LEXINGTON, Ky. — A frustrated Mark Stoops sat down for an early September press conference after his team blew a 25-point lead against Southern Miss, a win Kentucky had all but sealed until a fourth-quarter collapse.
“We’re beyond dealing with fragile mentalities,” he said.
But that was seven weeks ago.
Stoops spoke in the same setting Monday, his message a complete reversal after Kentucky found a way to win Saturday against Mississippi State.
“I feel like that we’re over the hump there,” Stoops said, referencing the fragility issue he harped on in the past. “That’s for sure.”
The coach said his stance wouldn’t have been swayed if Austin MacGinnis’ kick would’ve fell short.
Kentucky stands alone in second place in the SEC East. A victory against Missouri, winless in the SEC, would give Kentucky its first three-game conference win streak since 1999.
“It’s most important and very gratifying when you see the players buying in and seeing it and understanding it and getting it,” Stoops said. “That’s what you coach for, to see their smiles and their growth and the way they’re changing.”
Kentucky beat Missouri, 21-13, a year ago in Lexington.