By LARRY VAUGHT
New Kentucky defensive line coach Anwar Stewart was recruited to play at Kentucky by coach Bill Curry, a defensive minded coach, and finished his career playing for Hal Mumme, a coach who always went all-in for offense.
Stewart, a linebacker at UK, played 13 years in the Canadian Football League at defensive end after leaving UK and won four Grey Cup championships. He was the CFL’s outstanding defensive player in 2004, was a two-time all-star and had 70 sacks and 10 interceptions.
UK’s offense was led by quarterback Tim Couch, receiver Craig Yeast and running back Anthony White during Stewart’s career. Stewart enjoyed his time at UK but not the lack of focus Mumme put on defense.
“We were good. We went to back to back bowls. It was a great time for Kentucky football and we really enjoyed it despite not really getting to show the talent we did have on defense. We had a top 20 defense with coach Curry and (assistant) coach (Mike Archer). We were tough, played hard,” Stewart said.
“I get you have to score points to win games but there’s nothing wrong with having a great offense and great defense and we could have had that.”
Now he thinks Kentucky could have both this year after winning a combined 18 games the previous two years.
“I get you have got to score points to win games,” Stewart said. “But it is great to have a combination of offense and defense. Look at us. (offensive coordinator) Eddie Gran is amazing. Look at what they have been doing here defensively. That recipe for winning is awesome.
“We are excited about Kentucky football right now. Our goal is to get to the SEC championship. Buy tickets. I know it is tough times, but come out and support us. This is going to be a special season.”
Stewart believes he inherited a “great group” of players from former defensive line coach Derrick LeBlanc along with terrific players recruited by Mark Stoops and his staff.
“The future is really bright here,” Stewart said. “The young men here know they will get pushed. Everybody has got to elevate their game. Guys have got to earn it to play.
“We are going to compete. One thing coach Stoops talks about is always competing. The players that elevate and compete at the highest level, that’s the ones we will roll with.”