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Kentucky tries to turn talent into victories

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 17, 2014 at 4:11 pm •  Published: July 17, 2014
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HOOVER, Ala. (AP) — Mark Stoops has established that Kentucky can bring in highly-rated recruits.

Now the Wildcats' second-year coach is trying to turn that added talent into a few more victories.

Stoops is still looking for his first victory in the Southeastern Conference following a 2-10 season in 2013, including an 0-8 mark in conference.

Stoops said on Thursday at the Southeastern Conference's media days that the Wildcats are "physically better" and that "hopefully that will translate to more wins."

Kentucky returns 15 starters from last season, including seven on offense and eight on defense. But there is still some uncertainty at quarterback with Patrick Towles, Maxwell Smith, Reese Phillips and Drew Barker battling for the job.

"I know everybody's asked a lot about our quarterback situation," Stoops said. "We're still unsettled on who the starter is going to be. But I'm very confident that we're going to improve at that position. It starts with the players around him."

Smith threw for 1,276 yards last season, but missed all of spring workouts because of a shoulder injury.

The 6-foot-3, 216-pound Barker is one of the many highly-rated recruits that Stoops has coaxed to Kentucky with his first two recruiting classes. Both Rivals and Scout ranked the Wildcats' most recent class in the nation's top 20.

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