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Photo by Victoria Graff

Photo by Victoria Graff

By RICHARD CHEEKS

Mark Stoops, by all measures, appears to be a football man, from an established football family, with a keen football mind. He also appears to have a strong record of accomplishment as a recruiter and on the field as a Defensive Coordinator. Those are all important attributes that speak to Coach Stoops’ fine football pedigree. However, these attributes represent only part of the formula for success with the UK Football program. Didn’t we hear the experts cite similar attributes when UK hired Blanton Collier, Fran Curci, Jerry Claiborne, Bill Curry, and Rich Brooks?

I listened carefully to the introduction press conference. I heard Mitch Barnhart profess an unspecified commitment to facility upgrades for football. I heard Coach Stoops set his on the field goal of winning an SEC Championship. I hope with all the passion for UK football that I possess that this hire will end differently, and that Coach Stoops can lead UK football into the promised land of SEC relevance. I hope that this next chapter of UK Football history will have a happy conclusion for Coach Stoops, and the long suffering UK football fans of the Big Blue Nation.

While I remain a skeptic, and a cynic, I will start this chapter in a wait and see posture. Will the unspecific promises of Sunday’s excitement result in the programmatic and institutional changes that I believe must at least coincide, if not precede, a great coaching hire. Will UK increase the recruiting budget, increase the salary budget for assistant coaches, and provide funding for capital expenditures for facility improvements such as a recruiting room? Will the Administration and the Coach set out specific performance goals that they believe are necessary to place UK on the path to SEC Football relevancy.

I concede that it may be too early for these details to emerge in the public domain, but I believe all UK football fans should expect to learn these details in the near term. That is the basis for my “wait and see” posture for the near term. I believe the University should make public pronouncements of its specific commitment to SEC Football competitiveness that describe in performance terms what we should all look for as we watch and gage the program’s progress towards those goals. However, I have doubts that anyone at the University will provide any details on these questions because unspecific generalizations make public accountability a moving target. Therefore, to advance the ball down the field for this specific debate, I offer my ideas about what the primary long-term objective should be, and how a fan can monitor the program’s progress toward that objective,

I agree with Coach Stoops, the primary long-term objective for any athletic program should be to win. “We play to win game!” The objective must be to win a SEC Championship, because the frame of reference to winning must be applied to the field of play that applies, and for UK football, that field is SEC Football. It should no longer be acceptable to rationalize UK’s perennial presence at the bottom of the SEC within the context of how UK might do in some other conference, or against some other set of opponents. UK is a charter member of the SEC. UK is proud of their SEC roots and affiliations. Therefore, UK should be committed to competing in the SEC if UK is going to accept the huge SEC payday with any sense of pride. My analysis begin by establishing a strategic plan for this success.

If the stated long-term objective is indeed an SEC Championship, then how should UK and the fans assess this coach’s performance against that objective in the near term, e.g. the next 3 to 5 years, and beyond? I have observed a road map of success in SEC Football that I suggest for that map to gage the progress of this journey. This road map gets very little public discourse in these parts because the UK track record against these performance standards rarely meet the minimum success thresholds in one category, and have not done so in both categories within the same season in my memory.

The top teams in the SEC, year in and year out, perform at high levels on offense and defense. Why shouldn’t UK? That fact is the basis for this map to SEC Football competitiveness!

1. To be competitive in the SEC, the offense must produce at a minimum 30 points per game over a season, and sustain that output for multiple seasons. Here is UK’s recent history.

2012 18.0 ppg

2011 15.8 ppg

2010 31.2 ppg

2009 26.1 ppg

2008 22.6 ppg

UK offense crossed that offensive threshold once in the last 5 years. UK needs to set its sights on reaching that threshold by the 2015 football season, three years. Wouldn’t the following offensive goals be reasonable and appropriate?

Near Term:

2013: 24.0 ppg

2014: 28.0 ppg

2015: 31.0 ppg, and

Long Term:

2016 and beyond: Sustain offensive production at 30 ppg or higher.

