We all remember that December day fondly when Mark Stoops was announced the head coach of the University of Kentucky football team. There was a new promise and a new purpose to Kentucky football that had been missing in the Joker Phillips regime. Then came a furious close to the recruiting period which saw Stoops finish with arguably the best recruiting class in Lexington in several years. Amidst all this was the promises of stadium funding that Rich Brooks could not get and a 2014 recruiting class that was at one time the best in all of college football.
And through it all, Kentucky fans realized that Rome was not built in a day. Even the most optimistic of Kentucky fans realized that this team was still the core of a 2-10 program with some promising JUCO players and freshmen sprinkled in. And this team was facing a murderous gauntlet of a schedule. Some would call it the toughest in the country. So Kentucky fans went into this season braced for the worst, but hoping for the best.
And certainly, last weeks game was one of those moments that was supposed to be a bright spot on the season. Western was a very beatable opponent and Kentucky was motivated for revenge. And there is no one in the Big Blue Nation that is happy or even satisfied about what happened last Saturday from the execution, the coaching, to the result. It was a disaster almost from the opening drive.
But what are you going to do? Dust yourself off and give it the old college try once again. Mama said there would be days like this, right.
But to declare the Mark Stoops honeymoon over? After just one game?
It’s kind of unthinkable, yet that is what the Courier Journal’s Kyle Tucker did.
The honeymoon is over. The shine is off. The man who sat at the podium Monday at the University of Kentucky’s weekly football press conference was no longer New Coach Mark Stoops. He looked and talked like a man waist-deep in a mess, which is what the Wildcats became over the last two seasons under previous coach Joker Phillips.
Stoops was raw and realistic and painted a bleaker picture than at any point in those nine months before he had to play a game under unflattering stadium lights, back when fans were full of hope and blissfully ignorant of the ugly truth: This is going to take a while.