The Kentucky Wildcats football program will have a major void to fill in the coming weeks on its coaching staff.
As first reported by Kentucky Sports Radio’s Ryan Lemond, defensive line coach Derrick Leblanc will be leaving Lexington and joining the Arkansas Razorbacks for a similar position. Soon after Lemond’s tweet the news was confirmed by a spokesperson from UK.
As feared, I just heard that @UKFootball defensive line coach Derrick LeBlanc is in fact leaving UK to take a similar position at @RazorbackFB #BBN— Ryan Lemond (@ryanlemond) January 3, 2020
This loss will come as a major blow when you consider the stability that Leblanc has created on the front lines of UK’s defense. A large part of the Cats’ recent success can be attributed to the transformation on both the defensive and offensive lines. A stout front is such a critical piece to winning games in the SEC.
Kentucky has finished the 2018 and 2019 seasons with a top 3 scoring defense in America. So needless to say, whoever takes over for Derrick LeBlanc will have some big shoes to fill.
But with the talent that UK has returning along with some key additions, you would have imagine that the open job will attract some terrific candidates. Kentucky is coming off victories in the Citrus Bowl and Belk Bowl in consecutive years. That winning culture and a team loaded with talent will give Mark Stoops the opportunity to sell this position to some of the top qualified coaches around the country.
It has been reported that LeBlanc was sought after last season by other programs but ultimately chose to stay in Lexington for the 2019 season. So it’s safe to assume that Mark Stoops was somewhat prepared for this possibility.
Leblanc’s departure isn’t the only coaching position that will require a replacement this off-season. Just a few weeks ago it was announced that special teams coach Dean Hood would be leaving to join the staff at Murray State.
The departures of assistant coaching is a necessary consequence of on-field success. It is a great sign to see Mark Stoops’ staff get opportunities elsewhere based on their efforts and accomplishments at UK.
Best of luck to Coach LeBlanc at Arkansas.