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Mark Stoops “really not worried” about Florida streak

Can Kentucky’s defense stop Florida Saturday? (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

How worried is Mark Stoops about Kentucky’s 31-game losing streak to Florida?

“Really not worried about that at all. To act like our players don’t hear that or read that or see that would probably be a lie,” the Kentucky coach said. “I’m sure they probably do.

“But we’re not very hung up on it. Worried about this game and this week and how we play.”

Maybe that’s true. But the UK players have not forgot the way they gave away last year’s game to Florida with some unforgivable mental mistakes.

“Whatever we need to use for motivation, we can use it. Whatever individual needs to use they can,” Stoops said. “Last year’s game, because it’s a new staff (at Florida), we don’t really watch it too much. I think our players know that we had a missed opportunity.”

One plus for UK Saturday night is that other than quarterback, Kentucky has a veteran team. Playing in The Swamp, that can be a huge benefit even if UK has not won there in recent memory.

“Certainly we know there are hostile environments and it’s always difficult but yes, I think we embrace that challenge. These guys have been through it quite a few times. This will be another one,” Stoops said.

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  1. I don’t know about Stoops. He is down right silly sounding at times. The more he says about the streak the sillier he sounds. He probably should not even comment about it. I say if he cares anything about UK football fans he should know this, they have endured this amazing streak by one team against UK for 31 straight years. It would be nice to see it end soon. Five of them wins have been against his teams. He owns that streak.

    1. Let me add, If 31 straight losses in a row to one team don’t motivate you, you are in the wrong business! It should make a team come out focused, mad as hell, and ready to go to war.

      1. or a nonchalant, what does it matter attitude.

        1. Wow. UK has not been owned by Florida the past few years like they have in the past. Stoops should have had 2 wins over the Gators before tonight. One was taken from him and one was his fault. But faulting the players for not being motivated is just not right. If you don’t show up to play football you get hurt. No one goes on the field without the desire to win. Yes UK has shot themselves in the foot so often they should change their name to the UK Barney Fifes. But to think they aren’t motivated is just wrong. You can’t play the sport that way. It’s dangerous.

          It’s talent that wins football games and it’s always been way easier to recruit in a state where they don’t play in the snow very often.

          I’ve seen some really negative views of Stoops here but this takes the cake. He has done well with the program. You don’t turn around an SEC football program over night especially Kentucky. They have a tradition just like the basketball team does only their tradition is losing when you absolutely should win and doing it in a ridiculous manner. That is a very hard thing to change.

          After what I saw tonight the dire predictions of this season made by some look pretty darn silly if you want to talk about silly stuff. To win like they did AT the Swamp against a ranked team says a lot about their chances of exceeding 7 wins this year. That’s progress. I’ll take that any time. UK could bend a few rules and put together great team. It was done in the 1970’s but look what it got them.

          1. King, hindsight makes genius’s of us all.

          2. Larry even before yesterday I remembered that in 3 of the previous 4 games Stoops coached against Florida the Cats lost by less than 6 points. I knew that before the game. I dang sure remembered how they lost last year missing coverage a receiver TWICE in the last minutes of the game and I dang sure remember that they had the game taken away from them when Florida got 35 seconds to run a play instead of a delay of game penalty. You can take cheap shots all you want. You seem to be doing little else at me and at Stoops. But even before the win Stoops had the team playing MUCH better against Florida. Maybe you didn’t remember that before the victory yesterday. Maybe hindsight doesn’t make a genius of everyone after all. You seem to lack that. I remember losing to Florida by 40 or more for year after year. Things have been different since Stoops took over in spite of the fact you have no hindsight.

          3. King, whatever. I always gave the team and Coach credit when it was due. I also knew that 31 straight is a hurdle UK had to get over, NOW, to be successful going forward! They won, I’m thrilled. Five of the recent loses where under Stoops however. UK gave the game away last year, Read my post elsewhere. Plenty of UK football fans besides me were sick of losing to this team for 31 straight years, and 50 years of frustration in a less than stellar football program played in a football driven conference. It was a great win. and I am thrilled UK finally won a game in this lopsided series. You can be the hero here and take shots at me for my views, but Stoops has it to do still yet in the SEC. It is one game, not a season. Progress has been made. He helped himself and this program last night. I give him credit. You satisfied.

