The main thing that John Calipari has talked about this season is his team needs to learn to fight and finish.
Where did he turn for a perfect example? The Kentucky football team.
Mark Stoops and his staff were dealt a tough hand this season when they lost QB Terry Wilson to a season ending injury, followed by backup Sawyer Smith getting hurt shortly after.
Despite the adversity, they went on to win eight games behind the outstanding performances by Lynn Bowden.
Calipari had some praise for them after the victory over Missouri, and he was very impressed with the heart of Bowden.
“They know how I feel because I’ve talked to them before,” Calipari said. “Lynn has a will to win and he dragged everybody. Now, everybody did their job, the staff. Mark and I talked back and forth, I told him amazing job he’s done with this program. Think about what he’s done here. It’s amazing. But he had Lynn Bowden, who willed them -- who thought they were going to throw that ball? And if you thought it, you should have been drug tested, okay?”
In the Belk Bowl victory, Bowden threw a TD pass to Josh Ali with 15 seconds remaining to take the lead and get the win.
Calipari made that point to set up what he had to say next.
“And that kid threw that. He wanted to throw it. He’s like, I want to be that guy. How about this one, guys? He even played in the game. Why would he have played in the game? Because he cares about the university, he cares about the program, he cared about his teammates, and they all followed him.”
A team of players like that is how you win trophies and Cal has experienced this at Kentucky.
“And that will to win, just think when you have a bunch of guys, that’s when you win national titles. Michael Kidd-(Gilchrist) -- you know what I’m saying -- Darius Miller, a bunch of guys, Terrence (Jones), Doron (Lamb), 22 in the National Championship Game, Marquis Teague -- all the guys, that’s when -- but when you have one, it’s harder to kind of break through because you’re going to lose some games where he can’t do it himself.”
This team is getting better as the season continues, and they are starting the figure out what it takes to fight for and finish a game.