2. To be competitive in the SEC, the defense must produce at a minimum by allowing 20 points per game or less over a season, and sustain that production for multiple seasons. Here is UK’s recent history.

2012 30.5 ppg

2011 24.7 ppg

2010 28.4 ppg

2009 22.7 ppg

2008 21.5 ppg

UK defense has not reached this defensive threshold even once in the last 5 years, and one must look back into the 1980s during the Claiborne Era to find UK football teams that had such stingy defenses. UK needs to set its sights on reaching that threshold by the 2015 football season, three years. Wouldn’t the following near term defensive goals be reasonable and appropriate?

Near Term:

2013: 24.0 ppg

2014: 21.0 ppg

2015: 19.0 ppg and

Long Term:

2016 and beyond: Sustain defensive production at 20 ppg or lower.

In my opinion, those performance goals should produce teams moving that win 5 to 7 games in 2013, 6 to 8 games in 2014, and 7 to 9 games in 2015. Looking beyond the initial three seasons, a program that can sustain those levels or better on both sides of the line defines SEC programs that average 8 to 9 wins per season, and does not drop below 5 wins in any season.

As I “wait and see,” these and similar performance measures will inform my conclusions about the progress of the UK Football program under this Coach’s leadership. These and similar criteria will drive my compliments and criticisms in the years ahead.

I have posted this plan at the BigBlueFans4UK.com website (http://www.BigBlueFan2UK.com/, Editorials/ BBF4UK_Editorial_6_Will_New_Coach_Be_Answer.htm) and I thank Vaught’s Views for publishing this commentary for its sizeable readership to consider, debate, and hopefully adopt. I clearly encourage UK Football fans to adopt this approach, if not the specific numbers, to monitor and measure the progress of the UK football program as it moves into the Coach Stoops Era. I also encourage UK Football fans to compare these performance measures against other SEC programs to confirm that these and similar performance standards accurately describe successful SEC programs.

If Mark Stoops fails, and based on history, failure at UK in football is more likely than not, ask, “Why does a man with such a great football pedigree and track record fail at UK?” Just as I have argued with respect to Joker Phillips, and his predecessors, the failure of the Stoops Era, if it occurs, will not be Mark Stoops’ fault any more than it has been Rich Brooks’ fault, Jerry Claiborne’s fault, or Blanton Collier’s fault. It will be the fault of an administration content to cash the SEC check without making the commitment to competitiveness in the SEC.

 

 

29 Responses to Guest post: Mark Stoops certainly appears to be football man but will this be formula for success

  • WeRuk says:

    The guy hasn’t coached his first game and we are already second guessing and over thinking things. This is why UK football is what it is. This coming from the same guy that disrespected soccer,tennis and other sports in a story a couple weeks ago.Smh

    • Love SEC F-Ball says:

      His previous article did not disrespect soccer, tennis & other sports. He pointed out that improvements have been made in other sports but not football. The improvements were made from football revenues and we are not re-investing in football at a level to keep up with the rest of the SEC.

      Give Richard a break – He is a great fan.
      You need to read all of his articles & you will understand.

  • Gene says:

    It seems that your conclusions are then to just pack up the unis, close the doors and walk away from a 100 year tradition if YOUR targets are not met ??
    Stoops hasn’t even found a place to live in town and already the voices of gloom and doom are braying at the moon.
    Sorry your entire article is not something I will re-read. Just not worth the trouble but then the first read wasn’t either.

    • Love SEC F-Ball says:

      These are not voices of gloom & doom. These are voices that DEMAND that the administration give the Support to Coach Stoops that he deserves. The players, fans, students, & boosters deserve this support as well.

      Richard does a great job breaking down statistics so the rest of us can understand them.
      My guess is that Coach Stoops has goals that are similar those listed above.

  • Larry Pup says:

    As the aging cowboy Monte Walsh once said “My! MY!”

