‘Twas the weekend before Christmas, and all through the State. Not a fan was stirring, not even Kate on State. Just kidding. But it is the Holiday season and gifts are being exchanged from Paducah to Harlan. That got me to wondering what Coach Mark Stoops would like to find under his Christmas tree. Below are 5 gifts I’m sure he would enjoy:
- Facilities Improvements- Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart and President Eli Capiluto have both stated their intent to request bonding authority from the state legislature for athletics facilities improvements. It’s expected to be an uphill battle, confirmed by Greg Stumbo’s moronic comments. The truth of the matter is that Kentucky needs upgrades if they are serious about competing in the SEC. UK is already way behind it’s rivals in football spending in the 21st century.
- James Coley- The Florida State offensive coordinator is still an option to join Stoops’ staff, even if it’s a longshot. Rumor has it that he wants out of Tallahassee and he may be willing to take a step down in order to do so. Although Kentucky could offer him the position of Assistant Head Coach and/Passing Game Coordinator to go along with wide receivers coach. Coley is one of the best recruiters in the country and it would seem like a long shot that he would come to Lexington without a title, but Stoops has already pulled off several feats that seemed unlikely until they happened.
- Trinity Players- The Big 3 at Trinity, Jason Hatcher, James Quick and Ryan White, were all well beyond Kentucky’s grasp under Joker Phillips. Enter Stoops and DJ Eliot. Now Quick and Hatcher plan to visit Lexington in January. Landing either would be an upset of epic proportions with Hatcher committed to Southern California and Quick favoring UL and Ohio State. But something must have changed for them to agree to visit. Another Trinity player to watch might be Dalyn Dawkins, the recruiting websites like him but he is a bit lacking in scholarship offers. Dawkins skill set would fit the Air Raid perfectly.
- Reasonable Expectations- If you ask Kentucky fans what they expect from Stoops next year you get one of two answers. Either they think a 7-8 win season is coming and a Top 25 class in February. OR. They are indifferent and say Kentucky will never be good at football and Stoops will be no different. These folks would not be satisfied with Nick Saban. That being said, Kentucky is coming off of a 2-10 season and will be installing a new offense and defense. Growing pains are to be expected. A 4-5 win season will be acceptable, becoming bowl eligible would be remarkable.
- Fans in the Stands- Starting with the Spring Game, Kentucky fans need to start showing back up at Commonwealth Stadium. Granted, the university needs to step up in promoting the event, but fans don’t realize what a huge recruiting tool it is to have 20k people in the stands for a scrimmage. Just look at Big Blue Madness. This fall UK fans spoke with their wallets about how they felt about Joker Phillips. Phillips is gone, leaving fans no reason to stay away. If Kentucky football wants to spend the big dollars it needs to catch up, then it needs to make some of those dollars on it’s own and ticket sales/concessions are the next biggest profit following TV revenue.