Seniors Setting the Tone in Louisville Prep

Riding the momentum of a dominant performance against Charlotte and anticipating a rivalry game against Louisville, the Kentucky Wildcats haven’t lacked a thing in practice.

“It’s been a really good week of preparation so far,” Mark Stoops said. “Guys got a lot of energy, good focus, been some good practices.”

Leading those practices as they have all season have been UK’s seniors, who will play the final home game of their college careers at noon on Saturday.

“I know it’s very important to them and I’m proud of them,” Stoops said. “I’m proud of the way they’ve led.”

Those seniors haven’t had the easiest job, as they arrived at UK to play for Joker Phillips. Subsequently, he was replaced by Stoops, leaving the veterans to learn a new system and philosophy.

“Like I said early on, those guys never asked for any change,” Stoops said. “They don’t know what’s going on with coaches and things like that. They’re really always put in the middle of it, but they’ve embraced us and our staff since we’ve been here and tried to do their part in changing the culture and having a winning attitude and a winning environment.”

As Stoops’ recruits have arrived on campus, those seniors have reinforced their coach’s “All In” message. In so doing, they’ve helped lay a foundation for the future.

“They’ve been fun to work with since the moment I arrived on campus,” Stoops said. “They’ve really bought in and wanted to make a difference, in wanting to make a change in the culture and what we’re doing and winning.”

There’s a long way to go on that front, but Saturday offers a chance to take an important step. That’s not lost on those seniors.

“We’re still trying to establish that and these guys are fighting all the way through with this last game, with an opportunity to get a sixth victory and go to a bowl game,” Stoops said.