LEXINGTON, Ky. (WYMT) - When you think of Kentucky Football, mountain legends have left their mark. This year, a folksy, hard-nosed country boy captured the hearts of Big Blue Nation.
So it is only fitting Paintsville's Kash Daniel is the centerpiece for the Kentucky-Georgia hype video that might be talked about for generations to come.
The theme a simple one. For Coach Mark Stoops and the Cats to find success, it took more than just one team.
It took the 2013 class that finished with only two wins and an abysmal no-win record in SEC play. The two years that followed (5-7 records) gave the fan base hope. But Kentucky Football, as it so often DID (not does), broke their hearts.
Good news for Coach Stoops - the agony of defeat kept BBN wanting more.
Resiliency defined the freshman year of Kentucky Hall of Famer and first-round draft pick Tim Couch. The Leslie County product was known to be a gunslinger coming out of high school. However, when he arrived at UK a run-heavy offense awaited him. That year he split time as quarterback with Billy Jack Haskins. Couch finished the season with just 276 yards passing, a 38% completion rate, one touchdown and an interception.
At the end of the 1996 season, Billy Curry was asked to step down. Kentucky decided to hire Hal Mumme and the air raid offense was born. Under the new offense, Couch would excel the next two seasons before going pro, finishing his college career with 8,435 yards passing and 74 TDs.
Like Couch, Coach Stoops and his teams lived under the microscope. Some fans, though not all, called for an early exit. Luckily for him and this fan base, Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart stuck with his gut and promised to give Stoops the resources he needed, new facilities and the key to it all - time.
While the early years were defined by late season blunders, the past two seasons (7-5 records) led the Cats to back-to-back bowl games. Now, the program is known for "knocking down doors", with the biggest game in program history about 48 hours away.
It will take all of us, past and present, to beat Georgia.