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By LARRY VAUGHT

Former Kentucky players Derek Abney, Dave Hopewell, Andy Murray and Freddie Maggard offer suggestions on what changes they hope new coach Mark Stoops will bring to the UK football program.

Question: What’s the biggest change you think Stoops needs to make to get UK moving forward again?
Hopewell: “Developing a winning attitude and playing the mental game with players to get them to see a championship vision themselves will go a long way. Bringing in new players that have a championship mindset and understand they must be pushed by coaches and by each other to reach that goal and to work together on and off the field to get there. Then getting out in the state or through the media and telling his story and his vision for the program to get everyone on the same page. He will need to coach the fans up on what he is doing.”
Murray: “Toughness and winning attitude. We take losing too lightly. I think I lost more games my freshmen year than I lost in my entire career up to that point. Winning is contagious, just like losing. Until players wake up on Monday morning scared for their life at practice that day, we will not win. I think this guy knows a lot about winning and will not accept losing. Kids will either get in the water, or get out.”
Maggard: “If a change was to be made, a complete culture alteration is necessary. From game day environment to how the program is sold. From recognizing former football players during games to branding the program as a physical team that plays sound defense.  As for on the field changes, I think we’d all like to see a faster start in the 1st quarter, being more physical, and simply competing. Recruiting will be the most obvious change with emphasis being on the defensive front seven. Oh by the way, and this is a personal request, please get rid of the blue helmets. I’d like to see uniforms either go ‘Oregon’ or traditional. I had to get that in there, sorry.”
Abney: “Improving recruiting and improving facilities (through his contract with Mitch). I think his expertise and experience will take care of the other things, like staffing decisions and X’s and O’s.”

8 Responses to Former Cats hope Stoops can bring winning attitude, toughness and complete culture alteration

  • john4uk says:

    Murray hits the nail on the head.It is all about attitude.This year and in the past,UK football players talked the game but never lived up to their words.It’s easy to talk the talk ,but producing is the hardest part,and it begins with attitude.UK football has to develope a winning attitude.

  • eddie says:

    saw the FSU game last night i really enjoyed it very much saw what our defense could look like they were impressive

  • shinny says:

    A golfing friend of mine Steve Kiner one of the Tennessee greats told me he didn’t like playing Kentucky. His reason was simple they were the most aggressive,hardest hitting team they played every year. I believe Stoops will bring back the “reputation”.

  • Ira says:

    I think we are all tired of UK sleepwalking pretty much the first half for the last three-four years under Brooks and Joker. Tired of the attitude Oh we have to play catch up now in the second half. Our second half adjustments shouldn’t be about playing from behind to win every game. Our game planning just sucked under Joker.

    Seems like we haven’t played tough defense since Claiborne. I could be wrong about Claiborne though I was just a kid. But it looked like we always had a tough defensive unit on the field when I got to watch them. I hope we bring that smash them in the mouth type defense back.

    • TheProfessor says:

      Claiborne’s defenses were the best defenses, throughout his tenure at UK that UK has had since Bear Bryant. The averaged under 20 ppg allowed once he got his players in place. Oh for the days of the much maligned wide tackle six.

  • Michael says:

    ‘A golfing friend of mine Steve Kiner one of the Tennessee greats told me he didn’t like playing Kentucky. His reason was simple they were the most aggressive,hardest hitting team they played every year. I believe Stoops will bring back the “reputation”.

    Curci teams were known for being one of the toughest, hard hitters around. Uk lost that rep a ways back. I agree, it would be nice to see it return!

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