When Mark Stoops and Vince Marrow first arrived in Lexington, they had to sell recruits →
Football Season Coverage
Kentucky’s Blitz Bro is in elite company.
Today Josh Allen was named First Team All-SEC by Pro Football Focus. The media outlet grades film on each player and Allen was ranked as the No. 2 edge rusher in the SEC, just slightly behind South Carolina’s Dante Sawyer.
Allen led the SEC in sacks for most of the first half of the season after a hot start, but cooled off down the stretch as injuries piled up. He finished the season tied for sixth in the SEC with seven sacks. Allen also had a team-high 10.5 tackles for loss, he was fourth on the team with 58 tackles, he picked off a pass and forced two fumbles.
Arguably his most impressive stat illustrates what he did to opposing quarterbacks. Allen had 40 total QB pressures, the third-most among draft-eligible SEC edge defenders.
By Nick Roush on ©December 06th, 2017 @ 10:30am
If you’re looking to give Mrs. Tyler Thompson a Christmas present, her desk needs Randall Cobb’s goldeneyes on a bobblehead in a Kentucky jersey.
The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame has released a limited series of bobbleheads with NFL players in their college uniforms. Along with Rob Gronkowski, Von Miller, Carson Wentz and many more, Randall Cobb has been selected to rep his old stomping grounds.
You can own this miniature Cobb in Kentucky blue for $40. Act fast. Packer fans are rabid and they only made 2,017 Cobbleheads. And with that, I’ll show myself out.
By Nick Roush on ©December 05th, 2017 @ 11:00pm
Just like the Kentucky fan base, Mark Stoops has reflected on the 2017 season and came away with mixed emotions.
“That’s hard for me me,” Stoops said. “You know I’m not going to define that because there’s no right answer for that. I’ll let the experts dictate that and give opinions on that. But I really just want to always make progress, that’s the big thing. Like I told you many times, I’m human. There’s always parts of you that would like to do things over and have different plays back, different calls, different series, whatever it is; that’s human nature. I do think about that, but I can’t dwell on that and I don’t dwell on that.”
Speaking for the first time since Kentucky accepted an invitation to the Music City Bowl, it was also the first time Kentucky’s head coach had spoken publicly since he had a candid, private conversation with Matt Jones. While discussing the regular season that was, he stopped himself after the previous statement to show a side of him we rarely see.
“You know part of that’s true and part of it’s not,” he laughed.
“I try not to give you guys coach-speak, you know that, but I mean, I’m human. There’s parts of it that do hurt and I understand that. You always beat yourself up because you try to do the very best you can.”
Stoops doesn’t want the bad things that happened to overshadow the positive takeaways from the season.
“We all have a tendency to hang on to the ‘what ifs’ and how close things were, but again, it’s an exciting time. We definitely are proud of going to a bowl game back-to-back. Like I said, it’s human nature to want more and to push for more and we’re going to continue to do that, but we’re also going to enjoy this. Our team needs to understand that they need to feel good about some of the things that we’ve done and to put ourselves in a position to go play this game and how important it would be to win an eighth game for us. It hasn’t been done a whole lot and our players have enjoyed knocking down some doors the past couple years. We really embrace the fact that we need to go get this eighth victory.”
You can play the “could of, would of, should have” game every year. This year’s losses to Florida and Ole Miss were more painful than most, but Stoops will not let that define this team.
“I can tell you this, this staff has worked unbelievably hard. Our players have worked exceptionally hard to put us into the position we’ve been in this year: to win seven games again and to be .500 or above two years in a row in the SEC. We’ve never done that. That’s not just nothing. Our players need to understand that, our coaches need to understand that and I appreciate the work that they’ve done to put us into position to do that.”
Stoops wants his players to appreciate how far they’ve come, and to use the painful ‘what ifs’ to motivate them to take another step in the right direction.
“We all want more. We all expect to win more and do more and we want to do that, but I greatly appreciate the work that they’ve done and we’re going to continue to push forward.”
