Mark Stoops made no promises other than improvement.
And the Kentucky coach thought his team showed at least that in a dominant 59-14 win over Tennessee-Martin on Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium.
"I've been saying all along that we're better," Stoops said after the 45-point win, UK's largest margin of victory since 2002. "It was pretty evident today we were better."
What the head coach saw was improved quarterback play with Patrick Towles completing 20 of 29 passes for 377 yards and a touchdown and rushing for 30 yards and another 23-yard score.
What Stoops saw was improved running with six rushing touchdowns from four different players, including two scores each from true freshman Mikel Horton and transfer Braylon Heard, who managed two touchdowns on two carries before sitting the rest of the game with an ankle sprain.
"He might never want to play again, because now he has to have the highest rush average in school history, in the nation," offensive coordinator Neal Brown joked of the Nebraska transfer's 116 yards for a 58-yard per-carry average. "He may just say, 'I'm done.'"
Brown, who was all frustration during last season's 2-10 season, was all smiles after the victory, in which UK totaled 656 yards of offense, the fourth-most in school history.
"Our talent's getting better," Brown said. "We haven't arrived by any means, but our talent is getting better. They're eager, really eager to do well, and they've been a fun group to coach."
It was the first time the Cats scored six touchdowns on the ground since 2007 and it was the first time the offense eclipsed 50 points since scoring 63 in a win over Western Kentucky in 2010.
Even though UK was playing without three scholarship wide receivers, 10 different wideouts caught passes, including true freshman Blake Bone, who took a Towles pass 29 yards to the end zone to make it 28-0 midway through the second quarter.
"We're more talented," Towles said. "The people who were here have gotten so much better, and we've got some good new additions."
The Cats' 446 yards of offense in the first half was better than any game total last season except the 675 yards they put up on Miami (Ohio), the third-most in school history.
Yes, the inflated numbers were against a Football Championship Subdivision opponent, which UK has never lost to, and Stoops noted that the Cats' next opponent, Ohio University, is a "significant, significant" upgrade, but the numbers were enough to promise continued improvement.
"It was important to go out and play well," Stoops said.
The other improvements Stoops saw included a defense that set up 21 points off of five UT-Martin turnovers, including two interceptions by a Cats' defense that had just three all of last season, tied for fewest in the nation.
This was from a UK defense that forced just 15 turnovers last season.
Stoops jokingly took credit for a stunning one-handed grab by junior-college transfer safety A.J. Stamps.
"I got very creative there when we designed a very fancy defense and went out there and made that play," he said. "I taught them how to go at it one hand and grab that."
Stoops might also take credit for the 89-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown by Khalid Henderson after true freshman Kendall Randolph forced it with a hard hit.
The Cats held UT-Martin to 398 yards of offense, with 167 of that coming in the fourth quarter with reserves playing.
UK didn't punt until less than 11 minutes remained and after the first series piloted by backup quarterback Reese Phillips.
Najee Ray's 1-yard run with 12 minutes to go ended the Cats' chance to get their first shutout since Sept. 5, 2009, versus Miami (Ohio). With six minutes to go, Jarod Neal hit Caylon Weathers with a 15-yard pass to make it 52-14.
"Late in the game, it was aggravating, but that's where we're at," Stoops said of the late yardage. "We're not deep."
But at 1-0, Stoops is starting to see improvement.
"They have bought in, they have believed in everything that we're feeding them," he said. "I really felt good about the energy and the enthusiasm and their focus."