As expected, Mark Stoops was asked about the Florida State job opening following Willie Taggart’s firing yesterday. Also as expected, he told reporters he is only worried about Tennessee, Kentucky’s next opponent, right now.
“It’s something that you don’t really want to address in season,” Stoops said of speculation he is a candidate for the job. “There’s, you know — I guess it’s better than the alternative. For us, for myself, it’s 100% concentration on Tennessee. That’s all I want. That’s all I want our team to focus on. That’s all you can do.
“I guess with success, you’re going to have some of that. For me, sitting around here, this is six and a half years. I sit there listening to Coach Cal and every year, he’s going to the NBA right? So you just dismiss it and concentrate on the things you can control and not going to get into speculation. I’m going to talk about the University of Kentucky and Tennessee.”
Later in the press conference, Stoops said he doesn’t feel the need to address the issue with his players.
“No need to address that. Our players know where my heart’s at and where my focus is. I can promise you, they’ll know. We’ll be ready to play this week and be ready to go. There’s no denying that. There’s no need to. We’ll just continue to do what we’re doing.”
Good answer, but that won’t do anything to stop the rumor mill from churning. Where the rumor mill could have the greatest impact is on the recruiting front. Stoops is well aware of its significance, yet he’s not concerned about any long-term consequences.
“It probably affects that a little bit more in that just what goes on in this world and social media. I don’t mean to be so old that I can’t understand it, but it’s just a little absurd how fast things go. People like to get out in front of their skis really far in that world. It just needs to be addressed, but nothing we can’t handle. I think that’s a fair assessment in recruiting, more so than anything else, because I can promise you the guys in our building, they’re not going to worry about anything except for getting ready for Tennessee.”
The press conference concluded after Stoops was asked what’s important to him when evaluating where he wants to spend the rest of his life coaching.
“That’s a pretty deep question,” he said. “There’s a lot of things that factor into that. We don’t have enough time for me to dive into all of that right now, but certainly support, quality of life, what you’re doing. There’s things that are important to me that what people perceive as an easier job or a better job — we always as coaches have a great perspective with my family of looking at things and doing what’s right for you and your family.”