After Kentucky’s first ten-win season in 41 years, the Wildcats are not focused on what was lost, but the program’s potential to take even greater steps forward in 2019.
“This ball club can be as good, if not better than last year’s team,” Kash Daniel said at SEC Media Days. “Just because we lose a lot of talented guys, doesn’t mean there’s not a lot of talented guys on the back end that’s gonna step up.
“Coach Stoops is not going to offer people to sit on the bench, get free gear and just walk around campus. He’s not doing that. He’s recruiting players right now to come in and take my job. He’s recruiting players to take over for Josh Allen, to take over for Benny Snell. That’s what building a program is. That’s what Coach Stoops is doing here. He’s not just building a two or three-year team. This is now a program where we can reload instead of rebuild.”
Mark Stoops laid the foundation last year. Even though many may see it as a fluke, Daniel believes the winning mindset has been established in Kentucky’s locker room.
“The toughness and the resilience you see in this program, it’s not by a habit of luck. It’s by a habit of work you put in each and everyday to get the best possible results out there on the field.”
After losing Josh Allen and Benny Snell, most media prognosticators in Hoover will pick Kentucky to finish near the bottom of the SEC East. Stoops tries not to pay attention to the “disrespect,” but he can’t help but get a little fired up when asked about the lack of preseason praise.
“You guys are really trying to get me going. I think you all know how my blood boils,” he laughed. “Again, what we have to focus on, and that’s the truth, is what are we doing? What are we doing to put ourselves in a position to win? These players know we lost great players. Our players know how to put themselves in position to win a bunch of games. We want more. We expect more. What the media or anybody else does, I can’t control that, so we’re worried about ourselves.”
Logan Stenberg has a message for those who don’t believe Kentucky can continue performing at a high level in the SEC.
“Give us another look. If not, get ready, because we’re going to take you on another ride this year. You can predict whatever you want, but we’re going to be a hell of a football team this year.”
Lynn Bowden’s expectations for this year’s team are no different than the All-SEC offensive guard’s.
“People tend to overlook the players we have. We have some good players. They may be young, but there’s no excuse for us to take a step back. I think the only way we’re going to go is forward. It’s going to be a great season.”