For this post, the part of Mark Stoops will be played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman.
Hiring a new coach is something like getting a new girlfriend in high school (stick with me on this one): a lot of the fun comes from seeing what other people have to say about it. Good match? Do they think it’ll last? What color will they wear to homecoming? All these and more can apply to either situation, so it’s with that in mind that we take a quick look at what people around the college football world have to say about yesterday’s hire.
Edward Aschoff, ESPN:
“Our desire to get better defensively and continue to expand our recruiting base helped guide us to Mark,” athletic director Mitch Barnhart said Tuesday.
And it’s a good direction for the Wildcats to be guided in.
If Kentucky is going to make any sort of positive strides with a football program that has really taken a nosedive, it has to get defensive. Flashy offensive numbers don’t always win games in this league. Just look at Tennessee, which ranked second in the league in total offense (475.9 yards per game) this season.
Going the defensive route is a good way to build a solid foundation in the SEC. [Will] Muschamp and his Gators have proved that.
Stoops brings a big name and some much-needed excitement to Kentucky. He’ll attract athletes — and we’ve seen plenty of very talented ones call Lexington home — and he’ll put defense first. With the current roster issues, he’ll need time and patience, but Kentucky is getting off on the right foot by giving precedence to defense.
Jon Cooper, Saturday Down South:
Overall, it would be a solid hire, but I thought Mitch Barnhart would go in a different direction and hire more of an offensive-minded coach.
Stoops will need to get to work rather quickly, signing multiple players on the defensive line, linebacker and in the secondary, with National Signing Day looming in the near-distant future.
Kyle Tucker, Courier Journal and USA Today:
The day after Phillips was fired, ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit identified Stoops as a rising star in whom the Wildcats should be interested. Stoops is a nominee for the Broyles Award, given annually to the nation’s top assistant coach, and one of five finalists for Football Scoop.com’s 2012 Defensive Coordinator of the Year.
Jason McIntyre, The Big Lead:
I gotta say — I’m a bit surprised Stoops took this job.
If Charlie Strong stays in Louisville — he’ll probably get a few calls in the coming weeks — Stoops has a major uphill climb.
I’m just not sure why Stoops wouldn’t go the mid-major route — grab a job MAC or WAC, kick ass, then 2-3 years later get an attractive gig in a major conference.
Stoops first call should be to … John Calipari. He’s going to need his support.
Graham Watson, Yahoo! Sports:
In an SEC where defense has been the crux of many of the conference’s national championships, Kentucky couldn’t have made a better match.
Even though this will be Stoops’ first head coaching job, the risk seems minimal, especially since Stoops has two brothers who have been in the head-coaching ranks – Bob is at Oklahoma, and Mike was the head coach at Arizona and is now in Oklahoma with Bob.
Overall, most folks seem to think that Stoops is a pretty good hire. That smacks of understatement, but it’s good to temper expectations, especially immediate ones. Regardless of what other folks think, though, the resounding feeling is that BBN is happy to have him, and that’s a great thing for this program. This was a great, decisive hire by Mitch Barnhart. Now we need some coordinators to follow suit…
Meanwhile, follow our new coach @UKCoachStoops.