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Mark Stoops: “A Great Day For Us”

Kentucky coach Mark Stoops meets the media to discuss National Signing Day 2014.

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Kudos To Kentucky For Backing Stoops, Football With Cold Hard Cash

outsideThe University of Kentucky has hired coach after coach after coach in the hopes that a new guy with a new whistle could turn around the school’s football fortunes.  Now the school is going to invest a fortune into it’s program.  Automatically that improves the odds that UK’s latest hire will be able to change the trajectory of Wildcat football.

It’s not a guarantee of success, mind you, but Mark Stoops’ chances of succeeding will most certainly go up once UK spends $45 million to build a new football training center and practice fields.

Kentucky has announced that its board of trustees will vote Friday on the new, privately financed facilities.  The school announced last fall that it would be pouring $110 million into improvements at Commonwealth Stadium (improvements that sound fantastic, by the way).  Paying Stoops a good sum and allowing him to have the cash to hire good assistants has been a positive move.  Dumping an additional $155 million total into Stoops’ program is better and smarter.

James Franklin has been hailed as the man who turned around Vanderbilt’s program single-handedly.  Judging by the $5.8 million Penn State is paying Franklin in Year One (including this $1.5 million buyout from Vandy), PSU honchos certainly view him as a Lone Ranger type.  But while the coach did wonderful work on the field and in recruits’ living rooms, much of the credit actually needs to go to athletic director David Williams and the Vanderbilt administration.

Franklin wanted money thrown into the VU program.  He wanted a new practice/football facility.  He wanted guarantees of stadium improvements.  He got most of everything he wanted (and if scuttlebutt is to be believed, Commodore brass promised him all sorts of stadium upgrades while fighting to hang onto him).  Franklin didn’t stick around, but his good work and the upgrades made to the Vandy program allowed the school to land Derek Mason (and a very impressive staff) as Franklin’s replacement.  Would the defensive coordinator from a Pac-12 champion team have taken the VU job without the improvements the school and Franklin made?  Unlikely.

Vanderbilt had the right guy as coach, but the school’s turnaround began when that right guy was given something better to work with, something better to sell to recruits.  Judging by the recruiting Stoops has done in his first season — the man is basically selling a dream to prospects — Kentucky appears to have hired the right guy for its program.  With an influx of cash, UK AD Mitch Barnhart, the administration and the school’s boosters are giving Stoops something tangible that he can use in his efforts to make Kentucky an honest-to-God competitive football program.

Again, there’s no amount of money that can guarantee success in Lexington (or anywhere else).  But big money darn sure improves Kentucky’s and Stoops’ chances for success.


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SEC Headlines 11/22/2013

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1. Alabama coach Nick Saban explained what freshman cornerback Eddie Jackson has to do to earn more playing time.

2. Seniors AJ McCarron, Kenny Bell and Kevin Norwood have formed quite a bond during their time at Alabama.

3. Auburn’s linebackers played well last weekend despite a breakdown “here or there.”

4. Arkansas freshman running Alex Collins has been great but is “nowhere even close to being what he can be,” according to coach Bret Bielema.

5. Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen hasn’t announced which quarterback he will start against Arkansas. Bielema said he wouldn’t say so either.

6. LSU is preparing for a tough test against Texas A&M star wide receiver Mike Evans.

7. LSU’s defensive ends will be focused on staying disciplined against Texas A&M and quarterback Johnny Manziel.

8. Where does Manziel stand among the all-time SEC greats? Ron Higgins takes a look.

9. Ole Miss is preparing for the return of Missouri quarterback James Franklin.

10. Texas A&M’s defense will certainly be tested when it goes up against LSU and quarterback Zach Mettenberger.

11. Meet Christian Provancha, who’s one play away from being Florida’s starting quarterback.

12. Players are standing up for Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham as he hears criticism over the defense’s struggles.

13. An injury during his freshman year slowed the development of Georgia senior D.J. Stripling.

14. Kentucky has suspended three players for this week’s game at Georgia. One is suspended indefinitely.

15. True freshman quarterback Reese Phillips has impressed Kentucky coach Mark Stoops while Phillips redshirts this season.

16. South Carolina running back Shon Carson is preparing to make his first career start against Coastal Carolina.

17. The Tennessee-Vanderbilt game is important because the two schools battle for the same in-state players.

18. Vanderbilt will need a good defensive performance as it tries to beat Tennessee in Knoxville.

19. Ole Miss is preparing for Missouri’s strong pass rush. “They’re a special group,” Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said.

SEC Basketball

20. Georgia lost 94-82 to Davidson on Thursday night. It was Davidson’s first win of the season.

21. A balanced attack from Florida helped the Gators beat MTSU 79-59 on Thursday night.

22. Highly-touted freshman Jarell Martin is getting closer to returning for LSU after he injured his ankle in the season opener.

