Mark Stoops has a lot of things on this Kentucky team that he hasn’t had before, and he’s noticed that.
In an interview on Kentucky Sports Radio, Stoops gushed over the level of talent and depth he now has, and that’s got him very excited for the upcoming season.
“Without a doubt, we’re a stronger football team this year,” Stoops said. “Whether we play better or whether we win those games, that’s why we play them. But we’re a better team this year than we’ve ever been. And as I say all the time, we should be. How it translates to wins and losses, that’s why we’ve got to go play because I can’t just say that.”
Stoops has a stronger team this year, but C.J. Conrad says it’s far more talented, too.
“This is definitely the most talent I’ve been around and the most developed—the most mature in general,” Conrad said on KSR. “Those guys playing as freshmen and sophomores are now juniors and seniors. We’ve seen what guys were doing in the past that just wasn’t getting it done.”
In addition to that, it has something Stoops has lacked (with some exceptions): veteran leaders who are also putting up the best numbers. Kentucky has a junior or senior at the top of the stat sheet in rushing yards, receiving yards, tackles, interceptions and pass breakups among returning players.
The high praise, if true, comes at a good time. Kentucky is looking to make the next step and get Stoops’ first bowl win after back-to-back 7-6 seasons.
Week 1 can’t get here fast enough.