Behind the legs of Derrick Henry and a steady performance from the defense the Tennessee Titans defeated the Houston Texans by a score of 24-13. Wesley Woodyard had another good game, finishing with 9 tackles, and 1 for a loss.
Avery Williamson put together another strong performance, finishing with 6 tackles and 1 tackle for a loss. With the win the Titans record now moves to 8-4 as the team hopes to play its way into a bye in the first week of the post-season.
Randall Cobb failed to record a reception in the Packers 26-20 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Packers kept themselves in playoff contention with hopes of Aaron Rodgers returning to the lineup in two weeks.
Danny Trevathan returned to the field after missing two games with a calf injury, the 5th year pro played well finishing the day with 11 tackles as the Bears fell to the 49ers by a score of 15-14.
The Steelers fought back from 17 down to improve their record to 9-2 by defeating the Bengals 23-20 as time expired with a game winning field goal. Bud Dupree had a crucial sack on the Bengals last offensive drive that helped get the Steelers the ball back.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©December 05th, 2017 @ 6:00pm
Opening Statement …
“Excited about the opportunity to play in the Music City Bowl and honored to play Northwestern. I have great respect for Pat Fitzgerald and Northwestern. They play some very good football, obviously, as a nine-win football team. It’s a challenge but we’re honored to be a part of it. We look forward to wrapping up recruiting, getting back on campus and working out our players and getting started on these bowl preparations. It’s an exciting time and a busy time.”
On whether he learned anything about bowl preparation last year and any changes this year…
“Yeah, I think so. You always learn and you’re trying to get as much information as I can from the simple things like when you arrive, what you do, how many practices you have before. Last year we used the bowl to really push the program and basically use it as a second spring practice. There were obviously benefits to that but there is a balance in what you do, how hard you practice, how many practices you have, all those things.”
On if he’ll talk to some of the players about their thoughts on bowl preparations…
“Without a doubt. Matter of fact, I’m getting together with some of the guys today, our Unity Council, to talk about it.”
On how the new recruiting deadline (Dec. 20) affects things…
“It won’t change the bowl prep much but it makes for very busy weekends. With coaches on the road we didn’t have a recruiting weekend last weekend but we will the next two. Trying to balance practices with that and players taking their finals, you really can’t have practices that week. We’ll have to have practices on the weekends and then straight through (after it) until we cut them loose for Christmas. It’ll be busy. Our coaches have done a great job and hit the pavement very hard and we’re very, very encouraged with what is going on in recruiting. Very, very positive response from (recruits). It’s been an exciting time for us.”
“You’ve got to have a lot of respect for (head coach) Pat (Fitzgerald), what he’s done and how they play. They’ve won seven in a row and three of them were very close games so a play here or there, you have to give them credit for finding a way to win football games. They’re very well coached.”
On preparing for a more traditional offense in this year’s bowl game…
“That is important because that was unique for us (last year) to prepare for that (Georgia Tech’s option-centric offense). We couldn’t even do ‘good against good’ with our offense (last year). It helps with the development of the young guys. We don’t crossover much with (Northwestern) but I’ve had a chance to peek on them a few times when they were playing and we were waiting in the hotel. Having some familiarity with Big Ten teams, you know they’re very well balanced and have a good run defense. It doesn’t surprise me for a team coached by Pat and his crew.”
On relationship with Pat Fitzgerald…
“We know each other from the business. I’ve talked to him via text since we were matched up.”
On balancing getting QB Stephen Johnson ready for the bowl while also looking ahead to next season’s QB situation…
“That’s important to get (the backups) some reps. They’ve done that all year in preparing (for regular-season games) but it will be important to get them some reps.”
On whether he wants bowl practices to be more physical…
“We have to continue to develop as a program and there are some areas we didn’t do as well in down the stretch, particularly the last two games. We’ve got a lot of work to do. I think it’s been important to give our guys a little time away to decompress a little bit. They’ve been working hard in the weight room. We’re anxious to get back with them.”
