Stooooooops! We all are now getting ourselves hyped and prepared for UK Football 6 months too early, right? I mean, we are in no way dismissing our renewed hope for basketball -- we just don't do that. But we have a day or so before all the intensity will crank up for destroying Texas A&M in their own lair, so let's talk some football.
UKAthletics.com has a page full of pictures and bios for the entire staff, so I am not going to go into all that specifically. You are welcome to read all that here. What I want to do is give those who do not know a kind of basic overview of what you can expect from each of the coordinators and staff members in their specific area of expertise.
Now, keep in mind this for the future -- this Kentucky team will not be constructed as they have been in days of old. When signing day hits in less than a week, we will begin to see how the new team philosophy will shape up. Mark Stoops is going to try and turn UK into a defensive powerhouse, while building an exciting offensive team that will give some of the established SEC defenses a reason to pause.
Offense wins fans and defense wins championships, or so it is said. Stoops knows this, and as foreign as the concept may be to UK football, it is the new mantra for this team. The last UK coach who built a crushing defense and a surprising offense? The Bear himself. It worked out well for him, so let's pray that the formula can lead us once again to prominence.
How will he do it? Well, let's start with the new defensive group of minds that Stoops has assembled.
D.J. Eliot will now be at the helm of the defense under Stoops' close supervision. Defense is Stoops' pride and joy, and he will not simply sit back and watch what happens. He has a defensive mindset, and Eliot was one of the men who helped him build the #2 overall defense in college football at Florida St. last season.
FSU went from 108th to #2 in one year. Eliot was a huge part of that success. His players attack on defense, then they attack some more. They are relentless in their pursuit of the football when the kickoff comes. They will rely on speed and athleticism more than we are used to seeing at UK. They will recruit big bodies and fast athletes who can close on the ball and wreak havoc for offensive coaches. They will be looking to get sacks and tackles for loss at every turn.
Eliot's staff will be compromised of a good group of coaches. Jimmy Brumbaugh, a former Auburn player and graduate, will guide the line. He was a member of LSU's 2007 championship staff, and has been a success at every level since his coaching career began. He is known for a hard-nosed approach as a player, and as a coach.
UK's secondary will be handled by two men: Bradley Dale Peveto and Derrick Ansley. Peveto comes from the same 2007 LSU championship staff as Brumbaugh, and has a long and successful tenure as a college football coach. Since his playing days at SMU in the early 1980's, Peveto has earned a reputation for building tough special teams personnel and was at the helm of the Northwestern State program in Louisiana until this season. Ansley comes from Alabama's 2011 National Championship staff, and spent last season at Tennessee. He has coached in a system that is familiar to how Stoops and Eliot want the defense run at UK.
On the offensive side of the ball, Stoops has decided to light up the night and day at Commonwealth, and he has hired the right men to do it. Former UK wide receiver and target of Tim Couch, Neal Brown, will lead the offense. Last year at Texas Tech, Brown and his #2 nationally ranked passing attack drove defenses in the Big 12 absolutely bonkers, and that is exactly what Stoops has hired him to do at UK. "Air Raid " has returned to Commonwealth, and all the excitement and non-stop action that comes along with it.
Expect the unexpected from Brown and his staff, as they will pull out all the stops to confound, confuse, and agitate SEC defenses as best they can, and undoubtedly open up the UK passing attack. Brown will throw on any down, in any situation, if he thinks he has a personnel advantage he can exploit. You can expect to see screens, reverses, fakes, bombs, slants, and every other imaginable kind of pass play in his bag of tricks, and they will play at a breakneck pace. You will see no huddle, quick huddle, trick formations, and surprises at every turn. Brown likes to keep his opponents on their heels and catch them when they are looking the other way to put up points. His offense last year was ranked 16th in the nation at 33.7 points per game, a far cry from what we have seen here at Kentucky in a while.
Brown's staff will include another former UK grad, John Schlarman, at offensive line and recruiting guru Vince Marrow at tight ends,running backs and Tommy Mainford the wide receivers. Marrow has been at Nebraska, is a former NFL player, and is one of Stoops' former high school teammates. Scott, yet another UK grad, has been with Brown since his days coaching at Troy. Mainford brings a third member of Brown's Red Raider staff to UK, which seems to be one of the truly smart moves for the program as it keeps the former Texas Tech offensive staff almost completely intact here at Kentucky.
So there you have them. They are young, hungry, smart, talented, and all of these coaches carry a rich football championship legacy from their past with them to UK. Stoops has hired winners at every position. They have played on and coached on winning staffs, and have helped bring home NCAA Championships. Can they bring one to the Bluegrass? Oh my, we do hope so.