TAYLOR: Q&A with UK AD Mitch Barnhart

University of Kentucky athletics director Mitch Barnhart is used to making his rounds speaking to alumni groups and supporters. He keeps his phone nearby for scoring updates and calls from family members and is always checking on his teams. During a visit to the Winchester Country Club earlier this week, Barnhart answered questions after giving a speech to the Clark County UK Alumni Association.

Has it hit you that the football team is ranked No. 14 in the nation?

"No, it really hasn't. I think if someone had said back in early August that the team after four weeks would be No. 14 in the country, I'm not sure I would have bought that. Not that we couldn't have won the first four games, but you can't fathom that kind of a rise that quickly.

"The question is what you do with it once you get there and how you manage that success? We've got a very difficult stretch ahead of us. We have as tough of a three-game stretch (against South Carolina, LSU and Florida) as you're ever going to want to find."

How big was last week's win over Arkansas?

"It was huge for a team to go on the road in the SEC and (win) in an environment as hostile as that. I thought that said a lot about the kids and the program and the way they managed themselves.

"Obviously there's a long way to go this season, but I couldn't be more happy for a group of people that I am for those folks."

The team's recent success has to be a rewarding for coach Rich Brooks.

"He went to Louisville the other night for his coaches show and what was really refreshing was to see the reception he got. In prior years, it just wasn't very friendly at times for him and it was very difficult. I'm happy for him (because) people are patting him on the back instead of trying to push him away. Having been in athletics for an awful long time, it's nice to see good people get rewarded. He's a good person and he does it the right way."

What will it take for Andre Woodson to win the Heisman Trophy?

"(It) just has to evolve. He's had a lot of success and he's just needs to continue to grow and have success as he gets through the meat of the schedule. If you do that and you're still hanging out there and doing some good things, then you're going to be in the conversation. He's in the conversation now. As long as he continues to put up some numbers and we continue to win. ... that's the most important part. The winning is important. There are guys who are in the conversation early, but their teams lose and they disappear. That's the way it works."
Stay tuned tomorrow as Keith Taylor and Kentucky Sports Report bring you Part II of the Q&A session with Kentucky Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart.

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