And with that... it's over. Four days, 14 coaches, 12-hundred credentialed media, and wall-to-wall coverage online, on television and on the radio. Oh, and plenty of hype for the SEC Network via ESPNU.
Mark Stoops of Kentucky brought the curtain down moments ago. Here's what we thought were the biggest takeaways:
* The second-year coach opened by telling the media they "deserve an award for enduring four days of this... God bless you." Indeed, four days has been a bit ridiculous. But the odds are it will go to five days before the SEC cuts it back to three. Just free pub for the SEC brand.
* Stoops ran through the list of facilities and buildings and renovation projects going on at UK right now then added that the school is "not just building buildings, but we're building a football program, too."
* The coach said he's looking for better leadership and more accountability from his team in Year Two. He says his squad will by physically better this season. "We are recruiting at a very high level," he said. He also pointed out that depth is improving, but his team's still green. According to his math, 60% of the UK team has been part of the program for only 18 months (since he arrived in January of 2013).
* The Cats' quarterback situation remains "unsettled," but Stoops had plenty of good things to say about redshirt freshman Reese Phillips when prompted. "Did a nice job of managing the offense (in the spring) and staying away from negative plays... He's got a good chance to win the battle." He also said that Phillips might have been the Wildcats' most consistent quarterback all spring.
* Asked if the SEC brand makes selling his program to Ohio kids -- something he's had success doing -- easier, Stoops responded: "It makes sense to go to Ohio. With my roots and with my ties to Ohio, but also the proximity. There's quality players there. The SEC is strong everywhere right now. So it does help us when we go recruit Ohio."
* The inevitable "Kentucky's a basketball school" topic came up and it seemed as if Stoops has grown tired of fielding that one (like every UK coach since Bear Bryant). "The truth is since I've arrived at Kentucky, people have been nothing but good to me and passionate about football. We know they love their basketball, and they should... Coach Cal has been nothing but good to me... We embrace that. It's been nothing but helpful. And our fanbase is passionate about a lot of sports. I don't know how closely you follow it, but the Big Blue Nation is very passionate about football."
* When asked if he liked Nick Saban's idea of doing away with the six-win minimum for bowl eligibility, Stoops answered that "Six is obviously important to us, but I won't put that marker on it because I don't want to give up on the other six." The coach added, "We're going out to win each and every game," before finally saying the he would be fine with an easier path to a bowl. "We've got some pull here in the SEC. IF we could get four or five (as the new minimum) I'd take that."
* Stoops: "We don't dwell on anything that occurred before I arrived at Kentucky." Little wonder.
* The UK coach said that the contract extension he received after his first season (2-10 overall, 0-8 in the SEC, but top 25 in recruiting) "meant an awful lot" to him. "Because I think it shows that the administration believes in the plan that we have in place and work that we've been doing. And good things are happening at Kentucky."
* Stoops dismissed a question regarding any pep talks delivered by his brother Bob last season. "He knows I have what it takes. He knows I've got a plan in place and just (need to) stay the course. I don't need to talk to him too much about that."
* Through little fault of his own, Stoops' session was the first all week to end early due to a lack of questions. First, UK isn't a premier football program. Second, he was the last guy to speak to TV room. Third, he had to follow Nick Saban (who had his own countdown clock on ESPNU). By the time Stoops entered the room, a lot of folks had already checked out and headed to their cars.