23. Ole Miss will be at home Friday night as it takes on Mississippi Valley State.

24. Transfer Jordan Clarkson has shown he will be an important part of Missouri’s basketball team.


25. Pat Forde and Dan Wetzel take a close look at the investigation involving Florida State QB Jameis Winston.

26. USA Today’s college football staff is split on picks in the Ole Miss-Missouri and LSU-Texas A&M games.

27. Lane Kiffin on Southern Cal’s head coaching vacancy: “That’s easy. That’s already done. It should be Ed Orgeron.

28. Notre Dame nose tackle Louis Nix is lost for the season with a torn meniscus.

29. What happened to the Heisman buzz surrounding Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota. Ted Miller looks at Mariota’s strong season.

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SEC Conference Call: Mark Stoops Talks Georgia

Kentucky coach Mark Stoops talks Georgia – Week 13 SEC coaches conference call.

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SEC Conference Call: Mark Stoops Talks Alabama State

Kentucky coach Mark Stoops talks Alabama State – Week 10 SEC Coaches Conference Call.

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SEC Conference Call: Mark Stoops Talks Mississippi State

Kentucky coach Mark Stoops talks Mississippi State – Week 9 SEC Coaches Conference Call.

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SEC Headlines 10/15/2013

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1. Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron on guard Anthony Steen: “Unbelievable player. Comes to work every day.”

2. Charles Davis of Fox Sports: “People are sick of Alabama, those who aren’t SEC affiliated.”

3. Auburn freshman quarterback Jeremy Johnson could play a role in the offense this season even with Nick Marshall returning.

4. Joel A. Erickson has compiled several notes regarding Auburn’s football team six games into the season.

5. Arkansas struggled to accomplish its goals during the South Carolina game, which was probably obvious while watching it.

6. LSU seems to be understanding what it means to play team defense. That was on display against Florida.

7. Video: LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger spoke to the media on Monday.

8. Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze apologized and said he wishes he had been “more composed” during a postgame incident on Saturday.

9. Auburn wasn’t expected to be a major challenger to Texas A&M at the beginning of the season. That’s changed with Auburn’s improved play.

10. Freshman John Townsend will start punter for Florida, replacing junior Kyle Christy.

11. The five forced turnovers by Georgia’s defense ranks tied for 117th nationally. That’s not quite good enough.

12. Vanderbilt defensive end Kyle Woestmann believes the Commodores can “exploit a couple of guys” on Georgia’s offensive line.

13. This second half prediction from Athlon Sports has Alabama facing South Carolina the SEC Championship Game.

14. Kentrell Brothers has played a key role in the strong play by Missouri’s defense.

15. Kentucky coach Mark Stoops is trying to keep some perspective following the Wildcats’ blowout loss to Alabama.

16. South Carolina’s defense has improved but Lorenzo Ward’s group still has some work to do.

17. Tennessee is getting ready to host South Carolina, which Butch Jones described as an “extremely complete football team.”

18. There’s a lot to examine in the SEC East. So Barrett Sallee examined the SEC East.

Injuries/Practice Reports

19. Missouri QB James Franklin won’t miss as much time as previously reported. Franklin’s expected to miss 3-5 weeks, per Gary Pinkel.

20. Ole Miss is a beat-up football team as it gets ready to host LSU on Saturday.

21. Running back Matt Jones is the latest Florida starter to be lost for the season. Freshman Kelvin Taylor will see more playing time now.

22. Mark Stoops is optimistic about quarterback Jalen Whitlow’s status following the injury he suffered against Alabama.


23. Read about Vanderbilt offensive line coach Herb Hand’s work with Our Kids, an organization that deals with child sexual abuse.

24. Tennessee placed its band director on administrative leave following last week’s dispute between the band and athletic department.

25. The documentary Schooled: The Price of College Sports will air on Wednesday night on the premium movie channel EPIX.

26. USA Today’s Paul Myerberg re-ranked all 125 FBS college football teams. Alabama is No. 1, followed by Oregon and Clemson.

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SEC Conference Call: Mark Stoops Talks South Carolina

Kentucky coach Mark Stoops talks South Carolina – Week 6 SEC Coaches Conference Call.

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SEC Conference Call: Mark Stoops Talks Florida

Kentucky coach Mark Stoops talks Florida – Week 5 SEC Coaches Conference Call.

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Mark Stoops: “A Real Challenge Ahead Of Us This Week”

Kentucky coach Mark Stoops meets the media ahead of this weekend’s matchup with the Florida Gators.


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