Has Mark Stoops met expectations?
To this point the Mark Stoops era has been filled with highs and lows.
For the first time in a long time, maybe ever, Kentucky is consistently competing at a national level for recruits. The term “Yahtzee” has been coined by UK and signifies gaining a commitment from a recruit.
The Cats have more talent on their roster at each position than in recent years past. Adding the players was absolutely the first step in turning the program around, and in large part, the coaching staff seems to have filled that void.
But now the question quickly becomes, why doesn’t Coach Stoops have more wins to show for it?
Overall, Kentucky is 26-36 and 0-2 in bowl games under Mark Stoops. UK has also never had a winning record in the SEC under Stoops and are 12-28 in conference play.
In my opinion, using SEC conference record as a measuring stick is very unfair. Everyone knows winning in the SEC is a tall order. It’s something that has never been done with consistency at Kentucky. It takes years and years of singing top recruiting classes to build a programs sustainability in America’s best football conference.
So it is hard to judge Stoops on that stat alone.
Here is a look at quite possibly, the most entertaining moment of Stoops career at UK.
USA Today recently released a list of the hardest places to win games in college football. Kentucky was ranked 8th. I believe it.
But entering his 6th season, Stoops, has done just about met the bare minimum to remain the head coach at UK.
The recruiting success is great and making two bowl games is an accomplishment. But year six needs to produce a bowl win or a huge victory of some sorts.
The tides need to turn.
How do the fans feel about Stoops?
It’s a bit harder to gauge the pulse of the football fan base as opposed to basketball. I believe most UK football fans allow more leniency with Coach Stoops than the basketball fans ever would with John Calipari.
Most fans understand the challenge of competing in football at Kentucky. It is something that takes time and patience.
But how much patience?
Mark Stoops hosting Kentucky Sports Radio this morning, and it only took two questions from callers for someone to complain about play-calling in bowl game.
— Jon Hale (@JonHale_CJ) June 21, 2018
To me, the biggest blow of the Stoops era has been the under performance of the high profile players. The two names that come to mind are Drew Barker and Matt Elam.
When Stoops landed these big time in-state recruits I believe many people thought that was the turning point. That by the time that Barker and Elam were upperclassmen most thought that Kentucky would have taken a major step forward.
This didn’t happen. Barker and Elam had disappointing tenures and Mark Stoops will be left to take the heat.
Is Coach Stoops on the hot seat?
If I had to guess at an overall fan approval rating for Coach Stoops, I would peg it at about 60% in favor of the job he has done.
However, if the 2018 season is a disappointing one, I would expect Mark Stoops to be on his way out at Kentucky.
There is only so much false optimism that can be built around a program. Yahtzee or no Yahtzee!
Results have to come this year, period.
Expectations for this year:
I will make this very simple, if Mark Stoops wants job security, he needs to WIN a bowl game this season.
It is not longer enough to simply hit that magic 6 win number and be content to just make a bowl.
The time has come to win a post season game and seperate UK from the other lower tier programs in the SEC.
With Terry “Touchdown” Wilson now at QB, Stoops should have a proven leader running the offense. Combined with Benny Snell who is a top running back in America, there should be no issues scoring enough points to win.
The more I talk to folks, the more I think the commitment of Terry Touchdown might be the most important of the Stoops era. He still has to live up to the hype, but I now believe the hype
— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) December 11, 2017
A marquee victory would also serve Stoops and his staff very well. Beating Louisville is always a top priority.
But the nice thing about the SEC is that there are plenty of opportunities for a big victory to energize your fan base.
What are your thoughts on the job Mark Stoops has done thus far?