  • Bill says:

    Doom and gloom? I really didn’t get a sense of doom or gloom. I think everyone who has thought about Kentucky football has a sense that there is a need to change the existing culture and to get a commitment to excellence that runs up through the administration and to Frankfort, and the needed support for bonding issues. We all hope for the best. There is always excitement when a new coach comes into a difficult situation. Even Stoops has noted it will take all of us to get to the “promise land” of competing for and winning an SEC championship. The above post simply sets performance benchmarks. I don’t understand these benchmarks as being chiseled in granite. Maybe this past year has created a sense of urgency that goes beyond simply talking the talk. Maybe the shock and embarrassment of seeing all the empty seats will push the institutional changes and commitment needed. Maybe I should have said loss of revenue rather than shock and embarrassment. I’m sorry if that sounds cynical. I think Stoops is an exceptional coach and a great hire. I also think we will see marked improvement in our teams performance next year. If that improvement is going to continue then there needs to be demonstrated material improvement in programmatic and institutional support. Will that happen? I’ll have to rely on hope since my tea leaves have let me down this past season.

  • Larry Pup says:

    All we can do as fans is rely on this administration who indicated that funding is being looked into for a number of needed improvements on the UK campus, including football. The football hire in coach Stoops spoke volumes to me. I also understand funding issues are before Kentucky law makers now. or soon will be. With that said, I’m looking forward to better football facilities in the near future. For now I’m thrilled for our new coach, and I am just simple enough to believe better days are ahead for UK football. I’m all for goals and improvement, but shit happens. What UK football needs is big bruising running backs, big nasty mean offensive and defensive linemen, quick as cat receivers, and a group of coaches who can get them to play their hearts out. That will produce winning football, and then everything else will take care of itself. Sorry, didn’t aim to preach.

  • HONDO2 says:

    THE MAIN FIGURES I LOOK AT ARE THE WINS PER SEASON IN THE COMING NEXT 5 YEARS RATHER THAN THE OFFENSIVE AND DEFENSIVE NUMBERS–TURNOVERS AND PENALTYS CAN CHANGE THE WIN -//LOSS NUMBERS DRASTICALLY–

    THE MAIN THING IS FOR COACH STOOPS AND HIS STAFF TO LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE RATHER THAN ON THE DARK SIDE–SURE–IT’S A TOUGH JOB–TOUGH CONFERENCE[LOOK UP THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONS THE LAST 6 YEARS]

    AS HOWARD SCHNELLENBERGER RECENTLY STATED TO RICK BOZICH “PEOPLE SAY HS FB IN THE STATE OF KY IS SUBPAR–BUT LEXINGTON HAS WITHIN 400 MILES MANY FERTILE HS PROGRAMS THAT ARE EASY TO DRIVE TO–A LOT OF HS COACHES ARE OUT THERE WAITING FOR COLLEGE COACHES TO CONTACT THEM–COME AND TALK TO THEM–WHEN I WENT TO LOUISVILLE WE STARTED RECRUITING THOSE AREAS WITHIN 400 MILES AND WE STARTED GETTING PLAYERS–AND STARTED WINNING–

    SO YOU HAVE TO START LOOKING AT THE POSTIVES RATHER THAN THE NEGATIVES–UK HAS A LOT OF SOLID FB FANS–HAVE HAD FOR YEARS–THE FANS WILL PERFORM IF THE TEAM DOES–

    SURE–THERE ARE SEVERAL THINGS THAT NEED CORRECTING–BUT IT MUST START WITH COACH STOOPS–BARNHART–THE UNIVERSITY–THE FANS–

    BUILDING A NEW STADIUM LIKE THE OWNER OF THE COWBOYS DID DON’T GUARANTEE A SUPER BOWL TEAM[CHECK THE RECORD

    IT ALL STARTS WITH ATTITUDE–WELL ORGANIZED PLAN–GOOD RECRUITING[YOU CAN’T COACH EM IF YOU DON’T GET EM–GOOD ON THE FIELD COACHING–GAME PREPERATION WHICH STARTS WITH SCOUTING AND VIDEOS TO WATCH–AND REMEMBER–THE TEAM WITH THE FEWEST PENALTYS USUALLY WINS–

    HONDO2

  • Gene says:

    I totally agree with this article. Administration has to support our Football program before any Coach can make a difference

  • Gene Tyler says:

    I agree, we need to get behind Coach Stoops. We need to get adminstration to back Football more. Upgrade facilities, and the stadium.

