Jen Smith on UK Football

Kentucky’s Stoops revved up, ready to get football camp going

Coffee in hand, Mark Stoops kept his Media Day opening statement less than a minute.

“I’m done with the talking season,” the caffienated Kentucky head coach said.

Before team group photos at Commonwealth Stadium were taken, Stoops offered some updates a few hours before the first practices of fall camp begin.

Here are a few things he’s discussed at Friday’s news conference:

After the team met together for the first time Thursday night, the team leadership asked for the coaches to leave so there could be a “players only meeting” to discuss expectations for camp.

He specifically discussed the strong leadership he’s seen from starting quarterback Drew Barker and middle linebacker Courtney Love, who the head coach said is “not afraid to be unpopular.”

▪  Kentucky will begin fall camp at full strength with the exception of wide receiver Alexander Montgomery, who is still coming back from a knee injury last season. … Junior-college linebacker Jordan Bonner, who missed summer workouts while finishing up academics, is on campus and healthy. Defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot said technique-wise, Bonner is sound, but has to learn about scheme and other things UK is trying to do.

▪  On strength of offense, Stoops said he thinks the veteran leadership is important. “There’s a bunch of guys who have played a lot of football.” Even though the offense has taken its lumps, he feels good about the players UK has returning, including four of five offensive line starters.

▪  On potential depth at QB, Stoops said. “I feel good about Stephen Johnson,” who brings a different look to the offense, which the coach said they plan to “dabble” in.

▪  Around 150 former players and their families will be on campus this weekend to see the new practice facility and meet with current players, Stoops said, adding: “We want to embrace our history.”

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