By LARRY VAUGHT
After Kentucky lost to Northwestern in the Music City Bowl to end its 2017 season, offensive lineman Logan Stenberg took to social media to apologize to UK fans.
“I feel like I am just really hard on myself. If I don’t feel like I have played to 100 percent or if I am slacking in any area of the game, it weighs on me hard,” said Stenberg. “I like to give everything I have on that field every game, every snap for the team, the fans, the whole state of Kentucky, my family back home, everybody. It didn’t feel like I did that in the bowl game.”
Stenberg, who started all 13 games last season, doesn’t want to apologize for what Kentucky does during his junior season. He says you can sense the different mentality the team has that started in spring practice when his role was to help younger players “kind of find their place and what that role might be” rather than focusing on himself.
He’s developed a stronger bond with linemen Drake Jackson and Bunchy Stallings. They man the center of UK’s offensive line.
“Last year I feel like we were all kind of acquaintances. We weren’t really tight. Now we have hung out, worked all off season and have really just grown and become close. I think we will be better than last year because of that,” Stenberg, an Alabama native who had 37 knockdown blocks in 2016, said.
Kentucky’s offensive line has got more credit the last two seasons because Benny Snell has rushed for over 1,000 yards two straight seasons and has a chance to become UK’s all-time leading rusher this season. Still, no UK lineman was named to any of the three preseason all-SEC teams picked by SEC media members in July.
“I would like to say it won’t bother me but I have thought about it. It does drive me in the weight room to get stronger. Everybody is going to be good in the SEC. I have to have an edge. We all do,” Stenberg said. “I have to be nasty or I have to be strong or faster. I am always working to improve my game a little extra to where I can overcome all that.
That mentality comes naturally. He’s always been aggressive going back to middle school. He’s been the lineman known for picking up personal foul penalties.
“That has definitely come back to bite me in the ass a couple of times but I don’t think I could change. I am not the biggest, fastest or strongest, so I have to be the nastiest. That’s how I think about it,” the Alabama native said.
Stallings and Stenberg were both recruited out of Alabama by UK offensive line coach John Schlarman. The two players did not know each other — Stallings is a year older than Stenberg — but Stenberg said Schlarman relates well to players and makes them feel comfortable.
“Even when I am here, it’s not like anything has changed with him. He’s still the same dude that recruited me, and that’s been really good to see. That was one of the big things for me. I wanted someone that actually cared about me and coach Schlarman certainly does,” Stenberg said.