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Mark Stoops “Pleased” Following Spring Game

Kentucky fans came out for the Blue-White game this afternoon at Kroger Field in what was some really perfect weather to be consuming football in. The sweet smell of turf inside the palace of Kroger Field was a moment I haven't felt in what feels like forever now. It's been nearly five months since the football program has had a home game and while this was just a limited inner-squad scrimmage, I was happy to be there.

Mark Stoops was frustrated with his team last week after hosting an open practice to the fans and media, but he seemed to be in a much more positive tone after today’s access to the public. He walked away feeling “pleased” about this team and where it stands as of the spring.

The head coach says they left the performance real limited, “vanilla” was actually the word of choice, just trying to get a feel for things and get some game-like experience for the new guys.

Mark says the team is down nine defensive lineman at the moment, which he expects six of them to be for sure good-to-go by the season. He says he likes what this team will look like once they get everyone healthy. "When we get everybody back, the pieces are in place to have a heck of a football team."

He also complimented the depth of the roster currently, saying the team had “a lot of surgeries” from last fall, getting guys to recover from the brutal stretch of conference play and healing up from their battle wounds.

A big pro that I took away was when Stoops made sure to let the media know about the more faster pace the offense was being conducted at as that was a major complaint from last season and honestly for the majority of his career. He said going off the top of his head he believes they are leaving about “20 seconds on the clock” at the current pace, and the no-huddle-and-go style is one that Vandagriff thrives in.

Two additional offensive notes are that they seem to be really high on the quarterback room. While Brock Vandagriff is the number one option, they’re impressed with what they’re seeing from Cutter Boley and Beau Allen. Cutter got reps as quarterback option number two today, but they’re saying that Beau is much stronger, more mature, and better than he was when he left the program last time. They think they have a lot of great options behind the pigskin with Brock definitively leading the way.

Lastly, Mark said this might be his “deepest wide receiver room” since he’s been at Kentucky. The program returned Dane Key and Barion Brown - who will be the headliners - but there’s a lot of buzz about receiver Hardley Gilmore that impressed people through the spring camp. So, the offense seems to be in a really good place at the moment with still a long time to go in the off-season.

Overall, he was really pleased with the afternoon and says it was good to be out in front of the fans to project what this team will look like down the road. After talking to the staff and the players, May will have a lot of individual work for the players as some of them receive their last chunk of time off before the summer camp takes them on.

You can listen to Mark Stoops answer questions about spring practice, what’s next, and who has been sparking interest from the roster on our YouTube channel below.

Kentucky will enter another long stretch of behind the scenes work developing each players’ individual game, getting their bodies right for summer camp and preparing for the long haul that comes from honestly around June through December that takes a huge toll on the players.

Their first game of the season is slated for August 31st against Southern Miss.

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