By LARRY VAUGHT
After yet another loss, the head coach tried to let fans know Saturday he was not happy either.
“I certainly don’t like the product we are putting on the field, and that’s my responsibility. I take full credit for that. When it’s good, it’s good. When it’s not good, it’s not good — and it hasn’t been good. And that’s on me,” the coach said.
“I’m not asking for anybody to be happy. I’m not asking anybody to give a pass. This is the real deal. My expectation I’ll guarantee is as high or higher than anyone sitting in those stands. There’s nobody more let down or hurt or competitive-edge dented a little bit by this. So it’s on me. We’ll get it turned. I can assure you that.”
While that could have been Kentucky coach Mark Stoops after the loss to Missouri, it wasn’t. Instead it was Florida coach Will Muschamp after his Gators (4-5, 3-4) lost 34-17 to Vanderbit. It was Florida’s second four-game losing streak in his three seasons, fueling more speculation about his future.
But could that be Stoops in 2015? Kentucky was 2-10 in 2012 when Joker Phillips was fired. Kentucky likely will be 2-10 again this year. Stoops has a highly ranked recruiting class in 2014, but will the UK fan base get restless before he can rebuild.
“The only way to fix this is recruit, recruit, recruit,” one UK coach said after Saturday’s game.
True, but that takes time and will Stoops have that kind of time. Former UK player Dave Hopewell, a die-hard Kentucky fan, has claimed for years that UK needs to raise the bar for football expectations. He talks SEC championships, not Music City Bowl bids.
But Hopewell did stun me last week when he said he thought by 2015 that Stoops and his staff “should win eight or more games.” Eight or more? How often does that ever happen at UK?
Hopewell’s implication was that if UK has not made that much progress, a change likely would be needed. He pointed to the quick exit UK gave basketball coach Bily Gillispie after two miserable years as justification for not being overly patient in football.
Myself, I still think UK could be lucky to go 6-6 in 2015. Yes, the 2014 recruiting class is talented, but you don’t rebuild in one year in SEC football. Even Vanderbilt is slowly building success, but that success just makes it that much harder for UK to succeed.
But do you agree with Hopewell? What’s a reason expectation for UK in 2015?