Almost 48 hours removed from the termination of Eddie Gran and Darin Hinshaw, a leading candidate has yet to emerge as Kentucky’s next offensive coordinator. There have been some intriguing developments in the search.
“The nice thing is we have a lot of people interested,” Stoops said during Monday night’s call-in show.
In the first hot board we provided you with a long list of potential candidates. After doing some digging, the latest trend ties the vacancy to various NFL assistant coaches. Mark Stoops said on Sunday that hiring a coach from the NFL ranks, “it’s certainly an option.” Not only does Stoops have experience hiring a coordinator from the NFL, Brad White, more and more NFL assistants are jumping into the college ranks to call plays. Boston College, Cal and Washington each made that move last season.
If Stoops does in fact modernize the offense by seeking out the services of an NFL assistant, there are a few names we’ve heard, folks with connections to the University of Kentucky and coaches who could be ready to get out from underneath the comfortable confines of a head coach and call plays for the first time.
Deland McCollough (Chiefs Running Backs Coach)
When looking for someone to modernize the passing game, why not take a stab at the guy coaching the best quarterback in the NFL? The only problem with Patrick Mahomes’ quarterbacks coach, Mike Kafka, is that he’s in line to become the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator next season once Eric Bieniemy takes a head coaching job elsewhere.
Even though he might not be a QB coaching wizard, McCollough is a Youngstown native, something at least four other UK staffers can also say. McCullough has experience at the collegiate level, coaching USC’s running backs in 2017 after five years at Indiana, four of which he shared with UK head strength coach Mark Hill.
Shane Waldron (Rams QB Coach)
Hiring from the Sean McVay coaching tree has been a popular choice for NFL owners in recent years, making way for Matt LaFleur to take the reins in Green Bay and Zac Taylor in Cincinnati. If Mark Stoops can successfully satisfy this option, Waldron is the ideal candidate.
A seven-year NFL vet, he’s spent the last four coaching Jared Goff and the rest of the Rams’ quarterbacks. Prior to moving to the West Coast, he worked on the same 2016 Washington Football Team staff with UK quality control analyst Greg Manusky. The one problem with Waldron is that he is probably over-qualified for the job. Like the Chiefs’ Kafka, Waldron is in line to be hired to a prominent role somewhere in the NFL. Last season he interviewed for the Cincinnati Bengals’ head coaching vacancy, losing out to his L.A. colleague, Taylor.
Press Taylor (Eagles QB Coach)
The younger brother of Zac Taylor, Press is considered a wunderkind of sorts after helping the Eagles win a Super Bowl as a 30-year old assistant QB coach. After Cason Wentz was benched, now might be the perfect time to jump ship and return to the college game.
Pep Hamilton (Chargers QB Coach)
A name Luckett mentioned Sunday, Hamilton has helped Justin Herbert seamlessly transition into the NFL. Before taking the job in LA, Hamilton coached the XFL’s D.C. Defenders. His connection to Stoops is through Brad White. Hamilton was the Colts’ offensive coordinator when White was in Indy.
Most importantly, Hamilton has experience running a balanced pro-style offense. He mastered it coaching Andrew Luck at Stanford and implemented it at Michigan in the early years of Jim Harbaugh’s tenure.
Jedd Fisch (Patriots QB)
Like Hamilton, Fisch is another former Harbaugh play-caller at Michigan. Unlike Hamilton, since his stint in Ann Arbor he’s spent the last three seasons working for two of the NFL’s brightest offensive minds, Sean McVay and Josh McDaniels.
Ken Dorsey (Bills QB Coach)
You know him as the quarterback of the Miami Hurricanes that went to consecutive BCS National Championships. For the last eight seasons he’s been coaching quarterbacks in the NFL. He helped turn Cam Newton into an MVP with Carolina and has spent the last two seasons developing Josh Allen (not our Josh Allen, the Buffalo Bills’ Josh Allen). Stoops did not regularly work with Dorsey at Miami, but he did coach the Canes’ defensive backs when Dorsey helped Miami win the 2001 national title.
Kevin Patullo (Colts Passing Game Specialist)
Even though Stoops said he does not need to have a previous working relationship with a coach to hire them, Patullo can at least check that box. He was a graduate assistant for three years when Mark coached Mike Stoops’ defense at Arizona. Patullo was spent most of his time in the NFL, but he did take an analyst role for a year at Texas A&M.
Mike McDaniel (49ers Run Game Coordinator)
Mark Stoops wants to play an exciting brand of football that fills the stands. That can happen with a creative rushing attack that takes you to the Super Bowl. This Kyle Shanahan disciple has no experience calling plays, which might be enough to entice him to give coaching at the college ranks a shot.