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Will Mark Stoops miss Josh Allen or Benny Snell the most?

Josh Allen celebrated after Tuesday’s win. (Mont Dawson Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

About 45 minutes after Kentucky had beat Penn State 27-24 in the Citrus Bowl in Orlando Tuesday, coach Mark Stoops was at his postgame press conference sitting between running back Benny Snell Jr. and Josh Allen.

Snell became UK’s all-time leading rusher with his performance in the Citrus Bowl and broke the mark held by Sonny Collins since 1975. Josh Allen had three quarterback sacks and a blocked field goal in his final game at UK and finished as the school’s all-time sacks leader.

Both earned All-American honors and helped UK go to three straight bowl games and win 24 games over the last three years, including a 10-3 mark this season that gave UK its first 10-win season since 1977.

So which player will Stoops miss the most next season?

“I’m going to miss them both. And, you know, really, all those guys — this morning, in the hotel pregame speech, I had to be really intentional with myself of not getting emotional because I didn’t want these guys to make fun of me if I cracked and started crying,” Stoops said while letting everyone know how much he would miss all the UK seniors.

“I really mean that, because they mean that much to me and I just greatly appreciate them. We’ve had a lot of fun and we’ve worked extremely hard and come through a lot of things and persevered together and they mean the world to me.”

Penn State coach James Franklin complimented both Allen, a potential top five NFL draft pick, and Snell for playing in the bowl game rather than sitting out to avoid any risk of injury. Snell said he never though of not finishing what he started and Allen came back to UK for his senior season to help improve his draft status.

“This is the reason why guys come back,” Allen said.  “If you’re projected to be one of the top players coming back, I advise to come back because you could have a season like I did, become the national defensive player of the year, projected top five pick, win bowl games.

“I have no better feeling than right now. I feel great. Great team win. Offense did a heck of a job. Defense did a heck of a job. Special teams did a heck of a job. And I’m just living it right now.”

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  1. He gave the right answer, “BOTH.”

  2. Next man up! We will miss all the seniors, but bring in the freshman and bring on next year. Teams should not load the box on us next year, because Benny is gone. Teams will have a harder time blocking our rushers, because there will no be one player to double team.

    If our offense can take a step forward and our defense hold it own with minimum slippage, we could have an equally good season next year. Look how much Woodson improved from his sophomore to junior season! With eight home games and some winnable road games, we could have a possible repeat season. How long since that happened at Kentucky?

  3. Eddie Gran is definitely bottom 5 OC in the country at this time. Some people want to give him credit for developing Benny…you have got to be kidding me..that is physical talent and mindset. Do you want to give him credit for under using Conrad as well and for developing Wilson and preparing him for what we saw last game. As I said many times during the season…this team got by on talent in spite of Gran. Do we want to give Gran credit for developing Dorian Baker during his career? Are their any other receivers that he has developed in last couple of years? What did he do to develop Bowden?..talent baby. Maybe some of those who have said he is in Top 5 will have enough outside influence to get another AD to hire him away.

    1. Wilson must grow more skill wise in 2019 for UK to repeat at least 9 wins. That is a given. That is also Hinshaw’s/Gran’s problem. UK needs a lot more talent at WR than they have shown in order to throw more in 2019. That is recruiting more talent, 4 star talent too. Players like Alli, Epps, Hughes, Riggs. and others not named, etc. have not caught near enough passes at UK thus far on a team that was supposed to have a better than average receiving corp. in 2018. That said, it is hard to pass the ball when the OL can’t protect your QB, or the QB holds the ball too long, or everybody is covered down field, and receivers can’t get open, including TE’s over the middle. Remember the Georgia game. Wilson was running for his life. But it all starts with your QB and quick releases and accuracy, and receivers catching the ball. I look for the UK offense to remain run oriented in 2019 just like they were in 2018 with Gran calling plays for Stoops. That could be a problem without a back like Snell too. Gran bought himself more time with the season UK just had. Hard to knock an OC with a 10 win season under his belt. A team that finished 2nd in the SEC East.

  4. Gran did definitely buy himself some time with the overall success of this year and Stoops did as well while he is cashing his bonus checks and national acclaim for the year he had. Recruiting to date has been decent and not sure of what other teams in SEC have done but have noticed that UT now has (12) 4 stars committed and we have 4. Stoops is riding the national wave now and can’t blame him for that but real test of his credentials will be a year from now.

  5. Gran is what kept this team from being 12 – 1.

    1. A Top 5 OC does not lose to a bad UT under any circumstances!!

      1. You would think, but Stoops/Gran has lost to UT just about every year they have been here Mike, except one, and UT almost won that one. Brooks couldn’t beat them either. It is the Tennessee Orange syndrome, UK just chokes. Been watching that take place for years. Tennessee always wants it more than UK it seems to me. I put that on Stoops. But I agree UK should have beaten UT this year, and be sitting at 11-1 right now.

        1. I am also including the loss to A&M during the regular season in which if UK had won that one they would have finished 11-1, and 12-1 with the bowl win.

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