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  • The Puzzles Fitted Together for a Successful Season

    The Evolution of the UK offense was interestingly pieced together. Stoops said when Drew Barker went down is was incumbent then as a staff putting the existing players in the best position to win football games. The point was being physical, being able to run the ball, and showing toughness, both mental and physical.

    How The Pieces Fit

    Stephen Johnson: The first order of business was to develop a winning quarterback. So they plucked a young man, Stephen Johnson, to put the pieces together on the offensive side of the football. The quarterback had a rude awakening right out of the shoot against Alabama noted to be the best defense in the country. So he passed the first test in standing up to that level of physicality. Johnson was asked where he was this time last year? He said he and his mother were sitting around at Christmas time upset about the options I had for school. Thinking did I make the right decision going back to juco? He said he knew nothing about Kentucky and when he made people around him aware that he was going to UK. They said "Oh, that basketball school?" Johnson said there was a time that he thought it wasn't going to happen that he was going to get this opportunity. His other choice was Hawaii so what made up his mind that Kentucky was for him? He said - "As soon as I landed here it was a different atmosphere. Everybody that I spoke to, they were extremely kind to me. I felt like they really wanted me here." He said the point in the season he felt that this was really his job was after the Mississippi State game because he felt like they could do something here.

    Benny Snell: Here was a true freshman running back in the 2016 class that wasn't thought of as the best back in UK's recruiting class. Fast forward ten games, Freshman All-American, seven wins, 1,057 yards amassed carrying the football, and you have Benny Snell. "It's impressive to have a freshman to do that," Stoops said. He said having a running back position of that was very deep showed the best players are going to play. Snell said beigng named a freshman All-american is is a great honor and he's happy about it but he said he knows that he has several things to work on. Asked in his wildest imagination did he expect to achieve this accomplishment this year. "I didn't think it would come so soon," Snell said. "I know I had goals that I wanted to get to and I just had to get on the field to show it." He addressed the impact his accomplishment has on incoming freshmen. "I know it is a lift for the expectation of young guys coming into the program. I'm glad I could help give the fans, and other team to know that Kentucky's a competitive team and we are moving up. I let young players know that hard work pays off."

    Adrian Middleton: After Losing Regie Meant and having very little experience on the defensive line, what kind of impact did he have on the defense? "We needed Adrian," Stoops said. "He had to play well and he stepped up." D. J. Eliot said it was somewhat surprising to see Middleton step up and play as well as he did. "I feel like I'm one of the leaders on the defensive line," Middleton said. "I feel like (Naquez) Pringle is one of those guys, too." He was asked about the fire he showed toward his defensive linemen after giving up a couple of scores against Austin Peay? "I was mad at the team and myself at letting easy plays go for long yardage. I was trying to get it across to my teammates to play better. I felt I was a good influence but I could have done it a different way but Austin Peay didn't score after that." Did he meet his expectations for this season? "Yes I did especially in the Louisville game," Middleton said.

    We know that for a team to win and especially in football a lot of things have to come together with a bowl win you can see the Cats turn signals indicating a right turn on a road that has an incline.