With four games left in the regular season, Kentucky is 6-2. They're 6-2 for a lot of reasons. The most obvious might be schedule strength. Schedule strength is important for every team in America, and UK is no exception. Certainly, Kentucky's schedule isn't as difficult as we're used to seeing. Of Kentucky's six victories, only two have come against teams that currently have a winning record (South Carolina and Southern Mississippi, both of which occurred away from Lexington). Still, the fact that Stoops is winning isn't something to take for granted when you consider... *Kentucky's inability to control the line of scrimmage. On defense, UK's d-line just isn't very good (and we knew that was gonna be the case back in April). They're routinely pushed around between the tackles. I guess you can blame Stoops for not having better lineman, but he's getting stops despite not being able to dominate up front defensively. *The same can be said for UK's offensive line. I think interior play has been better than what we've gotten at tackle (despite the snap issues before Jackson took over at center). UK's edge guys have struggled all season. As we saw last night, even when you move the football on most of your possessions (like UT did), tackles for loss kill drives. That's what's happened to UK far too often this season. It's tough to produce a consistent offense with a deficient o-line. *The UK running game has been awful (until last night). Some of that can be attributed to the losses of Toth and Mosier (also, Haynes isn't what he was last season...dude gets SO much credit for gutting it out though). Some of it can be attributed to the loss of Boom Williams. UK hasn't been able to develop a consistent threat other than Snell. *UK's secondary is underachieving IMO. It's gotten so bad that UK's staff doesn't really trust them in man coverage. *UK doesn't have a consistent playmaker at QB. Johnson is as clutch as they come, but he isn't the kind of player that's going to make play after play after play for four quarters every week. He's limited. He still struggles with accuracy (as we've seen in each of the last two weeks). UK can't really run him as often as they'd probably like (because he isn't exactly a bulldozer like Fitzgerald). Don't get me wrong, Johnson is probably the main reason UK is 6-2, but he's just not a consistent playmaking QB (well, until the game is on the line!!!!!!). *There's no real vertical threat in the passing game. Losing Badet really hurt. Baker too. UK has failed to quickly develop one of the freshman (Epps for example). UK's lack of speed and playmaking ability outside has been a killer. It's forced an offense with a below average running game to put together sustained drives. UK hasn't gotten many cheap points this season. Despite those issues (all of which are significant IMO), Kentucky is 6-2. Take away the bullshit flag on UK's final drive against Florida, and we're probably looking at 7-1. No question, Stoops and his staff have made mistakes (the most glaring of which occurred in the Florida game). Still, UK is 6-2 with a FAR from perfect football team. More on Stoops; *He's 23-22 since the end of his first season *UK is 13-8 over the last two seasons *UK is 13-5 in their last 18 regular season games *UK is 7-6 in their last 13 SEC games *UK is 9-2 in their last 11 games when the final margin was 10 points or less I think Stoops is on the "right path" to build something special at Kentucky. The first step was to gain some respectability. He did that. The next step was to win football games despite the lack of dominating talent. He's doing that. The "hope" is that if he keeps winning games and getting UK into the postseason, elite recruits will eventually take notice and start choosing Kentucky. If that happens, UK will be taking the step they haven't taken in decades...accumulating enough talent to consistently challenge the leagues elite programs. Sure, Stoops hasn't been close to perfect, but I still don't get the "fire Stoops" stuff. He's getting the job done with a team that has major issues. Like every other UK coach in my lifetime, he's found it challenging to put a dominant product on the field. Unlike those coaches, he's figuring out ways to win anyway. GBB!!!