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Kentucky running backs coach Chad Scott knows his first game at Commonwealth Stadium — against Miami (Ohio) on Sept. 7 — is going to be memorable and emotional for him.
“There are memories in my head now. I can remember and see myself running out of that tunnel as a freshman when we were playing South Florida and that cloud of smoke. It is going to be an awesome feeling again,” Scott said. “That is one thing that makes me so passionate about being back here and getting these guys going.
“We had success when I was here and the success can be even better now because we have a great offensive mind in coach Brown and great defensive minds in coach (Mark) Stoops and coach (DJ) Eliot. Putting players on both sides of the ball to get it done will be a great feeling.
“Some of the facilities have changed a lot. When I was here, the football offices were underneath the stadium and now we have our own building. The whole extension to this building was not here. Team meeting rooms are where the racquetball courts were. What they have done with the Joe Craft Center is amazing. Lot is different, which is good. Making everything look more modern to keep up with what is going on across the SEC is what you have to do.”
Scott doesn’t buy the argument that UK’s football facilities are not good enough to compete nationally.
“I tell you right now they are as good as anybody in the SEC with what we are doing now with the $110 million renovation that we’ve got and they are going to be even better than some teams in the SEC,” Scott said.
Scott remembers some good times and exciting moments when he played at Kentucky. He knows there were others during the Rich Brooks era. However, he has not seen UK football excitement ever so high.
“It is unbelievable. Even when I was here and keeping up with Kentucky even while I was gone, it’s nothing like it was before or ever,” Scott said. “The excitement and buzz around this program … people were just talking about football in January and February in the midst of basketball season is unheard of here. The excitement and buzz around football is unlike any other time in the history of UK football that I know of.”
Considering UK is coming off a 2-10 season and changing coaches, that seems a bit unusual.
“First of all, it is coach Stoops. What he has done in the past three years at Florida State to turn that program around and make it a defensive-minded program is unreal. Then he hires a home-town boy in Neal Brown who has had success everywhere he has been,” Scott said. “So you have a big name in Stoops and what he can do defensively over time and then for him to hire the hometown boy who has been successful everywhere he has been offensively to go with a great defense is exciting.
“You have a great defensive mind, great offensive mind and a crop of young coaches. I thought he did a great job hiring a young staff. I think just initially when these guys took over the job and went out and attacked some of the big-time players (recruits) that maybe some people weren’t too sure about Kentucky doing that .. but when we get the first kid to jump in the boat and way we finished the recruiting season is the reason for the excitement.”