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Mark Stoops gives update on UK’s bowl plans and OC search

“We’re excited about moving forward with a bowl game.”

Mark Stoops
By Jason Marcum
Jason Marcum - Sea of Blue

It’s been an emotional weekend for Mark Stoops.

Less than 24 hours after watching many of his seniors play their final game at Kroger Field, Stoops announced that he was parting ways with offensive coordinator Eddie Gran and QBs coach Darin Hinshaw.

The eighth-year head coach brought both coaches to Lexington in 2016, and they helped Stoops take this program to levels it hadn’t reached in decades.

So as you can imagine, it was a very difficult decision for Stoops to make, but it was one he felt was in the best interest of the program.

Not long after the moves were announced, Stoops met with media via Zoom to discuss the decision. He revealed that Gran leaving was a mutual decision and both coaches are still on good terms.

“We’re still on the same page,” said Stoops. “That’s the beautiful thing. This was a mutual decision.”

Stoops also revealed that Kentucky will accept an invitation to a bowl game after there was speculation the Wildcats may skip this postseason.

“We do plan on playing a bowl game,” Stoops stated. “We absolutely do. We had a team meeting this morning, and the vast majority of the guys are excited and want to play. There are few that just need some time...need some time to heal up both physically and mentally, and I completely understand that.

“We’re excited about moving forward with a bowl game.”

Stoops also announced that the current staff will handle coaching duties left vacated by Gran and Hinshaw, though he declined to say who will call plays in the bowl game.

As for the offensive coordinator search, Stoops didn’t reveal too much on what he’s looking for, though he did say he wants Kentucky’s offense to be “balanced but also exciting to watch.”

As for a timeline on making a hire, Stoops said he’s planning to have one made by the start of the early signing period, which begins December 16th, just 10 days away. With that short of a timeline, one would think Stoops already has some candidates in mind.

One name that’s already starting to pick up buzz is Oklahoma Sooners offensive coordinator/associate head coach/recruiting coordinator Cale Gundy, the brother of Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy.

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