          4. It wasn’t the losses that you criticized. It was the “silly” comments that got me. That and the insinuation that they didn’t really care by the Prof.. You say Stoops owned part of that streak? He did but you expect miracles. I live in the real world And let’s talk about those games under Stoop against Florida. His first year he had mostly leftover players from the Joker era. The team went 2-10. If you think any coach turns an SEC program around in one year you are tripping. It doesn’t happen. Still the score against Florida wasn’t terrible. It was 24-7. Considering the way Florida had beaten the team in the past that wasn’t terrible. Second year the score was 36-30. Six points. In the Swamp. In 3 overtimes and we all know how that game ended – with Florida getting a ridiculous break that gave them the win. I still think UK won that game personally. It was just stolen from them. Stoops second year.

            Third year it was 14-9. Again a close game. The next year was the ONLY game Florida blew out UK in the Stoops era. It was 45-7. Last year it was 28-25. I’ll put that loss entirely on Stoops. But it was NOT a lack of effort and certainly not a blowout loss. UK certainly should have won that game but coaching mistakes down the stretch, and it was coaching, hurt them bad. I did not see any lack of effort. I haven’t seen that in any UK – Florida game even when UK was getting thrashed year after year.

            This year they FINALLY got over the hump. Yeah the streak was ridiculous but let’s not forget that UK nearly had one just as bad with Tenn.. UK has been bad a long time. Stoops ended BOTH of those streaks.

            Coaches don’t always speak in eloquent terms. They are coaches, not poets. Stoops has done well by UK. He is not “silly”. It takes time to turn around a losing program and let’s face it, that’s what UK has been for a long time. They haven’t been a top level team since the 70’s. And before that it was the 50’s.

            Instead of thinking instant winning traditions you should be thinking Marvin Lewis. He took the Bengals from long time losers to the top of the NFL for a while. I don’t know what they’re like now because I have parted ways with the NFL. I couldn’t tell you what they did last year or the year before. But I know what he did. It took a long time to make the Bengals a winner again. It will take Stoops time also.

            People loved Rich Brooks for taking UK to bowl games. Twice he won 8 games but it took him 4 years to get over .500. And he inherited a program in much better shape than Brooks did. Give the guy a chance and see if he doesn’t surpass what Brooks did. He’s on the right track in spite of what you think about him. BTW Brooks obviously never beat Florida. Or Tenn.. He won 4 games in the conference one time. Stoops has done it twice.

          5. I agree, the games against Florida have been close under Stoops save the one, but close won’t cut it KIng. Last year’s game was just poor coaching which he is in charge of. In earlier posts I also stated that his record against UT and Louisville, particularly the Cards and Petrino have been dismal. Stoops is 4-1 against Mississippi State.

            My problem with Stoops was the way he approached and has talked about the Florida Streak. To me it sounded like it didn’t matter a whole lot in comments like “we don’t dwell on it.” I thought to myself, well Coach the fans dwell on it, and have for 31 years. I would have preferred a comment like, “Yeah, it’s 31, and we plan to go out and try and do something about that.” I didn’t like the way he cut Dawson loose. Shannon Dawson was a good OC. Still is at SM.

            In this day and age it is all about winning. Let the basketball team flounder around in the bottom half of the SEC for 50 years and see what happens to you basketball bennies when it comes to supporting the head coach. Many UK football fans are sick of being jerked around for 50 year with a poor product. You are the man who I recall recently posted on here “I can’t get too excited about the football team.” Yo.u referenced their past failures and poor record. I couldn’t blame you

            I give Stoops credit. He has improved the football program at UK, I stated in earlier posts that he deserves more time, Is he the coach that can bring this football program to championship level in the SEC? That is the mark and the goal. I don’t know, but he took a big step Saturday night. That UK team came to play. That is all most of us football fans want. The games ahead this season will make or break Mark Stoops in year 6. He has a good looking team and he deserves credit. I hope he takes UK to Atlanta, but he has it to do. I am still not fully convinced he is the man for the job, but I will give him the benefit of the doubt and cheer them on. It is SEC football, and he has a tough schedule ahead. Time will tell.

  2. I really think this is the game that will dictate what the season will be special or not. There’s too much at stake the streak and the sickness that has taken place to a coach and a player should inspired the players get the job done. Go Cats

    1. I like your thinking Cats79

  3. I also think this game will be a season defining game as well. If we can’t find the fight, fortitude, revenge, will, and personal accountability and pride to take out these Gators, as currently constituted, then it will never happen as long as Mullen stays there. This should be a Stoop’s defining game as well. Will he show the maturity of a coach who has been building a 6 year resume with his best team yet by getting his biggest signature win yet or will he revert back to being a coach looking shell shocked on the sidelines while the team totally disintegrates in front of all of us?

  4. Thanks Larry your the best in what you do. Great coverage of telling how it is.

  5. Congratulations to the UK Wildcats and Coach Stoops for a great win for this program.

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