On SEC coaching changes…
“It’s been a crazy year. I appreciate where I’m at and the stability we have in this program. Look at Pat with Northwestern, he’s been there 12 years already. It’s remarkable. It’s good for him and it’s nice to see that stability. In our league, in general, there is a lot of turnover and there a lot of my close friends who won’t be in those (SEC) meetings this year, some very good football coaches.”
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©December 05th, 2017 @ 5:00pm
This morning, Courtney Love was presented with the 2017 Wuerffel Trophy, given annually to the top community servant in college football. Watching the senior linebacker accept the award was awesome enough, but KyWildcatsTV just released a video detailing how Love found out he had won.
Danny Wuerffel himself told Love the good news in New York City last night, and afterwards, Love was congratulated by Steve Spurrier and Peyton Manning:
Incredible. Here’s video of Love accepting the award this morning:
— Kentucky Football (@UKFootball) December 5, 2017
And his tweets thanking everyone for the honor:
Thank you to @DannyWuerffel, the @WuerffelTrophy committee, everyone at UK, specifically @UKMitchBarnhart, @UKCoachStoops, @vincemarrow my teammates, the football support staff and my professors for everything you have done for me.
— Courtney Love (@Courtney_Love51) December 5, 2017
I also want to thank the awesome people at @AmachiCentralKY. Mentoring Antonio and being around the people of Amachi has changed my life. Lastly, I have to thank my family, especially my Dad, for his tough love and teaching me discipline, responsibility and accountability.
— Courtney Love (@Courtney_Love51) December 5, 2017
Thank you, Courtney.
By Nick Roush on ©December 05th, 2017 @ 4:00pm
Mark Stoops pressed pause on a busy week of recruiting to talk about life on the road, the 2017 Cats and much more.
1. Will Jordan Jones be Back?
Stoops did not want to say with certainty that Jordan will play in the bowl game. “I expect him to participate in the bowl game. To what extent or how much and all that? I’m not ready to make any decisions on all that right now.”
Stoops was willing to share what Jones must do in order to be back on the field for the Music City Bowl.
“He’s got to be consistent in it, and it can’t be at the cost of the players and the people around him. He knows that. He works hard at it. He’s improved in a lot of areas.” Stoops added, “We tried exceptionally hard to do things right all the time and act right, but we’re not perfect and Jordan is not.”
2. How Many More Recruits will Stoops Add?
Kentucky currently has 18 scholarship commitments in the 2018 class. Stoops said the class will likely finish with 23 or 24 players.
“I feel good about where we’re at. I’ve gotta be very careful with where we’re at in numbers. I think we’re pushing it. I’m already pushing the envelope on where we’re at and how many we can sign,” he said. “We’ll see. Sometimes you get some very, very good players down the stretch here that it’s very difficult to say no to, but I’m very pleased with this class. They have great character. They have great talent. I feel very good about it.”
3. Stoops Prefers December Visitors
Kentucky hosts big recruiting weekends throughout the regular season. It provides players an opportunity to see what a gameday is like in Lexington, but Stoops doesn’t feel that there’s enough personal time with players during a game weekend.
“We’re preparing for a game, and so we don’t get to spend a whole lot of time with them. Myself, personally and the coaches really don’t get to spend a lot of time (with them).”
In December, that’s a completely different story. “We get to spend two full days with them. We get to go sit and sit with meals and enjoy them and get to spend time with them and really get to know them. We always prefer to spend time with these kids. That’s the big thing.”
The coaches get to spend more time with the recruits, and the recruits get to spend more time with Kentucky commits. This weekend is the first of two huge recruiting weekends for Stoops and Co. to close the deal with a few Yahtzees.
4. Where’d you get that Bentley?
Stoops made a splash when he showed up to Florida wide receiver Shocky Jacques-Louis’ house in a Bentley. “It’s right out back,” he joked. “I drove it all the way from you know where.”
