UK's record-breaking success on the recruiting trail has been well documented. So too have the flood of freshmen making immediate splashes and the physical transformation of the players already on the roster through the High Performance program.
On Wednesday, Jordan Swindle put a number on the change.
This time two years ago, the senior offensive tackle revealed only five of his teammates topped 19 miles per hour at top speed according to UK's player tracking system. At last check, that total has grown exponentially.
"Just last week we had thirty-three people run nineteen miles per hour, so that's a huge improvement for our team," Swindle said at SEC Media Days on Wednesday. "There's guys running twenty-two miles per hour, just crazy speeds."
Stoops pays close attention to that kind of thing.
"That's the information that I got from our strength and conditioning people, and that's encouraging," Stoops said. "I know each year, as I look at the data, I see improvement; I see the strength and the speed improving."
And with that improvement in physical ability -- not to mention the $165 million in facility upgrades in progress -- come mounting expectations. Stoops won't hide from that either.
"We should be better moving into our third year," Stoops said. "Progress needs to be made. We said that from day one."
In the eyes of many, progress will be defined first and foremost by wins and losses. Considering UK went 5-7 a year ago, the six-win mark -- and the bowl eligibility that comes with it -- is a natural and oft-mentioned measuring stick.
"I don't if I see or feel the pressure, but I definitely know that's our goal and so we're striving for that every week," said Swindle, making his second appearance in as many years at the SEC's annual summer media circus. "We have meetings and every week we talk about going to bowl games."
"We're not making any predictions or anything, but it's a main topic around the team," senior safety A.J. Stamps said.
Consider the Cats fell a win shy of a bowl after starting the 2014 season 5-1, it makes sense getting that sixth win would come up often. They'll also be calling on the experience gained in coming up short as they look to get it done.
"We were young," Swindle said. "We had a lot of players last year that it was their first year playing and so they didn't know how to have success early and then once that grind comes in they kind of don't know how to handle themselves. They don't know how to take care of their bodies. They don't know to manage their time. That's why the decline at the end of the year I think happened. This year we're definitely more mature."
Maturity, however, means the Cats must not let visions of a 13th game in December or January consume them.
"We talked about a day-to-day approach and we still stay with that," Stoops said. "So we're never going to get ahead of ourselves. We have a long way to go to build the program to where we want to be."
"We talk about (reaching a bowl), but we just have to focus on getting better every day," senior defensive tackle Melvin Lewis said. "We have to start off with the small things and not think ahead and stuff like that. We just have to worry about working hard right now and playing Louisiana-Lafayette Sept. 5."
Lewis and his teammates have given Stoops reason to be feel good on that front.
"Year three, we should be better," Stoops said. "We are better. I think one of the big things that stands out to me is just the unity of our football team. They're all in together. They've worked hard throughout winter conditioning. They've worked hard this summer. They're anxious and more confident. The more work you put in, the more talent you have, the more confident you can be."
That speed doesn't hurt either.