LEXINGTON, Ky. — Mark Stoops’ squad has a chance to finish over .500 in the SEC this season, a mark the program hasn’t achieved since 1977.
Stoops, who hasn’t reached a bowl game in his three prior years, said the success has been brewing over the last few seasons. Here’s what he said Wednesday afternoon on his SEC Teleconference.
“I think it says a lot about our team and the character our players have but I think it goes back a long way,” Stoops said of the newfound success. “I don’t think any one thing changed in the past five or six weeks. I think part of this turnaround has been going on for a long time.”
“We’ll have another opportunity this week but I have been proud of the growth we’ve made,” Stoops said. “We’re going to challenge them to continue to push forward.”
More highlights from what Stoops said Wednesday:
- The Wildcats have adopted a run-first mentality, but Stoops is pleased with how Kentucky’s wide receivers have adapted to the ground-heavy offense: “I think something we talk about all the time is being selfless, and that’s not always the easiest trait to get accomplished within a football team because you have some very competitive guys and guys that want to make plays for their team,” Stoops said. “And we have some very talented wide receivers and they’ve been called upon to do quite a bit of blocking.”
- Kentucky beat Missouri 35-21 last week, and Stoops was asked about any advice he gave to first-year coach Barry Odom: “We were at the stadium there very early and saw him out there on the field and went and sat and visited with him for a little bit because I can feel his pain as far as going through tough times,” Stoops said. “We’ve all been there as a coach and we’ve been there before and are probably going to be there again some time in the future.”
- The Wildcats are preparing to face Georgia quarterback Jacob Eason. Stoops was asked if there’s a certain way the Wildcats can go after the freshman quarterback: “Well, I don’t know if there’s any one area that you can try to exploit,” Stoops said. “I think he’s like all quarterbacks, every rep they see, every snap they take in a league like this, they’re getting better and better. And he’s a very talented guy.”