As he left the media room he revealed that he in fact got the car from a friend who lives in Naples, not far from Jacques-Louis’ home.
5. Ready for Redshirts
Over the next month, Kentucky’s redshirts will get to see more action than usual while the primary starters use the time to get healthy. Redshirts do not always participate in day-to-day activities with the team. That changes during bowl season and Stoops is excited to see what they have to offer.
“We were borderline playing probably four, five, six of these guys. We did save their redshirt. I’m excited about these guys getting an opportunity to work and get on the field next year.”
Stoops didn’t want to name names, but KSR has heard that Naasir Watkins, Jamin Davis, Yusuf Corker and Bryant Koback have shown flashes during limited practice reps.
6. The New Assistant will Specialize on Defense
Today he confirmed what was reported last week: his new assistant will be on the defensive side of the football. He’s still not sure if he will hire someone based primarily on their scheme or recruiting abilities. That will be decided after signing day.
Stoops did not get into specifics but he did have this to say when asked if we could expect to see any other changes on his coaching staff: “I really don’t even have time to even get into that right now, but I do feel good an appreciate our staff. Change is inevitable in certain ways within the turnover of our roster and coaches may get other opportunities and move on. So we’ll see what happens and work our way through that as time goes here.”
7. Stoops Did Not Recognize Stephen
Just like everybody else, Stoops could not believe that Stephen Johnson chopped off all his hair. “He shocked me. I saw him the other day. I did not — I had to double take that.”
8. A Quote you can take Out of Context
“I don’t make sales pitches. That’s why I’m in coaching.”
For some reason, that statement drew the ire of a few fans on social media. Stoops was asked to sell the Nashville bowl game over the UofL basketball game. He’s made plenty of sales pitches to recruits, but John Calipari has been awfully kind to his program and I don’t think Stoops wanted to stir the pot and pit one team against the other.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©December 05th, 2017 @ 3:30pm
One day after he was named First Team All-SEC by the Associated Press, Benny Snell has been voted…Second Team All-SEC by the league’s coaches.
Auburn’s Kerryon Johnson and Georgia’s Nick Chubb were given First Team honors in the coaches’ vote, while Snell and LSU’s Derrius Guice were placed on the Second Team. Johnson’s First Team nod is a given; after Saturday’s SEC Championship, he now leads the SEC in rushing yards with 1,320 to Benny’s 1,318. But fellow First Team selection Nick Chubb had 1,175 yards and 13 touchdowns to Benny’s 18. Yes, he had to share the backfield with Sony Michel, but given a green offensive line and the number of school records Benny broke this season, how can you not give it to him? Did I mention that Herschel Walker and Knowshon Moreno are the only other SEC running backs to record more than 1,000 yards and 13 touchdowns in their first two seasons?
Regardless, at least Benny got some credit after not even making the media’s preseason First, Second, or Third Teams back at Media Days in July. That was laughable then, and it’s laughable now.
Congratulations to senior linebacker Courtney Love, who was just presented with the 2017 Wuerffel Trophy, which honors college football’s top community servant. He accepted the award this morning at the National Football Foundation’s Press Conference at the New York Hilton Midtown Hotel in New York.
Love’s list of good deeds from UK is long. He leads the team in community service hours and has a passion for mentoring children, especially those living in a one-parent household or children who have parents who are incarcerated. Courtney currently volunteers at Amachi Central Kentucky, a mentoring program that seeks to pair caring, positive adults with children and youth in the Bluegrass who have one or both parents in state or federal prison or are affected by incarceration in some way. At age nine, Love ran away from home because of what he calls a “complicated and toxic” relationship with his mother and went to live with his dad Cory, Cory’s girlfriend and three half-sisters. His dad ended up in prison for two years while Courtney was in middle school.
