Mark Stoops: 'It's an uncomfortable situation for me'

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Wednesday July 17, 2013

Posted by: Chris Vannini on July 17, 2013

Mark Stoops will always be a Stoops.

At his first media day as a head coach, the first question he was asked was about brother Bob's comments about the depth of the SEC and Big 12.

"That's got to be my first question?" Mark said. "I certainly understand Bob defending his conference. I just left the ACC. I think everybody's going to defend what they're doing in their conference.

"With that being said, I don't think any of us need to defned what's going on here in the SEC. The success we've had in the SEC speaks for itself. There are some other good conferences out there, as well. ... It didn't surprise me. We talk a lot. I wasn't at Kentucky last year, so it didn't offend me that badly."

As for his current team, excitement has been through the roof for the Big Blue Nation. More than 50,000 fans showed up at the spring game, and the 2014 recruiting class is high in the rankings right now.

But on Tuesday, Hugh Freeze talked about tempering expectations a little bit. Kentucky went 2-10 last year. Does Stoops want to temper expectations? It's not really his style.

"It's really, to be honest with you, an uncomfortable situation for me. Because it's not my style to try to temper those expectations," he said. "I think the educated fan knows where we're at as a program and knows we have a lot of work to do. But the flipside of that is I want the excitement. I want them there. I want them to support our players that we have right now. I want them at all of our home games.

"So we plan on going out and competing each and every week. We understand the challenges are there. I'm glad the fans are excited, and I'm glad they're showing up in large numbers and our season tickets are up and people are excited and anticipating a good year, because we certainly are."

Stoops was also asked about up-tempo offenses. It has been a hot topic in the SEC this offseason, with various coaches questioning the safety of it. Stoops said that, as a defensive coach, he has had his problems against up-tempo offenses. Of course, he's going to have his own up-tempo offense by hiring offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach Neal Brown from Texas Tech.

Asked why he decided to go with an up-tempo offense, Stoops pointed to some UK history.

"I thought it gave us the best opportunity to win at Kentucky," he said. "I like the style of play, I like the roots of it coming back to Kentucky when Hal Mumme was there and had some success and those sort of things. With Neal having a background at Kentucky, I thought it gave us the best opportunity to move the football."



Chris Vannini is the lead writer for and has covered Michigan State sports for The State News, The Oakland Press and He writes a weekly column for the Detroit Free Press on behalf of SB Nation. Vannini lives in Big Ten country, so his foot speed is far from SEC caliber, but his pulse on coaches is hard to match. Be sure to follow @CoachingBuzz on twitter and send your feedback to

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News,, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to

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