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Meet the Candidates: James Coley

Throughout the day, KSR is profiling who we’re hearing are the top candidate for UK’s offensive coordinator position. So far, we profiled ECU OC Lincoln RileyMurray State’s Chris Hatcher, and Cincinnati OC Eddie Gran. Next up: Miami offensive coordinator James Coley.


Current position: Offensive coordinator/QB coach, Miami
Age: 41
Alma Mater: Florida State
Current salary: $500,000

Coaching history:

2013 – present: Offensive Coordinator, Miami
2013 – present: Quarterbacks Coach, Miami
2010 – 2012: Offensive Coordinator, Florida State
2010 – 2012: Tight Ends Coach, Florida State
2008 – 2009: Tight Ends Coach, Florida State
2008 – 2009: Recruiting Coordinator, Florida State
2007 – 2007: Offensive Coordinator, FIU
2007 – 2007: Quarterbacks Coach, FIU

Offensive philosophy: Pro-style

Coley’s offense is pro-style with no-huddle that he’s dubbed the “tempro” offense (pro-style + up tempo). The offense has a strong focus on tight ends, which should make incoming freshman CJ Conrad pretty happy; however, Coley is not a fan of the “dink and dunk” Air Raid style throws, so it would be an adjustment for the current players. Coley is one of the best recruiters in the country, ranking 17th in 247 Sports’ Recruiter Rankings (for comparison, Eddie Gran is 310th, Tim Beck 430th, Lincoln Riley 410th). He’s got four 4-star commitments in the 2015 class so far: S Jaquan Johnson, RB Jordan Scarlett, QB Dwayne Lawson and RB Mark Walton.

Current offensive statistics:

Total offense: 48th, 431 yards per game, 5,172 total (2,159 rushing, 3,013 passing), 6.77 yards per play
Passing offense: 47th, 251.1 yards per game, 208-358 (58.1%) for 3,013 yards total, 25 touchdowns and 11 interceptions
Rushing offense: 50th, 179.92 yards per game, 406 carries for 2,159 yards total and 18 touchdowns, 5.32 yards per carry

Through his own eyes:

Coley wore Google Glass during Miami’s spring game. See the plays from this awkward perspective:

Mark Stoops ties:

Coley was one of the favorites for the offensive coordinator job when Mark Stoops was hired. Stoops was reportedly encouraged to hire Neal Brown because of the Air Raid and Brown’s ties to the program, so Coley went to Miami instead. Could this be their chance to reconnect?

Is Coley the favorite? 

There’s a lot of buzz saying Coley to UK right now, including this tweet from Miami broadcaster Bobby Kaple:

Bonus: his selfie game is strong

The X-Factor: Does Lexington have decent Cuban coffee?

Coley was born in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood, so it may be hard to pry him away from his hometown. He apparently thrives on Cuban coffee, so hopefully one of the Lexington coffee shops can do it justice.

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

15 Comments for Meet the Candidates: James Coley

  1. Tomasito
    5:35 pm December 1, 2014 Permalink

    This is the one. I think Stoops wants a pro-style offense. He never really seemed to buy in to the Air Raid. Miami didn’t exactly set the world on fire, but he at least utilizes the middle of the field which will be refreshing.

  2. tbradg
    6:02 pm December 1, 2014 Permalink

    Does Fisher still call plays at FSU? I thought he was supposed to give that up…I’ve wondered why Coley would leave FSU for Miami if Fisher was stepping back.

    what’s the story?

    • Humdittydiddycatsbyfiddy
      6:19 pm December 1, 2014 Permalink

      I don’t think Fisher ever did and that’s why Coley left because he was fed up with doing all the footwork for Jimbo then not calling plays on game day.

  3. stratblend
    6:03 pm December 1, 2014 Permalink

    I think Cats fans have a Air Raid hangover from 1998. At the time the scheme was innovative and defenses were confused by it. Now it’s run by a host of teams, there’s no “sneaking up on someone” with the Air Raid.
    I’m fine with a Pro Style Offense. Lets just MOVE THE BALL on first down and get into manageable situations.

    • Billy Mays Here
      6:43 pm December 1, 2014 Permalink

      Kentucky had more yards total offense than Coley and Miami did this year …and this includes 8 games versus SEC defenses, not ACC defenses. Also, Kentucky had almost 100 yards more in total offense against Louisville than did Miami against Louisville this year. Not to mention that Coley had two top 10 recruiting classes to work with (unlike UK). I don’t think you can expect us to get better on offense, or move the ball, with Coley at the helm.