  • Walter says:

    We all expect our football team to improve. But the first year with a change in coaching and a change in systems, may not show any improvement. It should be the baseline for showing improvement. I believe it is crude for any so-called fan to establish benchmarks before the coach even gets started. Frankly, I am going to cheer for Stoops from now until he leaves the program.

    • TrueBlueJohn says:

      The improvement may not be so much in wins, but what I want to see is competiveness and toughness on the field. I want to see a team that may not have as many athletes on the field as the other guys, but they looked well coached.

  • eddie says:

    if not brown i would get petrino for the OC job

  • TheProfessor says:

    This year, the following teams exceeded both performance measures for the season:

    Alabama
    Florida State
    Georgia
    South Carolina
    LSU
    Oregon State
    Wisconsin

    The following teams had a scoring margin over 15 ppg, but did not satisfy both criteria

    Oregon
    Texas A&M
    Kansas State
    Clemson
    Notre Dame
    Oklahoma
    Oklahoma State

    The next group had an average margin of 10 to 15 ppg

    Ohio State
    Florida
    Arizona State
    Michigan
    Vanderbilt
    Stanford

    Those are groups on which I want to find Kentucky within the next 3 to 5 years.

    Can Stoops do that? He clearly has the pedigree to have his teams in those categories, and I hope he succeeds. We all must wait and see what happens. He has a 5 year contract, and he has said his goal is to win the SEC. If Kentucky is not in those lists, Kentucky will not win an SEC Championship, and if in those groups, Kentucky can compete for the SEC Championship. By the end of Stoops’ third year, he should have Kentucky in one of those groups or at the very least, clearly heading in those directions, if not quite there.

  • P90XDude says:

    Folks the administration at UK was snubbed by the Ky legislature by not giving any authority for building anything at UK the next 2 years. We have in Ky an archaic way of funding University buildings. A lot of states have given state universities the right to initiate bonding programs without legislative approval. Bob Damron for years has tried to convince the legislature to do this; so far without success. If you want to change this archaic law then tell your legislature representatives to let Ky public universities create their own bonding programs. If UK had this authority, Commonwealth Stadium would already have its upgrades.

  • RJ says:

    I am of the opinion that the administration got the message at the Vanderbilt game. Money is tight and there will have to be some imaginative financing to do what is need to be done with facilities. But, not impossible.

    As far as Stoops’ probability for success; at this point it either 100% or 0%. The guy has never coached a game, recruited a player or developed a football team as a head coach. There is no data from which we can judge his head coach decision making, recruiting ability or player development process. The only thing we can utilize to judge his success potential is his body of work as an assistant coach; and believe me, there is huge difference. Just ask Joker Phillips.

    Will he make mistakes? You can be assured of it, but hopefully not as many as Joker Phillips made his first year as head coach. Secondly, from everthing I have read and heard about Stoops is that he is hyper-organized. Organized people usually minimize there mistakes by relying on what that have learned trough a logical process and data laddering (data laddering is a fancy term for walking before you run!)

    Just as I gave Joker Phillips the benefit of the doubt his first year I’m willing to do the same for Mark Stoops. Trust me, his decision making ability and thought processes will be apparent very, very soon. The guy is going to be living in a glass house for the next few years.

