LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Forget Steve Spurrier. Mark Stoops blistered a University of Kentucky football team worse than the old ball coach ever has after Wednesday's practice.
Spend enough time around UK football and you're bound to see anything. But I can't recall an episode quite like this. Stoops spoke truth to reality after what he called "an unacceptable practice." And it wasn't pretty.
At one point, talking to reporters, Stoops looked back at the practice field and said he hoped they were starting over again. He blasted the team for everything. Preparation. Attitude. Effort.
"Some guys are looking for a rock to hide under," he said.
Now, I'm sure UK coaches have laid into their teams many times before, publicly and privately. That's not what's different here. Stoops made one statement that I think draws a line in the dirt for UK's players, coaches and entire program.
"It's not all right," Stoops said.
Sometimes you get the feeling that if UK doesn't get blown out by nationally ranked SEC powers, people feel like the direction is improving and they're all right with it.
Stoops, clearly, is not. And that's the attitude that has to prevail. He saw a step back in practice, and with a challenge like a game at South Carolina looming on Saturday, his mind was blown that players weren't more dialed in. So he scorched the earth.
"Just not tough enough," Stoops said of his team. "And the bottom line is this is not, 'It's just the way it is.' It's not acceptable. It's not all right. We'll do our best to get it out of them, but we've got to coach better, we've got to play better and it is not OK."
Stoops said that if the Wildcats are 21-point underdogs to South Carolina, the way his team was practicing, the spread wasn't high enough.
"This is the most frustrated I've been, probably, because we're right in the middle of a tough stretch and we're getting ready to play a tough game on the road in a hostile environment, and with that attitude, we're going to get rolled," he said.
You don't get the feeling that Stoops was grandstanding or putting on some kind of show for the cameras. And the fact is, that after this brutal four-game stretch, the Wildcats may have a chance to turn things around in the second half of the schedule.
But to Stoops' credit, he appears to be in no mood to wait.
Stoops on Wednesday was not a patient man. He was a coach who would not accept what he was seeing on the practice field in the face of an overwhelming challenge.
And that, it turns out, is the only kind of coach who can give UK a chance of meeting those challenges, whether it's next week or next year.