He also has served in a Skype mentoring program with area high school students, and has taken part in many events with the UK Children’s Hospital, Read Across America, and Special Olympics, along with many other service activities. In May of 2016, Love was chosen to participate in a service/educational trip to Ethiopia where he helped build houses as well as shoe-shining boxes for men to be able to work and provide for their families. He also delivered food to impoverished families and visited with orphans and widows.
Love is also a member of the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team which is the top college football honor for recognizing outstanding community service achievements. In the classroom, Love was named to the 2016 SEC Academic Honor Roll, graduating in May with a degree in community and leadership development. He is currently working on a second degree in communications. He also serves as one of UK football’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) representatives for the second straight season.
On the field, Love ranks second on the team in tackles with 82 and has started and been in a captain in all 12 games. He ranks tied for 23rd nationally in fumble recoveries with two and has posted a career-high in tackles twice with 10 vs. Missouri and Louisville.
In short, Love is one heck of a good dude, and we’re fortunate to have him as the team captain. For more on Love’s inspiring story, watch the profile below courtesy of UK:
…And Love being surprised by Allstate and the Lexington community with his Allstate AFCA Good Works Team award in October:
Love will be interviewed at “The Home Depot College Football Awards Red Carpet Show” on ESPNU and ESPN3 on December 7 at 6 p.m. EST at the College Football Hall of Fame in downtown Atlanta.
Thank you for making us proud, Courtney.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©December 05th, 2017 @ 9:00am
Wake up, Big Blue Nation. Lots of stuff to get to today, so let’s get rolling. Here’s what’s on today’s agenda:
Noon: Mark Stoops talks about the Music City Bowl
We heard Mitch Barnhart’s comments on the Music City Bowl on Sunday, and today, it’s Mark Stoops’ turn to talk about the matchup with Northwestern. He’ll talk to reporters at noon, so check the site at lunch for a live stream and recap.
7:00 PM: UK Hoops takes on Evansville
The 20th ranked UK Hoops squad takes on the Evansville Purple Aces tonight at 7 p.m. at Memorial Coliseum. The ladies are in the middle of a brutal stretch of five games in eleven days, which started with a loss at Baylor last week before the Cats got back on track vs. Tennessee Tech on Sunday. On Friday, they’ll travel to Florida Gulf Coast and then to Miami on Sunday. You can see the game on WatchESPN, or follow along on 630 WLAP.
College Basketball on TV tonight
|7:00 PM||Winthrop||Georgia||SEC Network|
|7:00 PM||#3 Michigan State||Rutgers||BTN|
|7:00 PM||#4 Villanova||#12 Gonzaga||ESPN|
|7:00 PM||Ball State||#9 Notre Dame||ACC Network|
|7:00 PM||Boston University||#10 Miami||ACC Network|
|7:00 PM||#15 Virginia||#18 West Virginia||ESPNU|
|8:00 PM||Colorado State||Arkansas||SEC Network+|
|8:00 PM||South Dakota State||#6 Wichita State||ESPN3|
|8:00 PM||#22 Nevada||Texas Tech|
|9:00 PM||St. Francis (PA)||#1 Duke||ESPNU|
|9:00 PM||#7 Texas A&M||Arizona||ESPN2|
|9:00 PM||#14 Minnesota||Nebraska||BTN|
|9:00 PM||SMU||#20 TCU|
|9:00 PM||Miami (OH)||Missouri||SEC Network|
Speaking of college basketball, No. 5 Florida took a VERY bad loss last night, falling to Florida State at home 83-66. That’s the fourth year in a row the Seminoles have had the Gators’ number. Ouch.
It was a big night for the Cats in the NBA
Devin Booker scored 46 points in the Suns’ 115-101 win over the 76ers, while DeMarcus Cousins and Rajon Rondo both had double doubles in a loss to the Warriors. I’ll have complete highlights of Devin’s big night in just a big, but check out this tussle between Boogie and Kevin Durant, which got them both ejected from the game:
Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins were both ejected after this heated confrontation. pic.twitter.com/ySzAAQKf8F
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 5, 2017
Like KD could handle Boogie.
