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By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky coach Mark Stoops talked about assistant coach Vince Marrow, quarterback Jalen Whitlow, UK fans and recruiting during Wednesday’s Southeastern Conference teleconference.
Question: What was your first spring practice like?
Stoops: “I was encouraged with the first spring. I felt like things went well. I was impressed with our players, felt like they had a great attitude and were there embracing the process. So I was really happy with their attitude and the way they were going about their business. Encouraged with the spring game and our fans. This fan base is awfully hungry to help us be successful. That was evident with their support of the spring game. So overall, I’m pleased with the way things are going.”
Question: What makes tight ends coach Marrow such a good recruiter and is Ohio his only territory?
Stoops: “I’ve got him just in Ohio right now. What makes him a great recruiter, I think, is just his ability to make everybody feel comfortable. He’s very good at just building relationships. He works at it extremely hard. And he has a lot of ties to Ohio. He’s lived in three or four different parts of Ohio, grew up in Ohio, went to the same high school that I did. So Vince knows me very well. He knows how we want to go about our business in recruiting. So I think just with his work ethic and his ability to build relationships are some of the best qualities he has.”
Question: Is Georgia a recruiting priority?
Stoops: “Absolutely, yes. Yeah, we are currently recruiting Georgia, yes.”
Question: Was there any separation in the quarterback battle based on reviewing the spring game video?
Stoops: “I think it’s very fair to say that Jalen (Whitlow) had the best spring game and did some awfully good things. So, I have got to say that Jalen had the best spring game and did some awfully good things. With that being said, it’s still an open competition there.”
Question: Where does UK need the most help from freshmen/junior college transfers?
Stoops: “Obviously we need help at every position. We need to improve across the board. But what stands out to me right now is the skill positions, both on offense and on defense. We need to get a lot better in the secondary and we need to get better at wide receiver.”
Question: Has he been surprised with how the 2014 recruiting has gone?
Stoops: “I’ve been very encouraged with recruiting since I’ve been to Kentucky. I feel like we’re getting a good reception. I feel like the coaches are working extremely hard. And the coaches have the ability to get in there and build some relationships and earn some trust from some of these recruits. So overall, I’ve been very pleased with 2013 and the start of 2014, yes.”
Question: Are there particular areas of need in the 2014 recruiting class?
Stoops: “We really need a lot of help in every area. So I feel like we need help across the board, but we need to continue – it’s hard to say, because we need help everywhere, but we certainly need some help in the skill positions like I mentioned. I think really at defensive back and wide receiver, we really need to upgrade there.”
Question: How did tailbacks Dyshawn Mobley and Josh Clemons perform in the spring?
Stoops: “Dyshawn, he was a good back. He just really did some good things. I was impressed. I feel like he’s a physical guy, up over about 215 pounds, gives us a little physical punch, and he’s also got some good speed. So I was impressed with him. Josh is, again, a pleasant surprise. I think with coming back off a knee injury, I really just was impressed with him. He also had a good spring game. We did not practice him back-to-back. If we did have a back-to-back practice, we just practiced him one or the other to let that knee heal up a little bit between practices. But again, a big, physical guy that’s got some good vision. So I was happy with Josh.”