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Honors nice but Mark Stoops knows players value winning more than accolades

Josh Allen. (Jeff Houchin Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

If a team has success, individual accolades normally follows. Doesn’t matter if it is high school, college or the professional level. That’s just the way it works.

That’s why Kentucky football coach Mark Stoops isn’t worried about midseason honors for some players distracting them from what they need to do on the football field.

Linebacker Josh Allen and offensive lineman Bunchy Stallings were the first UK players to be named to a preseason All-American team before running back Benny Snell and safety Darius West were honored.

“They’re worried about playing good and they’re worried about playing good for their team and helping their team win games. But that really doesn’t matter halfway through the season to us. I’ve mentioned it before: I’m very proud of the way those guys are playing individually, but I could go on and on,” Stoops said.

Well, go on a bit about Allen and Stallings, who may just be playing himself into a NFL draft pick, too.

“Josh has played — I think he’s the most dominant player that I’ve seen. Of course I don’t see everybody, but he’s been one of the most dominant defensive players in the game this year,” Stoops said.

What about Stallings?

“Bunchy has had the individual recognition as he deserves, SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week twice. Kind of anchors that group. It shows his versatility jumping in and playing so well at center,” Stoops said. “He’s extremely athletic and he’s been a great leader, so I’m very happy for him and what he’s doing.

“Of course Benny is rock steady every week. You know what you’re going to get, and we need him to have a strong game here this week (against Vanderbilt).”

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