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Mark Stoops’ Message: “Stay the Course”

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

After taking a tough loss to start the season against Southern Miss, Mark Stoops didn’t have to do anything dramatic to spark a change, but he had to do something.  What he said to them changed the course of the season, yet it was all according to the head coach’s original plan.

“I grabbed them up, I wanted to see the whites of their eyes, and I told them to stay the course.”  Stoops told them, “Every son of a gun outside of this room right here will be attacking you and me.  So put your head down, do your job, and go to work.  Because there’s nowhere to run and there’s nowhere to hide.  You either man up and get better or you cave.”

They didn’t man up right away, but halfway through the season Kentucky is 3-3. The path to a bowl game is clear, but that didn’t seem possible after the season-opening loss, especially if you heard the criticism from the fans. Mark Stoops certainly did.

“It’s very hard to get something turned when it’s toxic and negative,” he said.  “Coaches deserve to be criticized. That’s our job, it’s part of our job, but the players and getting toxic and negative and all that…that’s not going to help get this program to where we want it to go. I promise you.”

Despite the toxicity in the air, Stoops remained steadfast.  He continually preached, “stay the course.”

“We knew we had a good football team. We’re not a great team, but we’re a work in progress and we’re getting better and better. I love their attitude and I love the way they work.”

If they continue to stay the course through the second half of the season, it will end much differently than what we expected after week one.

Article written by Nick Roush

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

21 Comments for Mark Stoops’ Message: “Stay the Course”

  1. Bill the Cat
    9:40 pm October 8, 2016 Permalink

    I’ll say it b/c he can’t. Some KY fans are toxic! Yes, you are loyal but you are pre-positioned to be negative. 21 point lead at the half in football and you are bitching at the urinals about how we will lose the game. Same scenarion in basketball and your positive vibe helps the team in the second half. KY fans need to learn to cheer FOR their team. They need to learn that stadium silence is like a cheer FOR the opponent and that noise/intimidation works against the opponent. They need to learn that even though a coach has had 4 years, he still has half a roster of 18-19 year olds playing against 5th year seniors on elite teams in the SEC. It’s just a matter of time before Thomas begins bringing S Florida athletes to compliment Marrow’s tough nosed OH kids. That can’t happen overnight (Thomas just joined us before the season if you didn’t know). Yes, KY fan, you are loyal and go to the games most of the time but many of you do so for the social aspects. You like to tailgate and walk around in your khakis and sports coats. Me? I’d just as soon see someone with face paint yelling at the other team as they conduct their pre-game walk around. Yes, KY fan you pay good money for those tickets. Me? I say put your money where your mouth is and STOP buying tix if you want to be negative or not cheer loudly. I’ll say it b/c Stoops can’t. CWS is the LEAST imposing stadium in the conference. The opponent knows they merely need to score a TD and the crowd begins to turn against the home team or becomes silent. What comes first, the good team or the awesome game environment? Well, If you are a negative KY fan you think the team shouldn’t be cheered until they produce. IF you are a fan at 12 other SEC schools (minus Vandy), you believe your cheering and support DOES mean something to the team on the field. (Disclaimer: this rant is NOT directed to those that do honestly cheer and attempt to create the environment I speak of.) It is directed at all of the sarcastic SOBs that come on this site and post the negative crap every game. All of the idiots that boo 18-19 year old kids when they screw up once or twice. YOU are the toxicity that Stoops speaks of. Please, if you don’t like Stoops take your money and your ass elsewhere. Go watch basketball reruns or cheer for The university down the road. We cannot get better with people like you being negative 24/7. These kids and coaches deserve our support for the work they put in all year. Geez! Please, negative fans, just stfu! Yeah, yeah, I know you have had those same tickets for years and you have seen losing season after losing season and therefore think you have the right to wait for results before you cheer loudly. There lies the paradox. You hold the tickets so you will have them when the team is good yet you do nothing to help the team get over the hump when they need YOU. Stoops cannot tell you that you are not helping. He cannot tell you to stop buying your tickets if all you want to do is complain. He can only talk about toxicity vaguely and HOPE that you, someday, understand that good football teams almost always have imposing, positive home environments to play in and until CWS becomes that intimidating environment we will muddle in the status quo. Good gosh some of the posts on this site piss me off. I hope this one hits back at those negative fans! (Again, this not directed at those that do cheer and attempt to support the team the way they deserve).

    • Patches
      11:16 pm October 8, 2016 Permalink

      You bore everyone dude and your constant blue kool aid makes no sense. Stoops made this a toxic season and no one else and that my friend is the fact.

    • runningunnin.454
      1:12 am October 9, 2016 Permalink

      A little long-winded there, Bill; but, I agree with you….too many negative Nancys around here.

    • Chesters Daddy
      7:35 am October 9, 2016 Permalink

      You may get what you ask for you idiot, fans aren’t very far away from not being tickets as it is. When they stop buying don’t start your crying.

    • UK Big Board Update
      12:36 am October 10, 2016 Permalink

      Darryl calling people idiots. Irony.

  2. ukcatfan15
    10:04 pm October 8, 2016 Permalink

    Well said Bill

  3. CarolinaMedCat
    10:35 pm October 8, 2016 Permalink

    Why are you guys trying to make a big deal about this? Matt said on his postgame show that he didn’t like the negativity of bringing this up after a win. Small detail left out/not considered: HE WAS SPECIFICALLY ASKED ABOUT A NEGATIVE ATMOSPHERE and how it affected the team. Give the dude a break. As Cal says, when you throw a rock , the dog that it hits will yelp. KSR has been annoyingly negative about this team/Stoops all year.

