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Stoops: "We’re a better team this year than we’ve ever been"

Mark Stoops made a special guest appearance on Kentucky Sports Radio during a break in Week 3 of his team’s fall football camp.

As always, Stoops was very candid and transparent to the show in his comments; although, he did not reveal any new information as to who the starting quarterback will be in 11 days. (Sorry.) He did, however, say, “I’ve thought about it, but I haven’t made a decision on it as far as when and how I’ll make that public.”

Stoops also raved about his team’s veteran leadership in a year that, for the first time, the best players are also its best leaders.

“We’ve been more consistent,” Stoops told the show. “I’ve been impressed; in particular, some of those guys on the offensive side of the ball with Benny, CJ and all the O linemen. All those guys are leaders and want to do the right thing all of the time, so they’ve been impressive. Same with the quarterbacks.”

Overall, he sees his best football team since he’s been at the University of Kentucky. But only time will tell if his best roster will translate to the Cats’ best record in his six seasons in Lexington.

Without a doubt, we’re a stronger football team this year,” Stoops said, proudly. “Whether we play better or whether we win those games, that’s why we play them. But we’re a better team this year than we’ve ever been. And as I say all the time, we should be. How it translates to wins and losses, that’s why we gotta go play because I can’t just say that.

“We have a great opportunity. I like this football team. But until you go play, you don’t know exactly what we have.”

11 days until we see it on the field.

Listen to Stoops’ entire interview:

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

32 Comments for Stoops: "We’re a better team this year than we’ve ever been"



  1. Cmart0907
    1:49 pm August 21, 2018 Permalink

    Less talking and prove it on the field!!



    • krautdog
      2:46 pm August 21, 2018 Permalink

      AMEN!



    • Booby Petrino
      3:44 pm August 21, 2018 Permalink

      Well since games haven’t started yet but people are asking questions, talking is all he can do for now, duh!



    • Cmart0907
      4:24 pm August 21, 2018 Permalink

      He been talking for 6 years now. We all get hyped up every year. And we all get let down every single time.



    • Cmart0907
      4:47 pm August 21, 2018 Permalink

      Not they team success. They hype around the team itself.



    • bailey000
      10:36 pm August 21, 2018 Permalink

      For 6 years he has told u exactly what we had. Stoops has NEVER overhyped a team. NEVER!!! This is the most positive he has ever spoken. His first 3 yrs he literally said we aren’t very talented. Yes I will concede that he has made bad decisions. This is the only place he has been the head coach. A coach improves over time as well. U guys kill me crapping on our team. Like Boopy said, “we have improved every year.” Does anyone remember how bad we were 6 yrs ago. This thing could never happen quickly. I don’t care who is coaching



    • cats646
      4:35 pm August 21, 2018 Permalink

      We’ve improved every year. Why are you let down?



    • CatstopWontstop
      5:12 pm August 21, 2018 Permalink

      Cats646 Kentucky has improved slightly while the rest of the SEC East (outside of Georgia) has dropped dramatically. Kentucky has made it to bowl games the last two years on the backs of beating sub-.500 competition. Only 4 wins (2016 Louisville, 2017 South Carolina, 2017 Southern Miss, and 2017 Missouri) ended their season with a winning record. Only one of those teams (2016 Louisville) was ranked. Kentucky should have beaten Florida twice since Stoops has been here but 3 busted coverage’s (one in 2015 on the expiring clock play and two in last years game when a receiver was TWICE left uncovered on plays that led to TD late in the game on 3rd and 4th downs) cost them.

      I’m with Cmart0907, show me on the field.



    • Cmart0907
      7:37 pm August 21, 2018 Permalink

      Thank you @Catstop. Someone understands.



    • Booby Petrino
      8:12 pm August 21, 2018 Permalink

      So you say we’ve improved slightly… Well that’s improvement! We can’t control that the other SEC teams have declined. We’ve improved every year, it’s that simple. Obviously not as much as you want us to improve. I hope we do better as well, but Stoops has slowly pulled us out of the hole that Joker left us in.



    • Cmart0907
      8:53 pm August 21, 2018 Permalink

      I agree everything you’re saying. The coaching staff is doing a helluva job recruiting. All these 4 stars and talent just isn’t translating to wins. Just don’t hype the fan base up every year acting like we can win 8 and 9 games. Like this is EVERY year.



    • cats646
      8:14 am August 22, 2018 Permalink

      But we can win 8 or 9 games!! We were literally two plays from 9 last year. And we’re better this year!! Stoops is a good coach. Is he great? No. Not yet. Go Cats!!!!



    • Cmart0907
      9:21 am August 22, 2018 Permalink

      Stoops is an Ok coach. Not good in my opinion. Just games we should’ve won. And it narrows down to his coaching decision that made us lose the game. All the conservative play calling , letting the foot off the gas , giving Florida enough time to make a come back. It’s all on the coaches to make sure none of that happens. And it continues to happen. Not once , not twice, multiple times. When does he figure out you gotta coach to win and not coach to lose?



    • chardun20
      9:23 am August 22, 2018 Permalink

      @cats646, it doesn’t matter if we win 8, 9, or 10 games it won’t be good enough, they just find something else to complain about.



