Stoops 'Impressed' With First Day of Spring Practice

Stoops 'Impressed' With First Day of Spring Practice

The Kentucky football team had its first practice of the spring on Tuesday morning. UK head coach Mark Stoops thought that the practice, in which the Cats wore no pads, was a solid start to the 15-practice spring period.

“Our players have worked really hard through the winter,” Stoops said. “Our strength and conditioning coaches have done a great job of preparing our players.”

Stoops likes the mix of experienced players and talented newcomers that he has on the 2024 roster.

“I’m just excited. Really excited about this year,” Stoops said. “I feel like we have a really good nucleus of players – players that have been here with good experience and understand our culture and what we expect. I think we have a lot of good additions.”

Those new additions stretch to the coaching staff, where new offensive coordinator Bush Hamdan and offensive line coach Eric Wolford have joined the staff in recent months.

With a new offensive coordinator comes the installation of the new offense and any wrinkles that the coach, Hamdan in this case, likes to employ. How did the Cats handle it on the first day?

“The first day, today, I was very impressed,” Stoops said. “There were obviously some mistakes, some areas where we have a lot of practices to clean up. But overall, procedure, alignments, motions, plays, I really like what we’re doing. I really feel good about Bush and the creativity that he has and the experience that he has and the knowledge. Overall, first day went very well.”

One thing that Stoops hopes to address is the pace at which the Cats run their offense. Last season, UK was among the more deliberate teams in that area but Stoops knows that being able to play at a faster pace could be important.

“I feel really good about the tempo,” Stoops said. “Just the way we’re getting plays off quicker. Getting through practice, ripping through a lot of plays in the same amount of time. Things are going well, off to a good start.”

The one thing that Stoops believes, as he always has, is that an offense must be balanced between the running and passing games. That will not change with Hamdan in charge of the offense.

“I think it’s important to keep that balance,” Stoops said. “It starts with being physical and being able to run the ball.”

Kentucky returns 10 starters on defense, a side of the ball that should be a strong unit for the Cats in 2024.

“Defensively, a good mix of players who have played a lot of football for us,” Stoops said. “We need that experience. And we have have some good newcomers.”

As spring practice gets underway, Stoops is optimistic about where his team is and where they could be headed.

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