Today was reporting day for Kentucky football, and media day as well for the coaching staff. This morning, head coach Mark Stoops and his two coordinators, D.J. Eliot and Neal Brown met and talked with the media. You can see all their interviews below.
This staff is very positive and upbeat generally about the team, but they come into the season with several themes that can be heard throughout their commentary:
Blue-collar. This is basically the "work hard every play" philosophy translated into a catch-phrase. We've heard this before, and honestly, I am a little fatigued with the characterization. Essentially, it's the "you may beat us, but you won't outwork us" philosophy, and the subtext is that the team won't be flashy. Okay, well, that seems right -- not enough talent to be flashy. Stoops put it this way:
"Doesn't take any talent to know what you're doing and to play hard and play relentless. You put that together and you can do some good things."
Figuring out what they have. All three coaches mentioned this. I think they genuinely don't know who is going to be in a lot of the positions, and I expect you can figure on seeing a lot of they younger kids play, particularly on the defensive side of the ball and at skill positions on offense.
Process. The idea is similar to "take care of the pennies, and the pounds will take care of themselves." Stoops used descriptors like "laying the foundation" and "there are no shortcuts"to describe his approach, which boils down to finding ways to improve in every activity, team meeting, etc.
Avery Williamson was mentioned both by Stoops and Eliot as being highly motivated and a leader. In general, there were a lot of encouraging things said about the defensive side of the ball. When it came to the offense, the tone was much more guarded.
Depth. Every one of these guys is concerned about depth, but the offensive line and wide receivers seem to be the biggest areas of concern.
When it comes to individuals, two of our 2013 recruiting class won't be enrolling -- Justin Day (OL, Aiken, SC - couldn't qualify academically) and Avonte Bell (DE, Miramar, FL - not sure why, he didn't say, but probably academics as well).
Also, we don't know the status of Ashley Lowery. He recovered from that horrific accident and is able to play, but he had a DUI associated with that and his status is still up in the air. Fortunately, Kentucky has Glenn Faulkner available to back him up if he gets suspended, along with Dakotah Tyler.
On the plus side, Stoops had some very encouraging things to say about the star of this year's recruiting class, Jason Hatcher. He said that Hatcher "looks very good right now." I would be shocked if Hatcher didn't contribute right away, and he is in a position where Kentucky has considerable talent and depth with guys like Bud DuPree, Za'Darius Smith, Alvin Davis and Farrington Huguenin.
Sorry about the lack of updates today, but more are on the way. Hat tip to John Clay's blog for all the videos.