By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky seniors Josh Allen, Mike Edwards and Jordan Jones all could have left Kentucky after their junior seasons to try and play in the NFL. Instead, all three came back for a senior season and all three have had a huge impact on Kentucky’s suddenly physical, stingy defense this year.
“ I think it definitely affects the team in a positive way because those guys came back with a mission. Their leadership is paying off and it sets a great example for our young players as well to see what they’re doing and what they’re doing,” Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said.
“Those guys have vested. You see them on the sideline and I mean, I love them, they’re just a good group, but there’s some things in there that I even had to chuckle at. I love it. It takes me back a little bit. I don’t really want to get into it.”
Come on Coach. Give us a little bit.
“Darius West is over there, he’s just like, he’s a maniac. I love it. I mean he’s just like, he wanted to rip people’s faces off on the sideline and I’m like, ‘Easy here, big dog.’ But like I love that. And it’s not in a bad way, it’s like, it’s like getting everybody to play at a high level. They’re all like that,” Stoops said after Saturday’s 28-7 win over Mississippi State.
Stoops was a highly respected defensive coordinator at Florida State before taking the head job at Kentucky. Now he has a big-time defense at UK thanks in large part to the return of Allen, Jones and Edwards.
“”It’s very gratifying to have the team be able to play physical like that and get tough yards,” Stoops said. “When everybody in the stadium knows you’re going to run and you still run it for yards, that’s a good thing. And the defense coming up with big stops all day. Is this right? Did they have 201 yards of total offense? Is that true? Is that the total?”
Yes it was the total and that’s a big reason UK is 4-0 this season and now ranked 17th in the country.