Mark Stoops made his preseason appearance on Kentucky Sports Radio this morning to close out his talking season before the real season begins next week. He was great on the show, as he always is, in giving one last update after fall camp.
Below you’ll find some of the notes and quotes from the 45-minute interview. The audio will be embedded at the bottom once it’s available.
He pushed the players harder than ever before this offseason.
“Our players, we wanted to push them more. We want to push them harder physically. We had a much hard winter. The guys lifted harder. We had a harder fourth quarter program where we run them and change directions in the winter. Harder spring practices. The guys trained harder in the summer. And it worked. To this point it has worked.”
Through fancy technology I’ll never understand, Stoops said numbers show the team worked 31 percent harder this offseason than last.
“I told the players from Day 1 and they’ve done it — I put my foot on the gas and we’re coming. Come hell or high water, we’re going hard.”
The future is very bright.
He pointed out that, by having to play young guys the last couple of years, there is a lot of experience back and they’re still not seniors.
“Our junior and sophomore class is really, really good.”
Landon Young, Benny Snell, T.J. Carter and Kash Daniel will play as true freshmen.
Stoops singled out all four of those guys as freshmen who performed in camp and will definitely be used this season. No redshirts for those guys.
Drew Barker will be used in the run.
“You have to,” Stoops said. “He’s a throwing quarterback. He’s a pocket passer. He’s making good decisions. But there will always be some in the run game.”
He would not comment on whether or not Stephen Johnson will be used, though. Can’t show his cards before kickoff.
Courney Miggins is an SEC defensive lineman.
“He’s a good-looking player,” Stoops said of his senior defensive tackle. He’s athletic, he’s tall, and he’s got the size you’re looking for and I really have high expectations for him.”
Denzil Ware and Josh Allen received some praise in the pass rush.
The secondary looks good but they have to go out there and do it.
“They have the potential to be stars in this league.”
He wanted Eddie Gran as his OC from the beginning.
Stoops and Gran coached together at Florida State and lived in the same neighborhood in Tallahassee. When Stoops took the job at UK, he wanted Gran as his offensive coordinator, but Gran had never been an OC, while Neal Brown had experience and ties to Kentucky.
“I really liked the decision I made early on, but Eddie was a guy from Day 1 that I always wanted to have,” Stoops said. “Then he goes to Cincinnati and he is an offensive coordinator and he lights it up and does phenomenal… He’s absolutely at the top of the chart in the last three years of any offensive coordinator.”
He’s tired of being close.
“They’re very close and they’ve worked extremely hard. They want to deliver for these folks right here, believe me. They want to deliver for the fan base. I want to deliver for the fan base. I promise you, we care. These players care and they know they get great support in this state and this community, and like I said earlier, we’re tired of being close. The players are tired of being close and they want to do everything they can to get you the victories we all deserve.”
Hear it all for yourself in Hour 2 of the podcast: