Don’t forget all the good things Kentucky football did this season because of bowl loss

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky players, coaches and have to be disappointed with Saturday’s 33-18 loss to Georgia Tech in the TaxSlayer Bowl in Jacksonville. But don’t be disappointed in this 7-6 season that included four Southeastern Conference wins, a win over Louisville and the team’s first bowl bid in six years.

Just look at what my long-time friend and colleague Darrell Bird posted on Twitter before the game. “Win, lose or draw today what Stoops, his staff and these kids have done this season is remarkable and to be celebrated,” Bird posted on Twitter.

He’s right, too.

Even with Boom Williams planning to declare for the NFL draft, UK will return 35 of its 44 players on the two-deep depth chart.

“That’s good for us and our future and we’re excited about it,” coach Mark Stoops said.

Lexington Herald-Leader UK beat writer Jen Smith noted that UK will return 77.6 percent of tackles back, 83.1 percent of tackles for loss and 97.6 percent of its sacks.

Stoops was not happy with the officiating at times — he punched an equipment box and kicked the officials’ door at halftime — but he said Georgia Tech deserved to win.

He also has the right attitude going forward.

“I can’t let one game get myself or my team down,” the coach said.

He’s right, too.

FCA director Aaron Hogue tweeted this after the game: “What a great year! It’s been an honor & privilege to serve the men of the 2016 UK Football Team. Look forward to great things ahead!”

Stoops said UK can play “with anybody we line up with” now, something he could not say four years ago.

“If you think it’s easy to build a program in this conference, you don’t know a lot about football. We’ve come a long way,” he said.

And that’s what UK fans need to remember.

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  1. It was a very good year for UK football, and I along with many others, said we would be very satisfied if we bowl qualified so hopefully this portends improved performance next year. I hope the coaches just weren’t satisfied with showing up because we didn’t really seem to be that prepared today. The first half looked like the beginning of the year and many years of UK football in the history books. What kind of a game plan did Gran really have? Our strength all year had been running the football, and I don’t think we had a running play the first series. Gran was very predictable with his offense and my 2 biggest complaints with him all year are 1. Never running Snell enough when he is hot, and 2. Never really involving CJ in the offense liked he talked about in the preseason. Our offensive line is what got us here this year, but they did not have a good game. Looking ahead, I hope that we can finally learn how to tackle and improve on pass coverage. Mt. Elam is still a bust. His best position is apparently standing in line at the local buffet. Thanks for the year Cats!!

  2. Well said Mike, looking forwards to 2017 we don’t lose a whole lot on both side of the ball. Go Cats!

  3. UK missed a golden opportunity to be ranked in the top 25, come the 2017 season, by losing this football game. Yes it was a good year based on UK football standards. Seven wins was a giant step for this program,no doubt, but this loss stings, and a loss never helps. Ga Tech was the better prepared team yesterday, and it showed. I have not seen all the stats, but the time of possession seemed to belong to Tech all day. The UK defense could not stop the Tech option offense. Snell got 7 carries I think? Go figure. All that said, UK returns many on both sides of the football, that is good news. Signing a bang up 2017 class in Feb is the next step for this program.

  4. A good year for the Cats this year and am looking forward to next year. I hope the coaches grow along with the players. We lost on line play on both sides of the ball. Not sure that we were all that well prepared.

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