Kentucky Wildcats Football: Looking back at the Mark Stoops presser

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Photo credit: Darren Durham for the WBN

- One of the more fascinating parts of the press conference (to me anyway), was Stoops talking about how he actually became Kentucky’s coach. He said he actually reached out to Mitch Barnhart and expressed interest in the position three weeks ago. He detailed how he interviewed with Tim Couch over the phone and met with Mitch on Saturday after his Seminoles played Virginia Tech on a Thursday. Stoops admitted that this weekend is actually his first time in Lexington and he essentially took the job sight unseen. He said that The Big Blue Nation made this position more attractive than other openings. He felt comfortable with the UK administration and that played a big roll in his decision. He did indicate that, while he consulted with his brothers, that they did not play a big role in him choosing to take the job.

- Stoops got several questions regarding his staff, which he largely evaded. He indicated that finding a high octane offensive coordinator and filling out the rest of his offensive staff is going to be a top priority. Stoops said that some of the current staff might be retained, but that he hasn’t had any contact with any of them at this point. Stoops said that he has targeted a defensive coordinator, but reiterated that identifying and interviewing possible offensive coordinators and assistants was paramount. Overall, any specifics were withheld, possibly due to contract negotiations, targeted coaches still currently coaching, or Kentucky’s infamous “2-week rule” for university job postings.

- When asked about scheme, Stoops was very clear that his team will operate out of a four-man front (4-3 defense). He said that its important for his team to run a tough, physical defense to be successful in the SEC. Offensively, Stoops indicated that his team will throw the ball and operate a scheme that fans will enjoy watching. Stoops also said his team will run the ball too. Without an offensive coordinator named at this point though, he couldn’t say a lot more than that.

- On recruiting, Stoops was adamant that recruiting Kentucky will be his top priority. He said that he understands that this state doesn’t produce a ton of talent, but that it will be important for him to keep the players that are SEC-caliber athletes at home. In addition to Kentucky, Stoops specifically mentioned Ohio, the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida as states that will be targeted.

Photo credit: Darren Durham for the WBN

- When asked about the current team and roster, Stoops admitted that he had not met with any of the players yet and hasn’t had the opportunity to really study the current roster. However, he does have a meeting scheduled Monday morning with his players and introduced himself to the better part of the team immediately following the press conference.

- Mitch Batnhart spoke for a little while on a couple of subjects, but was quick to take a backseat to Stoops. When introducing Stoops, Barnhart vaguely and briefly spoke about facility upgrades. Later in the press conference, Barnhart was asked about facilities a couple more times and seemed to draw more impatient each time. Stoops dodged a question about facilities and referred to Barnhart and Capiluto, suggesting that those decisions are not from him. He did say that he was not given any guarantees about facility improvements or investments in the football program.

Photo credit: Darren Durham WBN

Quick hitters:

  • Stoops knows how to get an applause. Taking shots at Louisville on day one is a hell of a start.
  • I’m a little more concerned about facility upgrades than I was before today. Barnhart was visibly uncomfortable with these and he and Capiluto’s comments make it sound like they know they’re going to get some resistance from anti-sports people.
  • Stoops was asked about Calipari and his future relationship with Kentucky’s basketball coach in typical UK media fashion. Stoops was cordial enough and said that he planned on working closely with Cal.
  • Stoops said he’s a “meat and potatoes” kind of guy. I don’t know why I found this so humorous, but I do.
  • Stoops referred to Kentucky’s president as “Doc,” which I also found more humorous than anyone else around me.
  • Stoops Contract is for 5 years and has a base value of $11 million over those years, plus incentives.  Basically, he’s doing okay.
  • I couldn’t tell if it was Zach or Will, but one of Stoops’ young sons threw a toy down the middle of the audience mid-conference. He appeared to have a solid arm for a kid under the age of 6, so he’s someone we may want to watch on the recruiting circuit.
  • Mark Stoops only real request of UK fans? Simple… Pack Commonwealth Stadium each and every home game.
  • I have to say I’m more excited about this hire every day. There is more positive energy flowing around the Kentucky football program than any time I can remember.
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