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UK football coach Mark Stoops understands obstacles, challenges at UK but “we’re going to play to win”

Coach Mark Stoops photo by Gary Moyers.

Coach Mark Stoops photo by Gary Moyers.


This is part of a series with Kentucky head football coach Mark Stoops based on a recent interview with him that I hope will offer insights into his personality and philosophies that you have not read about before.

Question: Can Kentucky win a SEC and national championship and what would it take for that to happen?
Stoops: “I’m not making any of those predictions. I’m just saying there’s no reason – why would you not? We’re here every day working and recruiting and developing our players to win. You don’t want somebody sitting back here behind this desk that’s conceding that. I understand the obstacles that lie ahead. I understand the challenges as much as anybody. But again, that doesn’t mean that I’m just going to accept losing to anybody. We’re going to develop and we’re going to recruit and we’re going to play to win.”

Question: Do recruits ask about winning?
Stoops: “Sure. I think they want to know. I think that’s a big part of recruiting the higher level of recruits – how or are we going to win? The only thing we do – we don’t sit there and make predictions to recruits. We sit there and show them exactly what we’re going to do in our program. When they come in, this is me. I address them. This is your head coach. Boom. This is your high-performance coach. This is your offensive coach. This is a system of what we’re going to do offensively. This is a system of what we’re going to do defensively. This is who we are and then we go through the whole weekend, we go through the whole process. It is what it is. We’re not sitting here with some silver tongue telling them that we’re going to make predictions, do this or do that. We show them what we do and what we have done.”

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  1. NostraDanis

    Larry, ‘just wanted to say “thanks” for this series, I’m really enjoying it.

    1. larryvaught

      NostraDanis, glad to do it. have a lot with coach Brumbaugh to use when I return from vacation

  2. MikeF

    It is obvious that Stoops is organized and has an excellent plan to reach his goals. One of the most critically important intangibles is enthusiasm, he and his staff certainly generate this quality. As excited as the BBN is about the upcoming Basketball season, I am genuinely more excited to reach August 31st for the WKU game and the football season. I was very impressed during the spring game with the organization of the team and the total lack of confusion. Preparation was evident. Confusion has always been evident on the field, even back into the Brooks years.

  3. Greg

    To further your point Mike UK football was in need of new blood. From a culture of winning i.e. a Youngstown infusion.

  4. Ira

    Lack of effort and prep were Joker’s team or that is how it looks from the outside. Coaching mistakes, fundamental breakdowns etc.

    Coach Stoops really is a fresh breath of air for UK. The hard part for UK fans will be the SEC grind and when those losses start climbing. We have to stay behind him and this team. He is bringing in the type of recruits to win in the SEC not just compete and get blown out like Joker’s. But it will take Coach Stoops three yrs of hard recruiting before all those kids are even on the field. We need to remember that.

    I’m so looking forward to the next few years of UK football.

    1. MikeF

      Ira….Yes, it is imperitive that our fan base give Stoops and his staff time to increase the talent level up to a point it can compete. Kentucky fans will be looking to see that the players are prepared and organized on the field and there is already great evidence of good preparation. Let’s face it, a top notch receiver will get open many times in a game, what is impressive is when a coaching staff changes up, drops linebackers into pass coverage etc. I still remember the poorest response to a strategy in a BCS Championship game I ever witnessed, When Tebo and Florida beat Ohio State, the Buckeyes defensive coordinator did not change one thing at halftime. I watched in disbelief! By the way, I always root for every SEC teams in Bowl games.

  5. David

    Read that we just got commitment from Ohio offensive lineman Jarrett LaRubio, I may have misspelled his last name.

    We beat out some good teams for this kid, Nebraska and Louisville just to mention a few.

    Coach Marrow and coach Stoops working their magic up in Ohio. If coach Marrow keeps this up UK needs to consider giving him a big bonus. This man just might help Kentucky have a top 10 recruiting class. My hats off to this mans work ethic and success.

    1. larryvaught

      Great news David. Don’t know much about him, but like you willing to trust Marrow on this. Turn a 3-star into a 4-star player like Brooks did. Or maybe a 5-star like he did with some like Cobb, Tamme, Woodyard, etc.

  6. Rick

    Larry, I’m loving all the football articles. I think everyone has been starving for this for a long time and the season has not even started yet. I love reading them, great job…keep them coming.

  7. steve from Dayton

    Ira, you have a point. When the season is bringing out the negative comments, you and I must be here to remind everybody that, while we want to win, we must be realistic on where we are in this plan.
    And, by the way, I am still watching for some of Joker’s recruits to show up this season. We were pretty pleased with his recruiting before he left. They weren’t chopped liver.

    1. larryvaught

      Good point Steve on Joker’s last class. But I worry some of the better talent in that class may not still be around when next season starts

  8. Shinny

    It’s “Stoops Troops” and “Air Raid” all positive all season!! The plan is in motion and we will watch be it 4-8 or 8-4! This is the 1st coaching staff with “depth” since Bryant years! We will be organized, prepared, and exciting and the BBN will be there to see it thru–already started with season ticket sales!!! PROMISE!

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