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Getting To Know Your New Football Coach By The Numbers

Today, we learned that Florida State’s defensive coordinator, Mark Stoops, will become the next head football coach for the Kentucky Wildcats.  The announcement, of course, halts many weeks of speculation and rumor on who would be the one to replace Joker Phillips.  Mark, the brother of Oklahoma head coach coach, Bob Stoops, is taking his first college head coaching job with Kentucky, but he has worked a long career as a coordinator and has earned the respect of his peers.  His personal background and his coaching successes are well documented at this point, but how do his defenses perform on the field?  To find out, I looked over his team’s most recent statistics to find out which areas they excel in and which areas they may need improvement.  Below is the table which dates back to his days as Arizona’s defensive coordinator from 2007.

The first thing that stands out about his defenses, you ask? Points allowed per game.  During Stoops’ past six seasons as a defensive coordinator his per game average of points allowed per game has fallen by a total of 11.7!  The common argument against that improvement would be something along the lines of “he only could accomplish that with the caliber of athlete that Florida State had” or something along those lines.  But consider this.  The Pac-12 is known as one of the most notoriously fast paced leagues in the country. In addition, the Pac-12 is also home to some of college football’s better offenses (see Ducks, Oregon).  Considering the fast tempo of the league and the general quality of offenses, the statistics his defenses managed put up at Arizona look better than a quick glance at a stat sheet would suggest.


The other things that obviously stand out from Stoops’ defensive statistics are the yard per attempt figures. This season, the Seminoles’ opponents are only managing to get a measly 5.0 yards per passing attempt and a minuscule 2.65 yards per rush.  For some perspective, Alabama is allowing 5.7 and 2.36 respectively.  It can’t be stressed how important it is to keep opponents from moving the ball down the field, it’s obviously the main premise of football, and that’s exactly what a Mark Stoops coached defense has a history of doing.  Stopping the rush is of primary importance in the SEC, given the outstanding rushing attacks that are faced nearly every week, so the fact that Stoops has been able to effectively stop the rush over his history as a coordinator is perhaps the most encouraging sign of them all.


This truly is an excellent hire for the University, and despite your personal feelings, credit must be given to Mitch Barnhart for this one.  With upgrades coming to the facilities and an energized coaching staff coming to Lexington, this is truly something to be excited about.  It may take some time before Stoops can get things going at a high level given the circumstances, but from all accounts his passion and knowledge of the game should soon shine in Lexington.

Article written by Jonathan Schuette

21 Comments for Getting To Know Your New Football Coach By The Numbers

  1. MiddlesboroCatsFan
    8:32 pm November 27, 2012 Permalink

    Defense wins championships!

  2. Sandy
    8:39 pm November 27, 2012 Permalink

    He kinda looks like this guy

  3. Tej
    8:45 pm November 27, 2012 Permalink

    It will be interesting to see him fill out his staff. Will he retain any of the assistants Joker had ?

  4. Josephus
    8:47 pm November 27, 2012 Permalink

    I gained a lot of confidence in Mitch after this. I had been one of his biggest detractors for not firing Joker sooner or not considering Bobby Petrino, but he shut me up. I’m excited about UK football for the first time in a long time…

  5. PeteThamel
    8:48 pm November 27, 2012 Permalink

    I’m looking into this!

  6. White Castle Sliders
    8:50 pm November 27, 2012 Permalink

    I hope some of the upgrades at Commonwealth stadium include the sale of White Castle instead of Papa Johns. Slider burgers taste way much better!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. NEAL
    8:50 pm November 27, 2012 Permalink


  8. Eudora
    8:51 pm November 27, 2012 Permalink

    Stoops is going to be great here! Looks like Charlie Strong wont coach the best team in the state much longer!

  9. true story
    8:52 pm November 27, 2012 Permalink

    before we start lovin’ us some Mitch, let’s remember, “Microwave Fans” the morning before the Vanderbilt Embarrassment. Mitch has a long way to go to get the fans behind HIM, not the teams, not the coaches, but HIM.

  10. klassact49
    8:54 pm November 27, 2012 Permalink

    I like this hire as well!!! Looks like I get my season tickets back. Is about time that’s for sure.

  11. So/so hire
    8:54 pm November 27, 2012 Permalink

    #3 I don’t see him keeping any of Jokers coaches. I like Chuck Smith but we where a 2 win football team I think you need to change the whole culture of the program and clean house start over anew. Some on here liked Summers and he may well be a good coach but I thought the OL was one of the main problems the last 3 years. I would like to see Higgins( I think that was his name) return he was from FSU and really don’t a great job here.

  12. So/so hire
    8:57 pm November 27, 2012 Permalink

    Amen #9. If one of the coaches made the same comments Mitch would have made them publicly apologize. He should hold his self to the same standard. I lost a lot of respect for him that day.

  13. Bertha Mae
    8:57 pm November 27, 2012 Permalink

    Looking forward to the Stoops era. This is the most excited I’ve been since I was a little girl and Bear Bryant was here!

  14. Insider
    8:57 pm November 27, 2012 Permalink

    Heard Frank Stallone and Don Swayze are being interviewed for OC and DC.

  15. BlueTexan
    8:59 pm November 27, 2012 Permalink

    #9- Agree. He’s still incompetent. And, have you noticed throughout the press stories that Mark contacted UK – not the incompetent one contacting him…sounds like the Coach Cal ‘search’ again. However, good luck to him and welcome to the BBN!

  16. Rusty Trombone
    8:59 pm November 27, 2012 Permalink

    I’m excited by the hire but man lets not start sucking each others d$#&s just yet. Remember back in the day joker was a highly sought after coach hence our coach in waiting situation. He was tbe bees knees.

  17. J Cat
    9:08 pm November 27, 2012 Permalink

    Sorry but I do not see the reason for all the excitement. Is it because his last name is Stoops? We did not get the offensive genius of a Bobby Petrino. Mitch instead chose to roll the dice and not take a proven track record. I hope we get lucky but I still think it is long shot. I guess time will tell. I will support the new coach and hope for the best. GO BIG BLUE. Mitch please prove me wrong.

  18. Gandalf
    9:18 pm November 27, 2012 Permalink

    I’m excited for the hire and I think he’s about as good as UK can do. But before we get too crazy lets remember that no less than one week ago, at home, with substantially more talent than we have at UK, his defense gave up more yards and points to Florida than we did (which outside of Clemson is the only real team they have to play all season).

  19. Jason
    9:26 pm November 27, 2012 Permalink

    Okay Okay, you win. I’m on the Mark Stoops bandwagon.

    Seriously, how could you not be when you read this? Whether it’s all true….who knows. We’ll be able to see if a lot of it is true. But in the end…I’m in.

    Help us Mark Stoops, you’re our only hope.

  20. 84Cat
    10:04 pm November 27, 2012 Permalink

    One thing is for sure… he’s going to look a hell of a lot better in blue!

  21. Greenup Tiger
    10:30 pm November 27, 2012 Permalink

    Great hire. Don’t overlook at he was successful at Arizona even though Lute Olson’s basketball teams dominated. Awesome experience. Great hire by Mitch and even better timing.