Stoops Excited To Finally Be Practicing
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Mark Stoops says he’s glad to be off the so-called banquet circuit and that it’s now time to get down to what he was really hired to do, coach football at the University of Kentucky. Stoops, defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot, and offensive coordinator Neal Brown took turns answering questions during media day at Commonwealth Stadium, which immediately preceded the opening of fall camp.
Stoops and his staff begin running players through the necessary drills and practices to get them ready to take on Western Kentucky University in the season opener. He inherits a team that won just two games last season but Stoops says he won’t settle for anything less than superior effort from here on out.
"We're going to build this program brick by brick and we have to lay the foundation. We have to do our work each and every day. There's no shortcuts. I've said that from day one. We want to go to work everyday and give an honest day's work and we expect our players to do the same thing. Just lay the foundation and get better. That's all we can control."
Among the burning questions that’ll have to be answered in camp is which quarterback will earn the starting assignment…Max Smith, Patrick Towles or Jalen Whitlow? Offensive coordinator Neal Brown says all three have considerable abilities and talents.
“Maxwell, I think he has the potential to be really accurate with the football and he’s been productive when healthy…now he hasn’t been healthy a whole lot, which is an issue. When you talk about Patrick, he’s got a strong arm. He’s a big kid that runs better than most people think, and he’s got a big time arm talent. When you talk about Jalen, he’s a playmaker…one of the better athletes we have on our football team…and he makes plays.”
Brown says all three will be given an opportunity to earn the starting job.
Meanwhile, Stoops says he loves that fans are excited about the upcoming season and he wouldn’t want to do anything to tamp down that enthusiasm, but he says hard work and execution will be the only way to sustain a program trying to find its way back to respectability in the Southeastern Conference.
“You know I think our players, again, they feel that. They feel the positive energy. They know there’s a lot of people that have great interest in what they’re doing. They feel the support throughout the state, and they’re excited. They want to go out and produce for the people of this state, for themselves, and for this university so we can have a lot of pride in what we’re doing.”
The Wildcats went 2 and 10 last year. They open the season August 31st against Western Kentucky University at LP Field in Nashville.