  • TheProfessor says:

    The team with the fewest penalties always wins? How so.

    http://web1.ncaa.org/d1mfb/natlRank.jsp?year=2012&div=4&rpt=IA_teamyardspenalized&site=org

    1 Air Force 12 39 296 3.25 24.67 6 6 0
    2 Navy 11 37 291 3.36 26.45 7 4 0
    3 Kansas St. 12 42 346 3.50 28.83 11 1 0
    4 Kansas 12 45 360 3.75 30.00 1 11 0
    5 Army 11 44 346 4.00 31.45 2 9 0
    6 Boston College 12 48 388 4.00 32.33 2 10 0

    There are the top 6 teams with the fewest penalties in 2012. Only one of them, Kansas State won this season, 11-1. The others were 6-6, 7-4, 1-11, 2-9, and 2-10.

    115 Utah St. 12 83 852 6.92 71.00 10 2 0
    116 Oregon 12 98 891 8.17 74.25 11 1 0
    117 Louisiana Tech 12 98 957 8.17 79.75 9 3 0
    118 Washington 12 106 959 8.83 79.92 7 5 0
    119 California 12 99 996 8.25 83.00 3 9 0
    120 UCLA 13 123 1214 9.46 93.38 9 4 0

    Here are the 6 most penalized teams in 2012. 10-2, 11-1, 9-3, 7-5, 3-9, 9-4. Only 1 of these 6 failed to have a winning season, and 4 of the 6 won more games that 5 of the 6 least penalized teams.

  • Love SEC F-Ball says:

    Great article! – I agree 100%. The administration has verbally pledged support but will they follow through? We have heard promises before. And you pointed out – The promise on Sunday was unspecified.

    Is it too early for these details to emerge in the public domain? It is if they just now made the decision to support football. They should have many of these details already on the drawing board. Of course some of the details will come from Coach Stoops suggestions & requests.

    As RJ said above, the administration got a message after the Vandy game.
    Were they not getting the message before the Vandy game?
    Let’s hope that the administration understands that our message was not for just a coaching change – We DEMAND administrative support as well!
    We need to keep the pressure on.

  • RJ says:

    The teams that scores more points than the opposing team usually wins!!! Offense and possess the ball last or defense and prevent the opposing team from scoring; take your pick.

  • Juan4UK says:

