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Jan 12, 2013 7:07 PM

Q&A with Stoops

Q&A with Kentucky football coach, Mark Stoops


On the impact the stadium renovations will have ...

"It's exciting. It is going to have a great impact on our program. It is an exciting time for all of the Big Blue Nation. It's an exciting time for the fans, for the students and for our players. It shows the commitment that we have here to the football program and to the fans. It is going to be an exciting time."

On what message the facility improvements show ...

"I think it shows the commitment. We are serious about football and the administration is serious about football. It is a tremendous commitment by a lot of people to make it happen. I think it will have a great impact."

On the recruiting process so far ...

"Things are going well. We have a big group here today. It's been a great response, and I have been very excited about the way recruiting is going and I feel very good about putting this class together."

On the new UK locker room and facility upgrades ...

"It shows that it is first class. It shows that this university is first class. It shows the commitment, and it shows great exposure for our program, our players and our recruits to get a great feel for the basketball program and what we are doing. It is good. We did use it one other time for a few kids, but this is the first big group."

On what he expects out of the facility upgrades ...

"Mitch (Barnhart) and I did touch on that the first time we spoke and, again, I felt very comfortable with Mitch and his commitment to the program. So, we did talk about it. It was not the primary reason I came here. I told you all that in the initial press conference about my belief in this program and getting things done, but this certainly helps."

On the emphasis placed on recruiting in Ohio...

"I think it's very important for us to get into Ohio, as you know, obviously Southern Ohio being very, very close. We consider that local. And, again, with my ties to Northeastern Ohio, and really all through Ohio, it's going to be very important to us. There's tremendous football being played in Ohio and so we want to treat that as home base. So, yes, we're going to work Ohio hard along with Kentucky and really anything within a close proximity to UK."

On what he would be looking for in the renovations of Commonwealth Stadium...

"I just think anything you do, it's for the players. Much is placed on the emphasis on recruiting but that's what helps you, is the players being comfortable and the players having a great facility. As you know, in all of our sports, our athletes are here and with us a great deal of time. We spend a great deal of time in our complex (Nutter Training Center) so I think it's most important for our players to feel comfortable, to have them in a comfortable environment, with their locker room and just a facility where they can spend some time and feel good."

On how he feels about how his staff came together as a whole...

"The addition of Derrick (Ansley), coach of our cornerbacks, was a great addition. I was very impressed with Derrick. I had a chance to visit with three, four or five people about that position and I always heard great things about Derrick. I had a chance to meet with him and interview him. He was exceptional. I felt like he was a guy that could bring something new to myself and Coach Eliot (defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot) and brings something new to the defensive package. So, very impressed with him, both in technique and in scheme. He's a young guy. He's been around some great people so I'm excited about Derek. And, Tommy (Mainord), with his background with Neal (Brown), was a no-brainer for me."

On hiring young coaches being intentional or hiring based on best coaches ...

"Best people. It really is. I said, I think in the last presser, it was important for me to find hungry people, whatever age they were. I think you have to find that blend with experience and some young, up-and-coming guys that have a little attitude about them and that are excited to be here and ready to work the way we are going to work. I felt really good about the guys that we got."

On players leaving the program in the past week ...

"Violation of team rules. We're going to do things right, we're going to give every player the right opportunity and be fair to each and every player on our team. I'll treat those players like I would expect one of my sons to be treated. We'll be very fair with them but there will be some guidelines and if they don't mean them they won't be here."

On hiring coaches that come from programs that have had success in football ...

"I think they're excited to be here. We talk a lot, and I know you all have been here, but every place, the success that they have had in the past, that obviously helps. The bells and the whistles of facilities, that obviously helps, but it's about the people that are in those buildings. It's about the people that are going to affect the recruits and our players and develop them to be better. I've touched on that before but those are the guys that I want, that believe in what we're doing, that believe in the system and that believe they can help change the culture here, change the players that we already have into winners and recruit players to help us win championships. Those are the type of coaches that we have here."

On the status of TJ Jones ...

"I'm going to let the legal process work in that case. We're just gathering information on that right now."

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