Kentucky Football: Evaluating Mark Stoops' Introductory News Conference

First of all, if you haven't seen his introduction, you can view it here. Media Q&A can be found at the same link. For those interested in reading the contract, you can find that here.

I was very happy to hear Stoops say that we were going to play "four down linemen" on defense, and that we would be "pretty multiple" out of that setup. I was never sold on the Rick Minter verson of the 3-4 (or 3-3-5, or whatever you want to call his riff on the alignment). The 4-3 is much easier for Kentucky to recruit to.

The 3-4 is a great defense when you can recruit athletic freaks at defensive end and monsters like former Alabama star Terrence Cody at nose tackle. But for teams like Kentucky who have to develop their players rather than just plug in NFL draft picks, it is easier to use the 4-3, the schemes are simpler, and it can be very effective even against exotic offenses (just ask Georgia Tech.)

It also pleases me that Stoops seems interested in an innovative offense. He really didn't expound to much on that, probably because he doesn't have a specific offensive style in mind, but when it comes to defense, he was quick to answer and unambiguous. I also think that his comments reinforce the rumor that D.J. Eliot, his compatriot at Florida St., will be joining us as defensive coordinator, even though he did not say that, or really imply it directly. Still, if you listen, I think you'll understand why I believe that.

He looked very nervous to me, but I think that's normal for a guy who is just taking his first head coaching job. I believed him when he said he believed he can win at Kentucky,and while I appreciated his objective of the SEC championship (you have to aim high), I will be surprised if he ever achieves that goal.

The truth is, though, he doesn't have to. What he has to do is produce winning seasons, and turn this football program into something it can reasonably aspire to -- consistent winning seasons with annual bowl appearances. I think that is doable, if difficult, and his commitment to the defensive side of the ball bespeaks a commitment to Kentucky football by the administration that I had thought not to exist. But Mitch Barnhart & Co. must follow through.

Nevertheless, this is exciting stuff. I suspect that his wish for a packed stadium next year will be realized. The Big Blue Nation looks very excited about this hire.

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