SEC Media Days have finally come to an end. This event was held in Hoover, Alabama where SEC teams sent players and coaches to represent their university. Various coaches where slated to speak at media day throughout the week. Among these coaches, Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops was one of them, who spoke on Thursday.
Mark Stoops career with the Wildcats
Stoops is entering his seventh season as Kentucky head coach. He has led his team to earning their third 10-win season in program history. He also led the team to victory in the Citrus Bowl.
Stoops was recognized for his breakthrough season and was named SEC Coach of the Year. Since he took over the program, Kentucky has become the only school in the nation that has tied or improved its win total in each of the last six seasons.
Mark Stoops on media day
Stoops started his press conference by thanking everyone who has supported their football program. He also recognized the hard work from his football staff that has led Kentucky to major improvements.
Then he moved on to talk about the players that went with him to represent the football program. He talked highly of them and mentioned that their leadership on and off the field will impress everyone.
He then transitions to talk about their upcoming season. Stoops recognizes the importance of continuity for the 2019 season.
In regards to their staff, Kentucky’s offensive staff will stay intact, while their defensive staff will experience some changes. Brad White will be taking over Matt House as a defensive coordinator.
The Kentucky Wildcats had one of their best seasons last year earning their third 10-win season. Stoops recognizes that the little changes being made in the program have shown their progress and growth.
One of the things Stoops emphasizes on is to keep improving their football program. Not just for the next season, but for the rest of their football program.
“We’re not interested in just having one good team or one good year. We’re interested in building a program. And that’s what we’re doing.”
When asked if getting 10 wins will be their benchmark this year, he said that they need to focus on the strengths that got them there, and the weaknesses that they need to keep improving.
Stoops was also asked about Kentucky quarterback Terry Wilson and his improvements in the offseason. He responded by saying that they are working very closely with him. Giving him more time on the field will allow him to improve the areas he needs to dominate.
The Wildcats were able to defeat Florida last season, breaking a losing streak of 31 years. When asked about the odds of winning against Florida again this year, he avoided the question. He recognized that while it was an important game, they have to focus in all of them.
Another topic discussed was the upcoming Kentucky vs Arkansas match-up in this upcoming season. Kentucky has not faced Arkansas under Mark Stoops. He says that he is thrilled to be facing them and he is up to the challenge.
He recognizes that the SEC East keeps getting stronger with quality coaches and improved programs. Stoops says that he is not planning on staying behind. He states that his plan is to keep growing and improving along with the division.
Mark Stoops on NCAA Transfer Portal
Stoops was also asked his opinion on the transfer portal. He admits that he has mixed feelings about it. On one side, he acknowledges that players that find themselves in difficult situations should have the right to transfer. But on the other hand, he believes that players should honor their commitment with the team.
“You want to be human. You want to help kids. That’s what we’re here for. That’s why we’re in this business. But part of that is also being hard on kids and disciplining kids and helping them be accountable when they don’t necessarily want to, you know?”