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  • How Has Mark Stoops Changed from Years Past at UK

    By: LONNY DEMAREE

    Observing Stoops in various settings this year we see a change in the coach’s demeanor.
    Starting after the spring game with the feeling "if we can just get through this game for the entertainment for the public without injury I’m relieved." He got his wish.

    Then came the Governor’s Cup Luncheon at the Frankfort country Club when he faced the local media for the fifth year in that setting. You could observe that at-ease feeling he conveyed. He joked meanwhile disseminating and overview of his feelings for his 2017 addition. At one point this writer directed a question pertaining to who’s going be responsible for helping him abide by the rule change. “You didn’t have to bring that up Lonny,” Stoops joked drawing laughter for the thong of media.

    Then there was SEC Media Days in Hoover, (Birmingham) Alabama. When on the main podium he was ae ease in handling the question and answer portion. Of course the print media wasn’t impressed enough to see Kentucky in a different light. He has since expressed the fact of it’s not where you start, It’s where you finish.

    At the Louisville kickoff luncheon the coach referred back to Hoover when he addressed his quarterback’s 2016 performance and if he was surprised? We were very proud of Stephen,” Stoops said. I don’t want to use the word “surprised,” but I would like to use the word “pleased” with his progress. He got thrown into the fire. Thrown into the fire in the swamp when Drew Barker got hurt. Even though Johnson made plays and won games Stoops expects Johnson to get better “and I know he will because he’s got the right attitude.”

    A combination of all the events we attended Stoops show a level of confidence not preciously exhibited since coming to Lexington. At the kickoff luncheon in the Woodford Reserve Room yesterday in Kroger Field Stoops again at ease and ready for some football. All the talking is over and it time to strap it up. But wanted the Cat fans to go away understanding that there is work to do before the opening whistle at Hattiesburg, Mississippi against the Southern Miss Golden Eagles. He said he feels good because is no longer held hostage. Meaning he has the depth where his has had to in the past had to play freshman that by all rights should be red- shirted.

    Stoops said he is looking to the fan base and their attitude. He wants to see how they get behind this team when they are down two-touchdowns in the fourth quarter. This is because he his team showed him last season that in said situations they had no quit in them. He gave the high and low points of where his team is right now, mostly high. He said they have to cut their turnovers in half.

    What is the one sentence we haven’t hear as opposed his previous years? We haven’t ‘we need to get bigger, stronger, and faster’ in order to win football games. This shows his confidence in his team to have what it takes to be in every game. The only place he’s mentioned depth is his running backs which he knows deep down that could be an outstanding position on the team. He emphasized that because he said he first day he was introduced to the fan base as their new head coach, when many of the fans were still holding on to the “air raid,” he wants to turn the football. Sure he would shoot for 50/50 run pass. It’s run the ball effectively while drawing the defense in, play/action and throw over the top of them. With Benny (Snell) –and – the – Jets Stoops will finally be able to play his game.
    Confidence is contagious coming from the coach down to the players. The game of football more than any other team sport can’t be played without confidence.
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