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No more catchphrases, turn the corner already

stoops

Turn the program around”, “change the course”, “rebuilding processare prevalent mottos repeatedly mentioned by Mark Stoops’ first three recruiting classes. While encouraging at the time, I’ve grown tired of promising clichés. I’d rather listen to the narcissistic King-like phrase “taking my talents to” than hearing the above mentioned for the thousandth time. Don’t panic, I’ve not jumped out of the notorious Bill Curry Canoe.  But, for Kentucky to actually turn the corner, 2016 has to be the last class to justifiably proclaim desperate declarations.

The 2013 class was resourcefully assembled as Vince Marrow was deployed to Ohio and vital in-state players decided to stayed home. 2014 was a flashy class highlighted by a hot-shot quarterback; a coveted, mammoth defensive lineman, and a plethora of skill players that led to message board overload and social media proclamations of grandeur. On my first Signing Day Show I also joined in the praise borage. Contrary to popular belief, 2015 was actually Mark Stoops’ best work to date as necessity replaced pizazz, and substance trumped probable. At a minimum, the current rookie class will produce two immediate starters as well as upgraded back-ups. De-recruitment shouldn’t be a roadblock to development as it seemed to hamstring some of its predecessors. De-recruiting is a term used for humbling or providing a reality check to highly touted stars once on campus. 2016 is shaping up to be not only the best class in program history, but also the grand finale of a four year recruiting cycle. Given its start-point, I consider that a successful development.  With committed talent, on the field success is non-negotiable. The question is, what is the definition of success? 

Recently, I asked my crack college football research panel to provide their definition of a successful 2015 season. Here are some of their responses:

— More filled seats and student attendance.

— Four SEC wins, beat Louisville or Tennessee and a bowl game.

— No less than six wins, a bowl game is a must.

— 7-4 or better.

— Six wins and a bowl game, beat the Ville is a must.

— .500 conference record, 4-0 in non-conference all while beating beatable opponents.

— Beating Louisiana Lafayette, young roster and expectation will change weekly.

— UK needs a superhero to surface.  1 QB, 1 offense.  Passiveness does not earn bowl games. Go all in or go home.

With eight home games and a quarterback deficient schedule, UK should win 6 games. However, I would define that as an accomplishment, not necessarily a successful season. 6-6 should be a minimum goal with the secondary purpose being to keep the 2016 class in-tact while adding equally talented players on the first Wednesday in February or National Signing Day. Being a four decade UK Football fan, I tend to lean toward the Process more than immediate gratification. Patience is an inherited virtue. However, the time for the process to yield fruit is upon us. One (6-6) without the other (in-tact 2016 class) would lead to a return cycle of “turning the program around”. That ship has sailed. However, due to inherited roster woes, I’m also convinced that Mark Stoops’ three year rebuilding project will actually require four. I truly believe that Mark Stoops and his staff are the right coaches at the right time to make a difference. The more I study program history the more I’m convinced that if this leadership collection cannot turn it around I’m not so sure that it can ever be done. Thus, the 2016 class is a critical, final building block in UK’s program construction project.

The 2015 schedule is an important ledger, but another vital list is below. The 2016 class will be the first group to benefit from tangible facility upgrades. No more graphs. No more drawings or pictures. Cranes and bulldozers will be replaced by over-sized hot tubs and an in-center barber shop. SEC opponents have taken notice.  LSU’s Senior Associate Athletic Director, Eddie Nunez, recently said in an interview with the Advocate, “When you have teams like Kentucky and Vanderbilt building new facilities and passing you up, you have to enhance”. Quite the back handed compliment. In no point in program history has the resources been so plentiful. Getting to this point has been a painful journey. The university has stepped up and cashed in its full support. If the stadium is half-full during an eight home game slate that includes the university’s first Thursday SEC game (Auburn), a beatable Florida team, two historical rivals (Louisville and Tennessee), plus a new found grudge match in EKU, well the blame can only lie in Commonwealth Stadium newly upgraded bathroom mirrors. I’ve often argued the age old chicken and egg theory with intelligent, insightful media members. Finally, the question has been answered. The chicken has laid the egg. The egg has given birth to a chicken.  No more excuses. It’s time.

2016 COMMITTED PLAYERS

DEFENSIVE LINE (3)

DE Jaylin Bannerman 6’5 220 Pickerington, Ohio

DT Ja’Quize Cross 6’4 305 New Market, Alabama

DT Kordell Looney 6’5 285 Springfield, Ohio

DEFENSIVE BACK (3)

Tobias Gilliam 6’0 185 Huber Heights, Ohio

Jordan Griffin 6’1 173 Jonesboro, Georgia

Devante Robinson 6’1 175 Lexington, Kentucky

LINEBACKER (1)

Roland Walker 6’3 225 Trotwood, Ohio

ATHLETE (1)

Zy’Aire Hughes 6’1 180 Paducah, Kentucky

QUARTERBACK (1)

Gunnar Hoak 6’4 195 Dublin, Ohio

RUNNING BACK (2)

Asim Rose 6’1 195 Garfield Heights, Ohio

Benny Snell 5’11 215 Westerville, Ohio

OFFENSIVE LINE (3)

Luke Fortner 6’5 285 Sylvania, Ohio

Drake Jackson 6’2 307 Versailles, Kentucky

Landon Young 6’7 300 Lexington, Kentucky

RECIEVER (2)

Dakota Holtzclaw 6’7 217 Worthington, Ohio

Kayaune Ross 6’5 220 Lakota, Ohio

TIGHT END (1)

Justin Rigg 6’6 240 Springboro, Ohio

KICKER (1)

Grant McKinniss 6’1 210 Findlay, Ohio

Article written by Freddie Maggard

Former University of Kentucky Quarterback and Andy Griffith Fan Club President

14 Comments for No more catchphrases, turn the corner already



  1. RICK
    4:14 pm June 26, 2015 Permalink

    So Freddie are you saying 6 and 6 is ok this year, didn’t quite know if that would be a good season in your thoughts after reading this or do you expect more. I’ll take 6 wins and be happy as heck this year.