    • chardun20
      9:34 am August 22, 2018 Permalink

      @Cmart0907 Which one is it, keep your foot on the gas and give the ball back to Florida to fast or play conservative and run clock leaving Florida less time? UK plays slow and conservative, running the a lot to run the clock to try to protect the defense. Coach Stoops believes if the offense scores to fast, it creates too many plays for the defense and the defense wears down. My belief is we play fast and throw it around score as many points as we can, maybe the defense gets couple of stops, but I’m not the coach.



  2. Irish son
    3:59 pm August 21, 2018 Permalink

    I hope the coaching is better as well



    • NUM1UKFANFROMTHEVILLE
      7:52 pm August 21, 2018 Permalink

      Exactly my thoughts. In game coaching has been a D+ at best. And no more of that “he’s a new HC” excuse. This is YR 6! No more bad execution/personnel/poor time management/bad play calling problems. Execute on all phases and we should win 8+ with a chance in every game. 11days away! Go Cats!



  3. ukwildcat1991
    11:56 pm August 21, 2018 Permalink

    At the end of the day, the football team has improved every year and this year will be the same, even if we do manage 7 wins. But on the contrary, next year I don’t think we will be that good. Literally, everyone is leaving, even Benny. So I hope stoops is developing some good players that don’t play much cause next year won’t be the case where we improve every year. With that being said, let’s just go use on this year and try to enjoy it. Have your mind on a 6 or 7 win season cause that’s what’s probably going to happen. If we win more, great, they exceeded our expectations. To all the fans who act like we should be a power house stop dreaming and just accept the fact that you are a Kentucky fan that historically, isn’t that great at football. Try to enjoy it. That is all



    • mashburnfan1
      1:14 am August 22, 2018 Permalink

      To be good in the SEC you must have quality depth, we are finally at that stage. This is Kentucky, not Bama, ND, OU, OSU etc that is known for football so getting quality players to come here takes time. Getting enough of those quality players to give us depth really takes time. Any Coach UK could have hired would be lucky to have us in this position is this amount of time, the Joke left a mess. Stoops and staff have done a great job of getting kids to look at and come to UK, some of these kids probably did not know UK existed 5-7 years ago. If Barker had developed into what he was supposed to be we would challenge for the SEC this year. Only unknown is QB spot, if Wilson { I hope he gets the starts} has a good to great year we will be in the hunt with UGA for the East.



    • bailey000
      11:26 am August 22, 2018 Permalink

      Notre Dame is the most overrated team in sports, every year. I loved “Rudy” as much as the next guy, but come on. Let it go ND sux



    • jimmer
      7:40 am August 22, 2018 Permalink

      1. Literally is way over used word. 2. Especially when it’s not true. Literally everyone is NOT leaving.



    • bigbluebanana
      8:49 am August 22, 2018 Permalink

      God! Thank you for this…literally is getting beat into the ground. Like you said, literally everyone is NOT leaving.



  4. AllBall
    3:59 am August 22, 2018 Permalink

    Stoops just handed ammo to his critics if we struggle. A comment like this tells me coaching will play an even bigger role determining wins/losses.



  5. USMC5150
    7:13 am August 22, 2018 Permalink

    I hope Stoops and crew prove all you haters wrong! Some people on here sound like they are truly miserable people who only draw happiness from complaining. I betting on this teams heart matching with their talent this year!



  6. VMI1957
    7:30 am August 22, 2018 Permalink

    UK will be sporting a dandy 3-9 record this year….maybe, just maybe a 4-8 one if a real QB shows up.



  7. Trevathan
    7:55 am August 22, 2018 Permalink

    I wish I didn’t love our football team so much. Then my undeniable hatred of our basketball-spoiled fanbase could easily translate into me cheering for a different team and never having to listen to them again.



  8. Rod Crandler
    8:53 am August 22, 2018 Permalink

    I guess I’m hopeful again. Surely Lucy won’t pull that football out from under me again will she?



  9. Alleykat16
    9:16 am August 22, 2018 Permalink

    In the SEC without top recruits its hard to win 8 or 9 games a year. Now if we continue to win 7 or 8 games I believe we can start getting some 5 * recruits and then we can move up to 8 or 9 games a year as long as we keep the coaching staff together. If we start having new coaches every year its hard to keep a winning program going with coaches being plucked for bigger name schools. But I’m ready to see how this team does, very excited



    • CombatMedic_98
      3:16 pm August 22, 2018 Permalink

      Listen up…the Stoops is the best Coach UK has had since Bear Bryant…he has brought in more talent than any other and a consistent WINNING record and improving every season. It takes about 6-8 years to develop a pipeline and staff that has the buy in from the payers, fans, and the players!!! We are just getting started. Calm down, be patient, we have the right folks in place now. Watch how UK football sets the SEC on fire ? this season!!! #GETUP



  10. dismore
    9:46 am August 22, 2018 Permalink

    You do realize AL and GA have the most 5* recruits. They average signing about 3-4 per year. 5* recruits are NOT what programs are built on. Sure every once in a while there’s a game changing 5* recruit but programs are built on 4* and quality 3* players and development.



    • bailey000
      11:29 am August 22, 2018 Permalink

      Why don’t more people realize this? The NFL is mostly 3 star guys. Player development is key.