With college football season coming up on all of us in a hurry, the staff over at Gridiron Now put up a cool piece on what SEC-East coaches are saying about the other teams in the conference. Keeping the coaches anonymous is a great way to get honest answers out of guys who usually can’t say how they actually feel about their opponents. Here’s what some of the SEC-East coaches had to say about the Kentucky Wildcats:
Kentucky will be better, much improved,” one coach said. “They will knock a knot on somebody’s head unexpectedly. They’re very well-coached. They have come close in some games and won some games people didn’t expect the last two years.
Those are words that every UK football fan wants to hear. Positive remarks about the direction of the program when there were times even in the Stoops era that the direction had plateaued. There were some kind words about the work Stoops had done with this program as well.
At some point in time, Mark Stoops will get it hitting on all cylinders. Is that good enough to say he will do anything other than go to a bowl and win a bowl game? No. But they’ve got better players, better team speed on offense and defense.
However, not all the comments were as uplifting, as to be expected when you aren’t one of the best teams in the nation every year. One coach had this to say about the tempo of the offense that the Cats have been running the past few seasons.
Kentucky plays “tough, hard-nosed defense, but I think the up-tempo, no-huddle offense they run has put a lot of stress on their defense, which masks the fact you don’t realize how improved they are on defense.
While the comments on the strengths of the defense are definitely welcomed by the Big Blue Nation, the take on the offense is one I don’t think I’ve heard worded that way, so for sure a different way to look at some of the team’s struggles late in the past two seasons.
Mark Stoops’ squad also got a mention in Florida’s section as well, saying that the Gators “should have lost to Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Kentucky last year.” I’m not sure that really speaks positively of Kentucky, as they did drop a very winnable game at home, but being recognized by other coaches as having the talent to knock off SEC opponents is not something to ignore.
The honesty definitely came out about some of Kentucky’s SEC-East foes as a few coaches did not hold back in their evaluation of this year’s teams. One coach was quoted as saying “I don’t think Georgia will be as good as people think,” and continued with “I don’t know how you can win with a freshman quarterback (Jacob Eason) and a first-year head coach (Kirby Smart).” And another coach was quite frank about Geoff Collins, the defensive co-ordinator down in Gainesville, “Geoff is overrated,” the coach said. “He’s overrated as a tactician. He’s 11 to 14 among SEC defensive coordinators. He’s not in the top 10, I don’t think.”
While in an oddly-satisfying way, it is good to hear negative things about other teams in the SEC, outside of Kentucky, I think all of Big Blue Nation would have preferred to hear more positive thoughts about the Cats. If you want to read up on all of the positive and negative comments about every team in the SEC-East, you can read the full article here.