season and his new Houston Texans’ team, by listening to the latest edition of The Matt Jones Podcast.