In Mark Stoops’ three years at Kentucky, he hasn’t taken Kentucky to a bowl game, yet it would be unfair to say the program hasn’t changed for the better. There’s more depth on the roster, the facilities have improved and most importantly, the atmosphere around the program is more positive.
“It’s easy to change the climate. It’s difficult to change the culture, and I’m proud of the culture change,” he said. “I know we’re creating a positive winning culture within our program. The results will happen. I’m confident. I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t believe it. ”
There are some areas where change is more noticeable than others. The biggest difference lies with the depth in the secondary. He was at a lost for words when trying to describe the depth he was left with, but his dumbfounded facial expression said enough.
Now the secondary is one of the strongest units on the team. “I know what I’m look at when I look at defensive backs,” Stoops said. “I feel like we have some superstars in the making.”
He’s confident in his defensive backs, and he’s confident in his quarterback. This year he doesn’t have to deal with a quarterback competition going into fall camp. Drew Barker’s performance on and off the field has put him “at ease.”
“He’ll get the keys to the car and I’m excited to watch him go, because I know this is his time. I know he’s ready to play.”
It hasn’t been easy in Mark Stoops’ first three years, but his players and coaching staff have learned lessons form their losses. Now it’s a just a matter of producing wins.
“If anybody thought you were going to walk into the Kentucky job three years ago and hit a steady climb, you’re crazy.” Stoops said, “We’ve been very close. We’re tired of being close.”