    • mashburnfan1
      10:06 pm December 1, 2014 Permalink

      Billy, you can’t compare that way. We played a weak schedule, we are in SEC East not West and our West opponents were not Bama and Auburn. Plus ACC just went 4-0 vs SEC Saturday so why compare Miami was playing ACC teams vs our SEC schedule, sounds stupid. This is a pro style guy that di ok at FSU and he can recruit, especially in South Florida area. You want to upgrade our talent and speed even more get South Florida guys. Plus there is a RB that wants to play pro style and I am sure Stoops is factoring that in. If he wanted to come here prior and Stoops wanted him then this makes sense. Shame, if true, Brown was hired due to pressure as this guy seems like a good fit. Remember he was only at UM 2 years so his recruits would be young players so we need to look at what the guys he recruited did there.

  4. sammydog
    6:07 pm December 1, 2014 Permalink

    Handsome coaches on the sidelines makes for good TV. This guy is the one

  5. chardun20
    6:11 pm December 1, 2014 Permalink

    Not sure about a Google Glass wearing coach.

  6. Billy Mays Here
    6:15 pm December 1, 2014 Permalink

    Well, if this is the guy, BBN better get ready for a healthy dose of bland, uninspired QB-under-center running game football. This hire is solely an attempt to sway Damien Harris, who wants a pro-set offense. To build an entire team around the wishes of a high school kid, that we may not even get, is disastrous.

    Coley at Miami this year, on average per game, ran the ball 30 times per game to just 23 passes, for a paltry 53 plays per game. He runs over 20 plays per game less than we are used to under Stoops.

    And, to be honest, our defense was so poor this year (last in the SEC in scoring defense) that our offense was the only reason we almost won at the Swamp and against Mississippi State and Louisville, and did win against South Carolina. This sucks.

    • chardun20
      6:20 pm December 1, 2014 Permalink

      Not U of L game, the Defense scored 2 TDs and got turnovers in scoring position. I don’t won’t Coley either.

    • Humdittydiddycatsbyfiddy
      6:30 pm December 1, 2014 Permalink

      This is the same guy who was Jimbo’s OC his first two years as a head coach when Florida State became a top 10 offensive team and was vital in their highly ranked recruiting classes. Do your homework first at least. I would say that obviously Miami is not what it once was and the head coach is a dead man walking so it might not be the best barometer of Coley’s ability. It looks like from the candidates involved Stoops might be going for a hybrid pro-style offense that can go up tempo shotgun style as situational tool use on some possesions. Going fast and throwing on every down is not always the answer as we saw this year.

    • Billy Mays Here
      6:44 pm December 1, 2014 Permalink

      Compare UK’s offense versus Louisville this year versus Miami’s offense versus Louisville this year. Enough said.

    • Billy Mays Here
      7:03 pm December 1, 2014 Permalink

      @Humdiddycatsbyfiddy If you read my other comments, I “did my homework first at least.” FSU won the title and the Heisman after Coley. Coley runs the ball more often than he passes, not a “hybrid pro-style”. Nor does Coley utilize “up-tempo shotgun-style as situational tool,” as he ran an average of 53 plays per game at Miami. Also, as per that homework assignment, UK didn’t throw the ball on every down this year, they actually rushed more times than passed, as well. If we can’t judge a coach’s ability by what he has done at Miami this year with two straight top 10 recruiting classes (and straight top 10 classes before he arrived) versus what we did with only two top 30 classes in the SEC, not the ACC, than I am not sure by what you want.

    • mashburnfan1
      10:13 pm December 1, 2014 Permalink

      Well Billy like I said earlier ACC was 4-0 vs our SEC 2 days ago…….so you saying against ACC makes you sound stupid. Now you say FSU did this after he left, well maybe those players doing that were his recruits. And like I saw mentioned before you never know what the HC was saying or having him do, maybe he did not want tons of plays as usually the D is on the field more and they did not want that. This guy seems to have a solid resume and the recruiting ties he has in South FL make me want him here. Lots of speed and talent down there and they play top high school teams making them ready earlier vs good players. WHY NOT

  7. Katya
    6:27 pm December 1, 2014 Permalink

    This guy isn’t too bad. Him or Riley are my picks.