By this, his fourth year at the helm of the Kentucky football program, Mark Stoops is well known for his explosive temper and sideline tirades.
Strangely enough, Stoops said after practice on Thursday that it had not reared its ugly head during preseason camp.
"There has not been as many where I just did not feel that," he said, but also added, "It does not mean we were perfect, and there were a lot of frustrations. That’s what happens with camp to get the kinks out."
Still, Stoops continued a month-long trend by saying that he is pleased with the maturation of his guys despite their overall youth.
"Our team is more mature. We’re not there yet. You’re always dealing with young kids, and you’re always dealing with some young players, but overall, we’ve made a giant step in leadership and maturity."
Stoops has seen the most progress from his offense, especially regarding unselfish behavior, and thinks that the turnaround started and will continue under the leadership of new OC Eddie Gran.
"The first game is Saturday, so I believe it comes with educating them and coaching them to do just that and be the way that they are. It starts with the leadership of Eddie (Gran) and the older guys on our offense and myself. So, I feel good that that’ll happen", he said.
Maturity and Coach Gran’s stewardship, Stoops believes, is the reason that the installation of UK’s new offense is so far ahead of schedule. Of course, many of the players having experienced two coordinator changes already helped as well.
Coach Stoops hopes that means better quarterback play and consistency as a whole, something that Stoops thinks in intertwined.
"I’ve said it every single time, no matter who the quarterback was. It’s not ever all on him. They have to play well around him, and they have to make plays for him. They have to block for him and run and do the things necessary. That’s led to us being inconsistent as the unit."
Regardless of the past, Stoops is still excited to see how new QB Drew Barker and the rest of the offense does on Saturday after all the hard work they have put in in the leadup to the clash with Southern Miss.
- Stoops said that it would be a "gametime" decision on who will be Kentucky’s starting punter this weekend.
- Kentucky will be excited to play and won’t be overconfident against the Golden Eagles according to Stoops.
- Dorian Baker will play Saturday after missing some practice recently. Stoops is not concerned though and says that effects any player regardless of their position.
- Wideout Alex Montgomery is healthy after missing fall camp. Stoops said he is contributing on special teams and working on running routes.