In one hour: KSR live from Washington D.C.
Ryan, Drew, and Shannon are handling today’s show from our nation’s capital while Matt heads back to the Bluegrass to attend a funeral. Tune in one hour from now to see whether or not the gang makes it in the White House:
— Ryan Lemond (@ryanlemond) December 5, 2017
By Nick Roush on ©December 04th, 2017 @ 11:00pm
Kentucky did not lose consecutive games in the 2017 season until the final two games of the year, leaving a sour taste in the mouthes of many fans. Mark Stoops’ Wildcats have a chance to change the narrative with a victory over the nine-win Northwestern Wildcats at the Music City Bowl in Nashville. That’s just one reason why you should be at Nissan Stadium on December 29.
A Pregame Basketball Party
The Music City Bowl will kickoff at 4:30 ET, hours after the Louisville-Kentucky basketball game tips off at Rupp Arena. Some may see that as a problem, but like Mitch Barnhart, I see it as a wonderful opportunity.
“I don’t look at it as a problem,” Barnhart said. “I look at it as a great opportunity and unbelievable celebration. I don’t know that there’s probably too many schools that have the incredible opportunity to have two showcase opportunities in one day for your two marquee programs.”
Broadway will be shut down for a Music City Bowl fan zone on Thursday and Friday. Barnhart is working with the bowl game to create a place where fans can gather to watch the basketball game before heading to the football stadium.
“I intend to work very closely with the Sports Council to try and create an environment down there where our fans will have an opportunity to view the basketball game before the football game and walk across that bridge and go in that stadium for the football game and we’ll have some fun. We’ll look forward to that.”
The Cheapest Football Ticket all Year
It isn’t cheap to attend a Kentucky football game. Even in the cheap seats it’s usually about $50 per ticket. Price should not be a problem for those who wish to witness the Music City Bowl with tickets starting at just $22. On third-party platforms, you can get inside the stadium for as little as $16. Price should not be a problem. Get your tickets from UK here.
No Nashville SEC Tournament
Each spring the BBN gets to celebrate the basketball season with a weekend party at the SEC Tournament in Nashville. This year that will not be the case. For the first time since 2014, the tournament is leaving Nashville. Instead, St. Louis will host the tournament for the first time. Replicating the madness in the Midwest will be difficult, but it’s safe to say Kentucky fans will be crazy for a December trip to Broadway.
It will be Better than the Last Game at the Titans’ Stadium
Mark Stoops’ Kentucky head coaching tenure began with optimism on a hot August day at Nissan Stadium. The Cats left the stadium with a loss to Bobby Petrino’s Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. No matter what happens on December 29, it can’t be as bad as that loss.
UK is Great in the Music City Bowl
Kentucky’s record in the Music City Bowl is 2-2, but in hindsight we can ignore the bad moments and appreciate the best parts.
Nashville’s New Year’s Eve Party
If you have yet to make plans for New Year’s Eve, few destinations are better than Nashville’s annual party. The free concert at Bicentennial Park is headlined by Keith Urban and also features Maren Morris, Cheap Trick and Kentucky-native Carly Pearce. If that option does not float your boat, you can party with Parrot Heads. Huey Lewis and the News opens for Jimmy Buffett at Bridgestone Arena.
Even if you don’t stay until the 31st, hockey fans can enjoy a night in Smashville when the Predators host the Minnesota Wild on December 30 at 8:00 p.m.
A Proper Senior Send-Off
Stephen Johnson, Courtney Love, Austin MacGinnis, Juice Johnson and the entire 2017 senior class has done incredible things to take the Kentucky football program to new heights. Their final game at Kroger Field could not have gone much worse.
The seniors have one more game to show the Big Blue Nation how far this program has come since Mark Stoops arrived. They have an opportunity to knock off a nine-win Big 10 team and leave a lasting legacy, an opportunity I’m certain they will not let slip away.