  2. Real True Blue Cat
    4:22 pm June 26, 2015 Permalink

    I’m very disappointed in the Thursday night game. I am three hours away and probably can’t make it. Lots of our ticket holders come from across the state and can’t make a work week game. Much better for a city school.



  3. Real True Blue Cat
    4:23 pm June 26, 2015 Permalink

    I’ll also be very happy with a 6 wins including one over UL.



  4. CatsFanFrankfort
    4:29 pm June 26, 2015 Permalink

    Like the post; agree with the mentality for sure. I hate to nitpick, and I understand what you were going for, but why would the problem be found in the newly upgraded mirrors of Commonwealth Stadium? They’re the ones who actually would have showed up to the game to even see themselves in the mirrors! Its the other fans who have the problem!



  5. UKfanNKY
    4:49 pm June 26, 2015 Permalink

    REAL TRUE BLUE CAT…………….Well your name say’s it ALL and if that’s the case you will be there Thursday night! Come on Man take a half day Thursday and a day off Friday! Shoot Friday you can go to Keeneland and play the ponies and celebrate a HUGE KY WIN over Auburn! GO CATS!!!



  6. Hermes
    5:03 pm June 26, 2015 Permalink

    Love your posts…agree generally with the substance of your post…recommend spell check and/or proofreading in future.



  7. Jaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyy
    5:42 pm June 26, 2015 Permalink


  8. Buffalo Matt Jones
    6:08 pm June 26, 2015 Permalink

    IM curious to hear some updates on eli brown



  9. d wayne
    7:41 pm June 26, 2015 Permalink

    I have always been always been a big uk fan and yes we are getting better player than ever before but jaccob tammy said a few years back uk has to play up to sec standards the rest of the sec is not going to play down to uk standards (most of the last 40 years) nor is the rest of the sec resting but going out and getting good players also unfortunately we are not in the top 4,5,or 6 in the league we do have a long ways to go yet and it is going to take time you need 85 plus GOOD players to compete in the sec and we are not there just YET but we need to cheer stomp and yell as loud as we can can we get there maybe only time will tell. GO BIG BLUE



    • Dude
      9:43 pm June 26, 2015 Permalink

      “jacob tammy”? lol

      Here’s a hint. Use these –> . <–

      That way, you don't sound like a babbling moron.

      Good grief.



  10. Narcissus Farcissus
    12:28 am June 27, 2015 Permalink

    The illogical, barber shop mentality concerning “The Decision” is a classic example of emotion overtaking reason. For years I’ve had to listen to countless sports fans drone on and on about some perceived slight from Lebron James for a simple, everyday business decision. Hundreds of professional athletes find themselves free agents after the conclusion of a playing contract. Nearly all of these players attempt use this as an opportunity to cash in on demand for their “talents” and/or to land on a more competitive team. Lebron chose to make a public announcement in the form of a TV special to share his decision. People can call him a narcissist if they wish but in so doing they only reveal their ignorance, perhaps willful, on the subject. Lost in the shuffle of this irrational anger is the fact that the show raised six million dollars dispersed among multiple charities. SIX MILLION DOLLARS!! If anything really nails down the jerk title for Lebron surely it was this thoughtless attack on the accounting departments of said charities. Those poor clerks. Fingers crippled by endless pounding on adding machines. Then the poor boards of directors that had to agonize over how to spend the money. And of course at the bottom of the hill were the poor folks whose schedules were forced to change to include time for new activities or to pick up needed items that had suddenly become available. I know, I know, I’m missing the point. How could this clown make the announcement in TV?! Whoever heard of such a thing? I mean outside of the hundreds of 17 and 18 year olds who do the same every single year. I suppose one certainly could say the wording of the decision was arrogant. I mean seriously, how could one of the best basketball players in the history of the world possibly consider himself talented? The audacity! I guess maybe he shouldn’t have gone on and on about it though. You know, in that ONE sentence. The truth is James should have listened to the countless commentators and millions of fans who said it was a bad idea leading up to the program. On second thought those were crickets I heard. How could I confuse them with indignant people? I guess one can find solace in that while the show was a ratings bonanza for ESPN it was at least somewhat dampered by the tens of millions of those indignant folks…er… crickets…who refused to watch. Maybe I should reconsider my position though. If anyone can spot a narcissist it’s a quarterback.



  11. Chrush
    8:10 am June 27, 2015 Permalink

    Freddie, this is NOT UK’s first Thursday night game. I remember beating South Carolina under Bill Curry, and a Tim Couch close win over Mississippi State on or around Halloween. It’s great exposure, since it’s the only game on.



  12. Freddie
    11:20 am June 27, 2015 Permalink

    University’s first Thursday, CWS game. Thanks for reading.