    I’m writing this before I read any comments.
    With all due respect to you Richard, I mean no offense, but while you are welcome to your own opinion, to me- most of what you argue the largest dose of negativity and simplistic reasoning I’ve seen in at least a couple weeks.
    First, the facilities, but Ill come back to that.
    Secondly, your methodology for measuring success. Where did you get those numbers? Did they just sound good? Do you base them on any science? Here’s why I mention it: The trends in college sports are always changing. Either defensive #’s on average decline at some rate, and Offensive #’s continually shift as well. So those #’s are always relative, that’s the reason you use National Ranking to measure those things. And then you have to be realistic in your expectations. And I agree with many of your ultimate conclusions here. I think that we should see significant improvements. I believe that in 3 yrs., we should start an uninterrupted string of bowl games. I believe that real, solid push for an SEC East division win in about 5-7 yr. mark. By 7 yrs, I believe that as a fanbase, we will know we have a team that can stand up face to face with any team in the SEC with a confidence that we can win. Not just the flash in the pan, we had a wonderfully unexpected successful season.
    Now, back to my first point. UK’s commitment to facilities And I do get a bit irked when people continually reference them as proof that UK has no real interest in Football.
    Sometimes you need a little distance in order to look past the immediate. Sometimes things are just determined due to a collection of events that just happen.
    UK definitely has it’s role in this. But much of the problem is with the way UK facilities are bonded. This has been repeated over and over again for about a year. I do not claim to know all the intricacies of it. But the bottom line is because of several hundred million for the medical facilities, which was great, and necessary as I understand it. A top notch medical facility for any University for purposes of research grants and such.
    This is mainly a bad case of bad timing. The landscape has changed in big ways in just the last 15 yrs. For UK, their part in this has to begin with forethought and serious miscalculations in how it’s fanbase was feeling overall in relation to the lack of success on the football field. This was a huge blunder on their part.
    UL and Howard S. had the forethought 20 yrs or so ago, to start a long term funding project via private donations in order to get out of the restrictions on funding. This has paid off in a big way for them because they have managed to build and pay for a very nice athletics complex. As well as strike while the iron is hot when college football started to hit levels never seen before, as well as an easy path in a historically down Big East.
    At the same time, UK hit what is our generations highest point in UK football history. And UK Fans saw for the first time what is possible for UK, and that is to compete in the modern day SEC. Then we had frustration, again, and then a long climb back to competitiveness which we just got a taste of under Brooks. Joker was a victim of a fed up fanbase who are reacting to 60+ yrs of futility in football, with embarrassing and heartbreaking losses along the way.
    I believe that the simple answer is a product of timing. When you factor in the need for a medical investment vs. football, UK had to go medical for whatever reason. And then UK just couldn’t get the funding during Brooks tenure to do what they wanted to do. And that may very well be the fault of Barnhart.
    The stage appears to be set politically for UK to get unleashed to spend money. Don’t people find it odd that a major roadblock to freedom of spending for state university athletic departments, with in reason. That he gets a Judgeship out of nowhere, issued by a political enemy?
    Who knows?
    But I will say this, Mitch has done everything he can to boost the overall athletic department, which, believe it or not is important as well by upgrading little affordable projects along the way. When football investments affected only the players for the most part. He was patching holes that could be patched. Smaller projects in the framework for an overall plan.
    I reside in Florida, and so I see things different from outside. As frustrating as it may be, responsible spending is important for any government entity, and Universities are no different. We should be proud, even if frustrated, that some one is showing restraint and responsibility.
    Nobody could have predicted 25 yrs ago the CFB would become financially what it has. UK just got caught flatfooted in timing, and we as fans should give coach Stoops a lot of room, and support along the way.

  • TheProfessor says:

    UK football is behind the 8-ball in football today because it has not kept pace with the rest of the football world over the last several decades. While others saw the opportunities and made the investments, UK either did not see the opportunities, thus did not recognize the value of the investments, or saw the opportunities and decided to not make the investments. Now the program finds itself so far behind, that the effort required today to start catching up seems insurmountable.

  • KYWCAT says:

    We can thank CM Newton for falling behind when we could have been getting ahead.

    And I felt this article to simply state the obvious. It is easy to find those numbers among the top performers and realize we have to do that as well. No kidding. But interesting that some found that few teams ever achieve those numbers.

    Folks Barnhart and the administration want a winning football team and realize the revenue generated by the program, before any of us even got up this am. I don’t believe there has ever been a no commitment by them. Just like Joker said, their recruiting budget had never been limited. Just as players say, we have here what we need to prepare and play as far as facilities are concerned. You want a recruiting room. Fine, but I’m not sure any university that has one can show you benefit and as I’ve heard it has often been an unproductive expense. Luxury boxes, fine if that is what boosters and corporations require to hand us more dough.

    The money rest in the state, not in a briefcase in the corner of Barnhart’s office labeled Facilities $$$$ Maybe if we could get fans and boosters to commit and pour in revenue instead of blaming all the money on everyone else we could get somewhere. We lost millions of dollars of revenue this year just so people could sit at home and feel entitled that they actually convinced someone to do something. Newsflash, you didn’t. But that 12 million dollars or so we lost in ticket sales, merchandise, concessions and paying off Joker I hope was well spent.

    If people put less time into whining about things they don’t or can’t understand and would just do the things a fan should, support our Wildcats on the field without prejudice, our football program would be in a much happier state.