I am one of the few that love the large bowl format. Why? Because so many players get an opportunity to travel and play in a fun atmosphere. Some games will be shootouts and some will be gritty defensive battles. Below are the top ten random games to watch this bowl season with a couple of reasons why you should tune in.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©December 04th, 2017 @ 7:00pm
When Kentucky’s matchup in the Music City Bowl was announced as Northwestern, we saw quite a wide range of public perception.
Some fans were excited about the challenge of going up against a top-25 team on a hot streak, others let out a massive yawn.
Kentucky’s battle against Northwestern was ranked as the third-worst bowl in terms of overall watchability.
Music City Bowl: Kentucky vs. No. 21 Northwestern, Dec. 29
Watchability score: 2.0
Maybe catch the Arizona Bowl, because it’ll be cool to watch New Mexico State playing in its first bowl since 1960, and the Bahamas, because (a.) it’s the Bahamas and (b.) it’ll be UAB’s return to bowl season after having its program killed three years earlier. Army-SDSU isn’t a bad dark-horse game.
The only two games with worse watchability rankings? Florida State vs. Southern Miss in the Independence Bowl and FIU vs. Temple in the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl.
Those two bowls were listed in categories named “Probably better than yard work or snow shoveling” and “Is called THE BAD BOY MOWERS GASPARILLA BOWL, which counts for something.”
Other matchups ranked higher than Kentucky’s? Appalachian State vs. Toledo in the Dollar General Bowl, Fresno State vs. Houston in the Hawaii Bowl, North Texas vs. Troy in the New Orleans Bowl, and Utah vs. West Viriginia in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
So… uh…. that’s nice….
See all of SB Nation’s other bowl rankings here.
By Nick Roush on ©December 04th, 2017 @ 6:00pm
Next year college football coaches will get an additional assistant coach on the sideline. Last week we discovered that Mark Stoops is searching for somebody to help his defense. Who might that be? We’ll find out for certain in a few weeks, but in the meantime, let’s speculate away at a few hires that would grab the nation’s attention.
Bielema has not been unemployed for long, but the former Arkansas and Wisconsin head coach has an extensive history with Mark Stoops. The two used to take recruiting trips together in the early 90s, even when they were on different staffs. On a few occasions, those recruiting trips included stops at the casino.
Before Bielema joined the head coaching ranks, he was a defensive coordinator. He might enjoy some time off, but I think he’d have even more fun on Mark Stoops’ coaching staff.
Kentucky has already heavily invested into Mark Stoops. Why not add another Stoops? Bob has to be bored and stir crazy after one year away from Oklahoma. Some retired folks pick up new hobbies to fill the down time. Being an assistant coach at Kentucky sounds like a wonderful retirement hobby.
Even though Mike doesn’t have the same draw as the other Stoops’, he has head coaching experience. I doubt he would leave the defensive coordinator position at Oklahoma to be an assistant at UK, but Mark has proved to be an excellent recruiter. Recruiting your brother cannot be that difficult, right?
Any time there is an opening on Stoops’ staff, Pelini’s name needs to be thrown into the ring. Childhood friends that grew up together in Youngstown, I could sit and listen to the two tell stories for hours. I also would love to see Pelini present an actual Wildcat to the Kroger Field crowd.
Maybe the most realistic option on this list, the former Miami head coach was taken down by Nevin Shapiro but has had success since his departure. Since 2015 he led a dominant Florida defense and acted as the team’s interim coach until Dan Mullen took Todd Grantham with him to Gainesville.
Shannon also has a connection with Mark Stoops: he was Stoops’ boss for three years as Miami’s defensive coordinator. It’s time to turn the tables.
I don’t care that Kentucky ended his career. I don’t care that he’s an offensive coach. I don’t care that Florida gave him a sweet administrative gig. I just want the family friend of the Stoopses who tormented Kentucky for years to finally depart from the dark side and join the Big Blue Nation.