LEXINGTON, Ky. (WYMT) -- Thousands of fans lined up around Nutter Fieldhouse Saturday morning at Fan Day only to line up again inside to get a single signature from Kentucky head football coach Mark Stoops and his players.
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Defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot and offensive coordinator stopped by a tailgate in the Blue Lot before heading inside to autograph posters, footballs, shirts and more.
“You know, you all have been workin' these guys hard and practicing them, we thought we would come up for tailgate practice,” Dave Hopewell told Brown and Eliot at his tailgate.
There’s no question fans are anxious for this season, regardless of the 2-10 record last year. They are not worried – at all.
"I think the past is the past,” UK fan Paul Moore said. “I don't expect Kentucky football to continue the way they have in the past. We have high expectations of being as competitive as anybody else in the SEC."
Hopewell, who played on the Kentucky offensive line from 1975-79, is just glad it’s no longer about being average.
“I was so glad to hear coach (Mark) Stoops start talking about stuff like that when he came in: championships. You know before we wanted to be quote unquote competitive,” Hopewell said. “You know, I'm tired of being competitive. We could bring a high school football team out here and be competitive. They are going to be on the field and compete and that kind of thing. No, we want to win a championship; we want to win an SEC championship. Because when we win an SEC championship, that's going to put us at the elite football stage of America.”
The proof of support is not about the line outside for Fan Day; it's inside, where they line up yet again to get an autograph from a player or Stoops -- the man they think can satisfy their hopes.
"I think it's pretty exciting,” UK fan Dennis Comella, who is from Louisville said. “There's a lot of optimism, a lot of people who are excited about the future of UK football so it's a great time."
Fans have expectations – some realistic; some not.
"More wins would certainly be a definite sign of improvement,” Comella said. “But as long as they are competitive, stay in the games, gives the rest of the SEC teams a challenge and beat Louisville at the end of the season, I think it'll be a successful season."
Kentucky kicks its season off with UT-Martin on August 30.