    I’m not sure how much improvement to expect on the field as far as our win/lose outcomes are concerned but places I need to see changes to know we are headed in the right direction:
    1) We need to be competitive on the majority of plays no matter who our opponent is. It doesn’t mean winning each play but it means trying to and having the potential to do so.
    2) Coaching management of the game from time management to play calling, we need a 180 on this.
    3) A coaching presence with the media and in the community. We need a man who speaks loudly, gives answers, spews confidence and not excuses even if we are on the loosing end.
    4) An improvement in recruiting (star upgrade) even if these players aren’t immediately productive.
    5) Fundamentals to avoid major yardage losses on plays or to successfully execute plays.
    6) Discipline to avoid penalties.
    7) Strength

    These are a few things I haven’t seen in recent years. These things will lead to all goals above. These are the basics of football, and that was what Barnhart was/is in charge of taking care of with coaching hires. The Joker experiment want badly wrong. Stoops will not be the same way. Notice none of the things that you need to actually win on the field involve facilities unless you are one of those that are convinced players want shiny things. And fans. Show up and change the culture. Or shut up.

  • Larry Pup says:

    I may be wrong, but the way I see it, Instead of all the whinning, why don’t we just wait and see what happens. What else do you want to hear that has not already been said by this administration in just the past week. We have a good start with a good football hire. Lets hope for a winning season in 2013 for starters and get behind our team. Stop all the woe is me and instead look for brighter days ahead. That is easier on the blood pressure and a whole lot more productive.

  • TheProfessor says:

    “And I felt this article to simply state the obvious. It is easy to find those numbers among the top performers and realize we have to do that as well. No kidding. But interesting that some found that few teams ever achieve those numbers. ”

    That is exactly the point. Few teams do achieve at those levels and sustain it, EXCEPT in the SEC. If you intend to compete for an SEC Championship, which is what Coach Stoops has set forth as his goal, and I believe it is the right goal, then your teams must perform at those levels on a sustained basis.

  • KYWCAT says:

    Professor I was referring to the fact that in your research you found that not many SEC teams achieve these numbers. I agree we should strive to be up there with Alabama, Florida, Georgia and LSU. Which were the 4 teams you found. And which includes the SEC and future NC. But your research also proved that among the handful of teams that do achieve these numbers, we will not be joining them at least in the next 3 years. We will beat all those 4 teams with the exception of Alabama sometime in the next 3 years though which will be huge.

  • TheProfessor says:

    These lists are not all inclusive. I simply cited a few of each category to illustrate the teams that do achieve on that level. The complete list is at :

    http://www.bigbluefans4uk.com/UK_Football/2012_Season/2012_RANKING_MARGIN.jpg

    This table is sorted on average margin for all 120 teams. If the goal is to compete for a SEC Championship, UK must elevate its game into those regions. Such it is difficult, but if it were easy, the SEC would not be what it has been. Coach Stoops stated the goal. I agree that should be the goal. I don’t find that the University of Kentucky has done the things relative to football over the decades to give the football program a chance to succeed at those levels.

    I believe that the University level commitment must occur before any coach can compete for SEC Championships at Kentucky, not that a particular coach could never coach any team at that level of success.

    Don’t you find it odd that Coach Stoops can clearly state his goal for this program, “To win the SEC Championship” but Mitch Barnhart fumbles the question about facilities by saying in essence, “We have done a lot for facilities for other sports, and we realize that football needs attention too, and we are certainly going to take care of the baseball facilities.” Why can’t he simply tell us what he wants to do for football, not even a commitment about what he will do. Why aren’t there plans on the drawing board, ready to launch if the Legislature were to change the bonding rules? Why can’t he tell us what those plans encompass.

    In my opinion, he does not speak about those things because he has not vision for football beyond cashing the big SEC Check.

  • Cats Claw to Contend says:

    Stoops is the best choice of all the new coaches for 2013 (other than Petrino, who will not be used for comparison, since none of the major programs went after him). He has strong football family connections and impressive DC track record, as clearly stated by the publisher of this article.

    The article is based on FACTS, and is NOT negativity. It is easy to read with tinted glasses and decide anything is good/bad or positive/negative.

