HOOVER, Ala. — Just one play, or one call, or one minute.
There were many things the Kentucky football players and coaches wish they could have changed about last season, a season that started with so much promise with a 5-1 record and ended in a six-game skid and no bowl game.
The past came up time after time Wednesday during Kentucky's turn at Southeastern Conference Media Days.
But the Cats contingent wanted to think of it in the context of how the painful past can help shape the future.
It's bowl game or bust, the players said.
"I feel like if we go to a bowl game, that's a success for this year," senior offensive lineman Jordan Swindle said. "I want to do better than that, but that's my minimum bar of getting our success."
Kentucky hasn't been to a bowl game since 2010. The goal isn't just talked about in hushed tones or hopeful whispers.
It's the main topic among the team, safety A.J. Stamps said.
"That should be every team's goal, to get to a bowl game," he said. "Most definitely we talk about it a lot."
A bowl game would be the next progression for a team that Stoops said has shown growth in each of his first two seasons, more than doubling the number of wins from year one and carrying three strong recruiting classes into year three.
"We've worked extremely hard to make Kentucky relevant in the SEC East," Stoops told a large media contingent at The Wynfrey Hotel. "As we move into this third year, we really feel like we put ourselves in a position to do just that."
But making UK relevant in the SEC East means having to look at last year and figure out what went wrong, what needs to change, what can be improved.
"We gotta learn to finish games," Stoops said. "And we gotta learn to make plays when certain games are on the line. Because we certainly had our opportunities and we need to capitalize on that."
There was a missed interception in the Louisville game, a play clock that might have altered the finish at Florida.
There are countless other things the players and coaches have discussed this offseason.
"We have a very small margin of error," Stoops said. "We need to play extremely well and play extremely clean to compete with some of these teams in this league."
Knowing a few small things could've altered the season drives Stamps, the junior-college safety who led Kentucky in interceptions last season with four.
"I wouldn't say eats at me, but we had a game here and there," Stamps said. "We had the Florida game and the Louisville game. But we kind of use that as motivation, we don't kind of dwell on it and let it lag on us or whatever.
"We kind of use it as motivation to build us up and let us know that we can compete with other teams."
So when Stoops and his staff talk about discipline and doing the little things right, the players said they can see so many places last season where things could've gone differently.
A lot of the problems from last season came from immaturity and a lack of depth at several key positions.
"We were young," Swindle said. "We had a lot of players last year that it was their first year playing and so they didn't know how to have success early, and then once that grind comes in, they don't know how to handle themselves and take care of their bodies and manage their time.
"That's why our decline at the end of the year, I think, happened. This year we're definitely more mature. We've got a lot of players back that have grown and gotten stronger and bigger and faster. So I'm definitely excited for this year."
Stamps admitted there were times when he wasn't mature enough to handle the adversity.
"Just don't count your eggs before they hatch," he said of the players looking for a bowl game after five wins instead of focusing on the details to get to a bowl game. "We got too excited, got carried away. We learned that every game, take it one game at a time."
Stoops predicted Kentucky will have more strength — mental and physical — and depth to get through the rough patches this season.
The good, the bad and the ugly from last season represented growth in a program, he said.
"I talked about progress; I talked about improvement," Stoops said. "And I don't want anybody to take away from our team's improvement from a year ago. We have a long way to go. I knew what I was doing when I took this job, and I'm very optimistic about where we're at and where we're going."