Cats Not Changing Their Tune in Midst of Success
The message Kentucky fans were tiring of six weeks ago is exactly the one they wanted to hear following the Wildcats’ third win in a row.
Stoops and his UK team, after dominating Missouri on the road, would get right back to work on Monday.
Not even Halloween could stop that.
"There will be (no costume),” Stoops said. “I will be in my office working."
In the midst of a troubling two-game losing streak to start the season, Stoops’ regular refrain preaching confidence and consistency became frustrating. It was understandable for fans to want sweeping change, but that’s not what the Cats needed.
Rather, they needed exactly what Stoops was giving them: confidence and consistency. Those are the things that allowed them to eventually learn to approach their work the right way.
“There are so many things that have changed,” Stoops said. “You know, it starts with a lot of things. But their commitment level, the way they are practice, their belief system, discipline, there are a lot of things they are doing better. It makes all the difference in the world.”
With hard work translating on the field, success is breeding more success ahead of a Saturday matchup with Georgia.
“I talked about it last week or the week before, they need to see some results,” Stoops said. “It is good to win some games and win a close game here or there and get paid off for some of the hard work they are doing.”
For Stoops, that’s been a rewarding experience to see a group of players he recruited himself reap the rewards of their own work. The season has had its trying moments, but that’s only serving to make its triumphant ones even better.
“I’ve definitely enjoyed myself," Stoops said. "I’ve never doubted this team would get better, going back to the midst of some football that was not very pretty that some of it would be easily fixed. I’ve enjoyed doing that. I’ve enjoyed the challenge of it. I’ve enjoyed this group because it’s a close team and they’re to work with and they’re certainly buying in.”
The next challenge for UK is to sustain that buy-in, to not let the good things now being said and written about them lead to complacency. The good news on that front is they’ll be hearing that same message they heard even when times were tough. That same confident and consistent refrain.
“It will be the same thing again today: It’s either the pain of discipline or the pain of regret,” Stoops said. “It is one of the other. They better have the discipline to do what it takes to put them in position to win.”