By LARRY VAUGHT
Bowl games should be a time for players to obviously focus on winning a game but also to enjoy the rewards for a winning season.
Kentucky coach Mark Stoops wants to make sure his players prepare properly for Penn State on Tuesday but also enjoy being in Orlando.
“We had a little bit of free time this morning and I encouraged the players to get out and enjoy the sun around the pool” Stoops said after Thursday’s practice. “They are going to go to one of the theme parks around here tonight (Thursday), and I encouraged them to get out.
“This morning there were a bunch of guys out there, so I went out and walked around the pool and there was a bunch of guys out there getting a little sun, enjoying it and they commented on it as well. A year ago we were in some cold weather (in Nashville) and this year it is really nice to be down here.”
Stoops noted that every player arrived safely following Christmas break to prepare for the team’s first New Year’s Day bowl since 1998. Kentucky also has a chance to win 10 games for the first time since 1977. This is also UK’s third straight bowl game.
“We have been to two bowl games in a row now. We didn’t walk off of the field with that (winning) trophy and that is a big piece of it to get that victory here this week,” Stoops said.
The coach admitted getting a 10th win for only the third time in UK football history motivates him and hopefully his team.
“That is a big piece of it to get down here and play well and get that 10th victory. I’ve talked to the team about that. I want them to enjoy this experience, when we get free time, enjoy it and enjoy themselves,” Stoops said. “But when it is time to lock in at meetings and at practice to really be locked in and energized and they got off to a good start today.”