  4. Unboltedharp
    10:57 pm October 8, 2016 Permalink

    Bill is right. Fans need to get behind the team. If you only want to ridicule then go somewhere else. Brooks preached the same thing. When KY has the ball get quiet and when the other team has the ball get loud. The other team gets a first down and CWS goes silent. I’ve seen this happen for years. WAKE UP PEOPLE!! These kids are going to make mistakes, we all do, but they also need our support. When they make an error and still see the crowd behind them that is motivation. Did you ridicule your child when they made a mistake or help pick them up?

  5. FunkyMonkey
    10:58 pm October 8, 2016 Permalink

    Bill the Cat is quite the negative one, even after a win – geez

  6. onsides
    11:22 pm October 8, 2016 Permalink

    The only “toxic” criticism of players I heard was about Elam. I heard tons of criticism about the coaches. I’d say something about going into a prevent defense on the last drive being a poor strategy, but I don’t want to hurt Stoops’ feelings. Go Cats.

  7. BluKudzu
    12:35 am October 9, 2016 Permalink

    What is wrong about being behind a team and wanting them to win? When they don’t ok. Then why? When it boils down to coaching, which seems to be the major complaint, it is not directed at the kids.
    Do you know what kills the spirits of the kids? Them knowing they have skills and ability, and it is never nurtured or made better, by COACHING!
    How on earth can people not see the kids having lost faith in the coaching? The Florida game reaked of “quit and why am I here” from every player that took the field. Is that what you want by the highest paid coach in UK Football history, the 13th highest paid coach in the game? Is it ok to lose to a team, on opening day, which today got dusted by a community college in Texas? Is it acceptable to give up more points to the worst team in college football than any other team in the last 3 years?
    People that accept this have more issues (and confusion in life), than a magazine rack in an airport.
    Get a grip johnny rah-rah.

    • BluKudzu
      5:00 pm October 9, 2016 Permalink

      I need my ass kicked, but I talk shit behind my anonymity.

  8. cats42301
    12:53 am October 9, 2016 Permalink

    A coach tells a team’s fans before the season starts that player “Smith” has really improved in the offseason and you’re going to see an”different” player etc., then he has chosen to put that player under the microscope so to speak. Of course fans are going to be watching this player more than usual due to what the coach has said so if this particular player doesn’t live up to the hype then are fans wrong

    1:13 am October 9, 2016 Permalink


  10. cats42301
    1:29 am October 9, 2016 Permalink

    To question why the player may not be performing like the coach said he would? Example, the previous coach would make statements to the media before the season about how Morgan Newton was a changed player and fans wouldn’t recognoze him on the field. Then when the season started not much had changed in fans’eyes then how how do coaches expect fans to react when things they have been told turn out to be mot true and maybe just used to keep season tickets sales moving along. Now Im not talking about a person who cusses a player or makes it personal but if the player’s performance isn’t up to the same level that the coach said it was then I don’t see that that is the Fan’s fault when it was the coach who put the expectations out there in the media to begin with.

  11. M.T.Pockets
    7:16 am October 9, 2016 Permalink

    bill, I don’t know how old you are, but I have been a solid blue fan for over 50 years, and my friend, I, too, am starting to feel….I guess like being in bad marriage. promises are made every year, yet nothing ever changes, yet you stay because of love, and hope…you get years of being lied to, and you feel like they think you are stupid and expect you to believe the same old crap year after year, and you feel stupid because you DID believe it for years. but at some point the dew falls off the rose. if the ky. football program was a school child it would have been stuck in the first grade for 30 years. don’t lowrate these fans till you have suffered as much as we have. they have earned the right to be pessimistic.

    • Bill the Cat
      11:20 pm October 10, 2016 Permalink

      MT – my age and years of following this team are on par with yours and sitting around the common fan in commonwealth makes me want to puke. Constant second guessing play calls and not knowing when the team needs you to cheer. Stand up and someone is telling you to sit back down. I choose to cheer loudly, not live by your loser credo that people ‘earn the right to be pessimistic’. What kind of world do you live in? Surround yourself with positive people and you will succeed. THAT cuts to the core of this whole issue. The fans are taking out ’50 years’ (your words) of frustration on a coach that has been here 4 and a bunch of kids that have been here less. How is that fair?

  12. Chesters Daddy
    7:48 am October 9, 2016 Permalink

    I predicted this week’s ago. We won’t go to a bowl game with STOOPS watch and see, and I have preached about this trend of players are going to stop coming to UK because they see what he does too talent and with talent. Yeast coming out publicly like he did will affect recruiting more than you know, last week it came down to UK against Louisville for that well needed DL that we are looking for and he chose UofL, and that won’t be the last.

    • BluKudzu
      5:22 pm October 9, 2016 Permalink

      Amen, brother. You’ve got it all figured out. I’m definitely #TeamDarryl. Genius.

  13. Sunshinesbright
    9:02 am October 9, 2016 Permalink

    How many years of this BS until people realize this is all smoke and mirrors? Stoops was going to change the program around – wrong. The high performance program is one of a kind in the nation and going to make UK a team like any other – wrong and fired Korem, who they raved about previously. The $300 million dollar renovations are going to help us get better recruits and win more games – wrong and now the department is feeling the financial pinch. Now the coach is blaming fans for his hot seat?! Welcome to big five football big boy! We did nothing to beat Vanderbilt, they just couldn’t convert in the redzone. We’re one makable catch from being 2-4 and staring at the gauntlet of the season’s backhalf.

  14. Tej
    10:33 pm October 9, 2016 Permalink

    Coach Stoops asked that fans stay the course and
    support players. “Fans” who boo players are just
    ridiculous. I think the negative posters are a small
    minority of the BBN, thank God. Simply put, why don’t
    they stay away from games. That way, they don’t
    get aggravated and they don’t criticize everything
    that coaches and players do.