Mark Stoops: “It’s very hard to get something turned when it’s toxic and negative.”


When Kentucky struggled to beat New Mexico State after having already lost to Southern Mississippi and being thrashed by Florida, the Big Blue Nation was not happy.

Rumors about coach Mark Stoops’ program were rampant. Fans were unhappy with the coach and the team’s effort.

But now UK is 3-3 after a 20-13 win over Vanderbilt Saturday. Could it be that the Cats took on an attitude “of us against the world” to rally?

“I think part of that, part of that. I told them in the locker room, after the Southern Mississippi game, first thing I told them, I grabbed them up, I wanted to see the whites of their eyes, and I told them to stay the course. I said, ‘Every son of a gun outside of this room right here will be attacking you and me. So put your head down, do your job, and go to work. Because there’s nowhere to run and there’s nowhere to hide. You either man up and get better or you cave,'” Stoops said after Saturday’s win.

“And we’re still working, you know that, but nobody’s been hesitant, it’s about getting back and getting to work. We knew we had a good football team. We’re not a great team, but we’re a work in progress and we’re getting better and better. And I love their attitude and I love the way they work and so we do need everybody back on board.

“And I’ve said that — I’ll tell you this: It’s very hard to get something turned when it’s toxic and negative. And the criticism, we deserve it sometimes. I sat here and have taken it and will. When you deserve to be criticized, you take it like a man and move on. But the toxic, negative stuff, very hard to turn a program when people turn that way, and turn on the kids and turn on the players.

“Coaches deserve to be criticized. That’s our job, it’s part of our job, but the players and getting toxic and negative and being all that, that’s not going to help get this program to where we want it to go. I promise you.”


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  1. Just beat some heavyweight sec teams .

  2. Don’t believe I’d be biting the hand that feeds you Coach. The fans were here long before you and will still be here long after you’re gone. Do a good job and the rest will take care of itself.

    GO CATS !!!

  3. Hey Coach…you built it, you own it, and now you have to live with it. You have been improving and getting better, and we all appreciate that, but we aren’t there yet. We are playing a better brand of football across the board but need to get team in sync on both sides and start eliminating the turnovers.

  4. Coach, you kept Eliot as your DC. That was/is the first problem. Clearly he is in way over his head. When fans see their team losing to southern miss and getting blown on the road against Florida, anyone will pause for concern and so the negativity builds.

  5. A win is a win some people still don”t appreciate it!!

  6. It’s growing pains guys. That’s all, and it appears that we are finally catching some traction. These guys know how to coach, and now the talent is starting to gell. Let these guys now learn how to win. Because that’s what they are trying to do.

  7. Let’s give some kudos to the defense and the Oline. The defense has played much better since the second half of the NMST game, and the Oline deserves credit for opening the holes for the running game.

  8. From what I have seen the past two SEC games, the Oline needs to slow down the rush, The UK QB has no time to set and throw the football. He can produce with his legs,and that is a good thing. On the flip side of that, the ball has to come out quicker with some zip on it, If receivers are open Johnson has to hit them, or put in Gunnar. UK can’t stretch the field these days. It will be hard to beat the likes of MSU, Mizzou, Georgia, UT, and Louisville, with three of those on the road against ranked teams, if you can’t throw the football.

  9. Larry pup, these guys has made leap and bounds to improved and you along with others just wont keep give this team a chance to prove other wise. Theres 5 or 6 games left and i l belive in what this team wil do!!! Go cats!

    1. Same here Cats. Getting better every week.

    2. Cats…I do hope you boys are right, but we’ll see. My point is that UK suddenly can’t throw the football, that’s a fact. That is also not good going forward against the remaining schedule. If UK can some how beat MSU, Mizzou, and AP I will be a little happier. That would be the magic six wins needed, and an improvement. I do not see UK beating the likes of Georgia, UT and Louisville..Georgia maybe. I have not been real impressed with Gran’s offense either. Does that mean I’m pulling against the Cats? No way, just stating my opinion. I’m sick of 50 years of sloppy and losing football. Three different OC’s in 4 years, when Stoops’s own defense was not held accountable. They are going to have to produce a winning season here in year four of the Stoops era, it’s time.

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