Offensive Coordinator Heads Back To The NFL
For the second time in as many years Mark Stoops is looking for a leader for his offense. Two years ago the UK head man and then offensive coordinator Eddie Gran parted ways. Now after only one season in Lexington his OC is headed back to the NFL. Let’s break it all down as Liam Coen leaves Kentucky.
Too Good To Pass Up
Coen came to Lexington after three years with the Los Angeles Rams and Sean McVay. In 2018 Coen was hired as wide receivers coach for the club, a job he held for two years. Before the 2020 season he became the quarterbacks coach, working mainly with Jared Goff. As the coaching carousel opened up Coen’s name has been firmly in the mix. However he reportedly turned down numerous jobs in order to stay in Lexington.
Word has it the NFL job he said no to was the offensive coordinator’s job with the New Orleans Saints. But the chance to reunite with McVey and the reigning Super Bowl champions was too good to pass up.
Source: The Rams are hiring Kentucky OC Liam Coen as their new offensive coordinator, bringing Greg Olson back to the staff, and giving assistant head coach Thomas Brown more responsibility within the offense and team.
Sean McVay moving quick to put together his '22 staff.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) February 21, 2022
An Incredible Turnaround
Many in the Big Blue Nation knows the story of Coen’s interview with Stoops. He brought a book with nearly 300 plays run by the Rams he thought would work perfectly at Kentucky. During his one year in Lexington Coen helped transform the Kentucky offense. Gone were the days of “run right, run left and run up the middle” with the occasional pass. Under his leadership Kentucky had a 1,000 yard rusher (Chris Rodriguez), a 1,000 yard pass catcher, (Wan’Dale Robinson) and a 2,000 yard passer (Will Levis.) That was the first time since 2007 Kentucky had accomplished that feat.
In 2021 Coen took over an offense which ranked last of all of the Power Five schools in passing yards. From 2020 to 2021 the Wildcat offense jumped from 123 yards passing a game to 226. Furthermore Kentucky went from 95th in the country on third and long to fifth. However the improvement was even better in the red zone as Kentucky went from 106th in the country at 51 percent to eighth at 72 percent.
Again Liam Coen leaves Kentucky and reunites with Sean McVay and the Los Angeles Rams. He takes over for Kevin O’Connell who is the new head coach of the Minnesota Vikings. Though McVay has only been a head coach for a short time his coaching tree is growing exponentially. In addition to O’Connell three other former assistants are head coaches. Zac Taylor, whose Cincinnati Bengals squad lost to the Rams in Super Bowl LVI, Matt LaFleur (Packers) and Brandon Staley (Chargers.)
As for Kentucky where do they go now? One possible name is Coen’s right hand man and current wide receivers coach Scott Woodward. Stoops has recently looked to the NFL for his assistants like Zach Yenser of the 49ers. Whether it’s the NFL or college they should have plenty of options with both Levis and Rodriguez returning. Of course some of the players who came to Lexington because of Coen look elsewhere? That’s certainly something to watch going forward.
In one season Liam Coen totally transformed the Kentucky offense. Now it’s up to Stoops to find that person to keep the ball rolling. Keep checking Last Word On College Football for updates as they become available.
Main Image courtesy Courier-Journal