Kentucky Wildcats Get Older, Stronger And More Experienced
By Dan Harralson
Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops had the pleasure of closing out SEC Media Days 2014.
The four-day event allows for all media members, radio broadcasters and coaches with select players of all 14 SEC schools to be together in one venue. It only takes place once a year and it takes the best of everyone, especially in the closing hours of the last day.
Questions were hard to come by as everyone was tired, tired of the week-long event that drain you – and Stoops sided with media members as he took the podium last of all 14 SEC head coaches. When the moderator asked for any more questions – and no questions were asked – Stoops said, “I’m ready to go home, too.”
Before Stoops put the final touches on SEC Media Days 2014, he talked about the program that he is building in Lexington.
"Our players have put in the time," said Stoops. "Our training staff has done a great job getting them prepared. We’re physically better. Hopefully that will translate to more wins.
"We played eight true freshmen last year, four first‑year junior college players. We have 15 returning starters and 36 guys in our program that have started at least one game. So we’re starting to build a little bit of depth."
The Wildcats are still young, but in Stoops' eyes, he sees progress.
"We’re still a little young. We have roughly 60 percent of our team that has been a part of our program since January 2013 when I arrived. With that being said, we’re excited."
The youth movement into progression continues offensively.
"I think offensively you’re going to see a big improvement," said Stoops. "I know everybody’s asked a lot about our quarterback situation. We’re still unsettled on who the starter is going to be, but I’m very confident that we’re going to improve at that position. It starts with the players around him.
"Our wide receivers will be better. Four of our top‑five pass catchers were first‑year guys in our program a year ago — three true freshmen and one junior college transfer. Our leading rusher was a true freshman. Those guys being a little older, a little stronger, more experienced is going to help the quarterbacks as well."
2014 Kentucky Wildcats Schedule Prediction
Wins: UT-Martin, Ohio, Louisiana-Monroe
Losses: Florida, South Carolina, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, Georgia, Tennessee, Louisville