Stoops, Cats Continue to Adapt to Changing Times

Stoops, Cats Continue to Adapt to Changing Times

The world of college athletics is changing on a daily basis. Kentucky football head coach Mark Stoops knows this and he knows that if he, his staff and his team don’t embrace those changes, they could get left behind.

Stoops touched on this topic during his press conference on Friday at Kentucky’s annual Media Day event at Kroger Field. Stoops knows that college athletics, especially college football, is much different than it was when he arrived in Lexington 11 years ago.

“I think the times are very different right now than when I stepped into this job,” Stoops said. “As I mentioned many, many different times, you better be ready and willing to adapt and to change or else you will be irrelevant very quickly. So, we’re trying to keep up with those times.”

A lot of those changes have to do with player personnel. The coaching staff now must recruit both high school players and players from the transfer portal. And it also includes plenty of roster turnover every season.

“You look at the roster, the roster turnover, and there’s not a hundred guys in that room that have been there for years and have heard me talk and heard us build that culture,” Stoops said. “It’s different. We have to do it very quickly. We have to adapt. We have to build this team. I feel like we have a very good football team, but we have to come together and be united and be a team very quickly.”

It’s also a different mindset for Stoops and his staff. When he arrived in Lexington 11 years ago, it was about building the roster.

“You’ve heard me say a million times, even went over this with our team a bit yesterday, but the first 10 years you constantly heard me talk about build, build, build, build a winning culture, select the right teammates, constantly developing them,” Stoops said. “Things are different. We have to do that very quickly now.”

There are other factors that also contribute to making up a roster under the current rules. Stoops and his staff know they have to keep learning and adapting.

“I think even between last year and right now, I learned different things,” Stoops said. “The approach has got to be different. Last year was the first time the transfer portal, NIL – that’s been involved for a few years now – but I think last year was the first year that it just kind of hit me, hit us, like right in the face, what you’re dealing with, the change. I’m not saying good, bad or indifferent, it’s just different.”

All of these factors keep the coaching staff on their toes.

“We’re adapting. We’re approaching it in some ways differently,” Stoops said. “Don’t ask me how. I mean, that’s internal. But there’s just things that I need to have a different approach and take a different approach.”

Continuing to adapt and adjust will continue to be a must in today’s ever-changing college athletics landscape.


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