BOZICH | Stoops says Kentucky Improved; I see bowl, 7-win season - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Stoops says Kentucky Improved; I see bowl, 7-win season

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Kentucky football coach Mark Stoops spoke to more than 700 fans in Louisville Friday. Kentucky football coach Mark Stoops spoke to more than 700 fans in Louisville Friday.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The University of Kentucky football team will defeat Florida. The Wildcats will also handle the University of Louisville. Mix in another handful.

Kentucky will win seven games, starting with its Sept. 5 opener against Louisiana-Lafayette. The Wildcats will lose five.

They will play in their first bowl game since the 2010 season.

I’m on the record with all these predictions.

On Friday UK coach Mark Stoops and both of his coordinators answered media questions before the staff and about 700 fans at the sold-out Wildcat Kickoff Luncheon at the Galt House.

Stoops said he was tired of “the talking season,” a season that ends when practice begins next week. Anybody curious about how Kentucky can edge from five wins to bowl eligibility is not tired of talking, projecting or analyzing Stoops’ third UK team.

They’re eager to hear more.

I attended the media session looking for five reasons Kentucky will be improved. Here are five that I sensed from Stoops, who is not predicting anything stronger than simple improvement.

1. THE RETURN OF 14 STARTERS

“Certainly,” Stoops said. “Any time you put the amount of work in that we put in, then you expect to be more confident and you expect to be more positive. You’re better.

“I always use the adage about being sharper. We’re sharper. We have sharper tools. The players have worked hard. Our coaches have worked hard. Going into Year Three we should be better. We expect to be better.

“But we still know that it’s a day-to-day approach. Nothing is going to be given to us. Just because we’re better doesn’t mean we’re going to win any more games. We’ve got to get into camp and see what happens.”

 2. THAT FITNESS STUFF

“It’s been a good summer,” Stoops said. “I know our players improved. I know we made progress. I know the recruits that we brought in look good and are going to help our team, the guys who are here now.

“It gets boring talking about that. But it’s the truth. I want us be better day one this year than we’ve been last spring, than we were last fall. We’re going to take that approach every day. We’re going to control the things we can control.

“The players have worked very hard. They’re bigger, they’re stronger. They’re anxious to get done with the lifting and the running and get on with football.”

3. TALENT UPGRADE

“It takes a lot of good players,” said Stoops. “We all have our own egos and think we can coach anything but the bottom line is you’d better have players also. Then development is such a big piece of it. So you’ve got to get good players and develop them.”

4. STAFF SOLIDARITY

“I feel like our staff has done a nice job of getting some time away. But also as you can tell by some results from the way our players look and some recruiting that we don’t ever step away from it too far.”

5. SIGNS OF RESPECT

I asked Stoops if he noticed that Kentucky received one vote in the Coaches’ College Football Poll. He said he did not. The Wildcats are also ranked as high as No. 40 nationally by College Football News.

Asked if it was possible that the vote in the coaches’ poll came from Stoops’ brother, Bob, the head coach at Oklahoma, Mark Stoops laughed. “Could be,” he said.

Copyright 2015 WDRB News. All Rights Reserved.

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