    Objectively speaking, this article clearly identifies, calls out, exposes and labels the history of UKAA neglecting UK football, and spells out specific goals to turn the program around. MItch is the key person in the position to work, push and press to get financial and administrative support in order to make a major and permanent turnaround of the historically lethargic and embarrassing football program.

    Brooks made a small dent, and turned the program upward and away from the cellar-dweller position, and passed on a winning deck of cards… but the Joker was wild,,, and Joker let personal agenda/friends/whatever get in the way of sound decisions, so the ship started sinking half way through his first season. Joker was UK player, fan, assistant, coach in waiting and HC, but lacked the necessary experience and judgement to take UK a notch higher. His demise began when he maintained the same loser DC that Brooks held onto, that had cost Brooks some big W’s that could have catapulted UK into another level of success. Joker held onto Brown, at any cost, and that cost was an absolutely pathetic D, which led Joker to make the unwise decision mid-way through his first year, to slow down, stall, delay, interrupt the high powered offense so that we did score too fast, in an effort to let the D have more time on the sideline. What a pathetic theory. D’s have to get 3 and outs and stop teams on 3rd and long if they want to get rest on the sideline… it has to be earned, not a gift.

    Joker made yet another (his 3rd) major mistake, when he chose to support Newton as his premier QB choice, thereby sending an elite QB from Texas (Mossakowski) out the door. Everyone (except Joker) knew that Newton was NOT a real QB, and never would be – 50% or less completions is enough said!!!

    Joker dug his own exit plan…
    1- keeping, embracing, endorsing, Brown as DC
    2- slowing, stalling, killing our mighty, high-octane offense at mid-season, to try to hide Brown’s deficiencies as DC (just look at our offense from mid-season of his 1st year to the bowl game (which we lost to a team that had THREE different Head Coaches in the month before the game)… a loss to Pittsburgh, and our offense was dead
    3- choosing to ignore Moss as a real QB, and playing personal favorite with Morgan Newton

    These were personal choices by Joker, and the list is even longer. These do not even include some of the poor coaching decisions in games, etc.

    Back to Stoops…
    Stoops has ALREADY shown that he has a broader mind than just defense, by going after genuinely offensive minded coaches to get some points on the board. The OC will be a key to UK’s potential success, and I believe the DC will be heavily influenced by Stoops, and that will be a very positive input.

    So, the stage is set for improvement… thanks to Joker leading UK into a deep hole…
    And that allows room for Stoops to make progress IMMEDIATELY.

    The key to long-term success, and even short-term SIGNIFICANT success, is for UKAA and the board of trustees and all other powers to FINALLY get serious and invest in the money-making football program. I fully agree that the future of UK football depends on more than just the coaching staff, but am thrilled that we are moving forward with an aggressive, positive choice as our new HC.

    Joker was positioned to lead UK to the 8 and 9 win season level, with some 10 win seasons a possibility, but personal preferances QUICKLY de-railed an already delicately re-built football program. He chose Brown and Newton over the best interest for UK football, and it cost him his job and cost the fans the mini-foundation that Brooks had established.

    Coach Stoops….
    Welcome to the historical football graveyard for both previously successful and (most recently) untested/inexperienced coaches. The Big Blue Nation receives you with enthusiasm, excitement, hope and support. We anticipate your being wise enough not to have any personal agendas (coaches &/or players) that would de-rail the program before it fully gets back on track. Your choices for your coaching staff already invoke great anticipation of seeing the scoreboard light up for the CATS and seeing some REAL tackling and defensive schemes.

    NOW, we all await action from those in power to unleash support for the football program, which UK has never, ever seen before !!! How about a recrutiting room??? Even big-time High School programs have one… in fact I know some small time (private( high school programs with a recruiting room.

    The Big Blue Nation invites Mitch and all the others in power and with authority, to step into the 21st century of college football…. please, don’t hesitate!

    • larryvaught says:

      thanks for taking time to share that Cat Claw. Love the passion of UK fans and it shows in your comments

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