Comings And Goings: On The Staff
Kentucky just wrapped up their second 10 win season in the last four years. That’s as many as the school achieved from 1950-2017. As a result, the assistants under Mark Stoops are being looked at by other schools around the country. Every year there’s lots of turnover in the coaching ranks and UK is no different. Let’s take a look at who’s in and out including a really bad-looking defection with Kentucky’s 2022 Coaching Changes.
Twice The Stoops
Nationally the hire making the most news is Mark adding his brother Mike Stoops. After trying to hire him twice including two years ago he finally got the deal done. The middle Stoops will coach the inside linebackers taking over for Jon Sumrall, who took the head coaching job at Troy. It’s an interesting full circle as Mark was defensive coordinator under Mike at Arizona from 2004 – 2009. During that time the Pac-12’s Wildcats won 25 games and played in three straight bowls from 2008 to 2010.
Before coming to Lexington Stoops was the defensive coordinator at Florida Atlantic in 2021. Before that he spent two years under Nick Saban at Alabama where he was a consultant for the 2020 national championship squad. Stoops salary is a reported 650,000 per year with various incentives and bonuses are thrown in.
He’s going to like what he sees on the field next year as the linebackers are Kentucky’s strongest defensive position. Middle linebacker Jacquez Jones coming back next season is huge for the Wildcats. As a result, the Cats have their leading tackler returning. In addition, Trevin Wallace returns as well. As a freshman, Wallace had 32 tackles, two sacks, and a memorable field goal return for a touchdown in the win over Florida.UK starts with one of the best linebacker groups in the SEC.
Defensive coordinator Brad White’s a popular name in the coaching circles right now. In fact, he turned down a similar job at LSU. He’s going to be a head coach sooner than later so Mike may end up being the defensive coordinator for Mark at some point. As we continue looking at Kentucky’s 2022 coaching changes let’s look at the offensive side of the ball.
New Big Blue Wall Architect
For the second time in as many years UK has a new offensive line coach. Zack Yenser, an assistant offensive line coach with the San Francisco 49ers, is the new man in charge of the Big Blue Wall. The northern Kentucky native got his first coaching job in 2007 working under John Schlarman at Troy. Of course, the BBN knows the late Schlarman is credited for building Kentucky into an offensive line factory before he passed away from cancer in 2020. The Cats have placed several players in the NFL recently and could add three more this season in Darian Kinnard, Luke Fortner, and Dare Rosenthal.
Spending the last three years with the 49ers Yenser coached alongside offensive line coach John Benton. During his time in San Francisco, the team made the Super Bowl in 2019 and the NFL Championship game this past year. In 2021 the offensive line did not allow a sack during postseason play, the first time a squad hasn’t allowed a sack in two or more postseason games since the New England Patriots in 2018. San Francisco ranked seventh in the NFL in total offense (375.7 yards per game), averaging 248.3 passing yards and 127.4 rushing yards per game.
Before coaching with the 49ers Yenser spent one year as an offensive quality control assistant at SMU. His other college coaching spots include California, Kansas, and Louisiana Tech. He signed a two-year deal with the Wildcats and will earn $625,000 in his first season. That number jumps up to $650,000 in 2023. If Yenser departs for another job before his deal ends, he owes the school $100,000.
Don’t Let The Door Hit You
Of course, Yenser wouldn’t be at Kentucky if there wasn’t an opening. As many of you know former offensive coordinator Eric Wolford left UK after one season in quite possibly the worst way possible.
On Friday of last week, Wolford was recruiting a late OL target for Kentucky and left to interview at Alabama
On Saturday he took the job, never came back to Lexington to tell the team bye and was recruiting the same kid for Alabama
A pretty amazingly quick turnaround
— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) February 1, 2022
By the way, the player in question did not choose Alabama. Given the track record, it’s hard to say no to being a part of Saban’s staff with the Crimson Tide. However, that’s not the way to do business.
Not Finished Yet?
You can’t talk about Kentucky’s 2022 coaching changes without talking about the elephant in the room. That’s the status of offensive coordinator Liam Coen. The former Rams assistant is reportedly a leading candidate to head back to the Super Bowl champs.
Univ. of Kentucky preparing for ‘very real possibility it loses OC Liam Coen to #Rams, per source. Coen has turned down college jobs and a pro job to stay at UK, but chance to return to LAR, work with Sean McVay will be enticing. Still has to be offered job but is firmly in mix
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) February 17, 2022
Reportedly the NFL job Coen turned down was the New Orleans Saints. After totally transforming the Kentucky offense a season ago it would be a big blow to the Cats if he left. Keep following Last Word On College Football for updates.
Thanks for checking out Kentucky’s 2022 coaching changes here. Spring football is almost here and we’ll have position previews for you soon.