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Liam Coen Leaves Kentucky, Again

Liam Coen Leaves Kentucky

Heading Back To The NFL

On this Groundhog Day history is repeating itself. For the second time in three seasons Mark Stoops heads into February looking for a new offensive coordinator. Usually when the Big Blue Nation talks about “One and Done” it’s in regards to the basketball program. However this time it’s football. Let’s break it all down as Liam Coen leaves Kentucky, again for the NFL.

One Foot Out The Door?

Coen came to Kentucky in 2021 after previously working on the Los Angeles Rams’ staff. After one season he returned to the NFL with the Rams as their offensive coordinator. Following a less than successful stint in the league he came back to Kentucky for 2023 saying he wanted to be here for a while. Of course that didn’t happen.

While the Cats didn’t quite replicate the success of 2021 they were a whole lot better than the one year Rich Scangarello ran the show. Last season Kentucky averaged eight more points a game than in 2022 but were 100th nationally in yards per game with 339. Furthermore, they ranked last in college football in total number of plays.

While he didn’t have the success he hoped with the Rams one important thing did happen. With L.A.’s quarterback room decimated by injuries, they brought in Baker Mayfield. He led them to a come-from-behind Thursday night win over the Las Vegas Raiders 17-16. In that game, Mayfield threw for 230 yards and two touchdowns. Even more important he credited Coen with getting him ready.

The Mayfield Connection

Kentucky’s season ended in a Taxslayer Gator Bowl loss to Clemson. Despite saying he wanted to be in Lexington for a long time Coen’s name was linked to just about every coordinator job available. First, it was the Chicago Bears, then Ohio State, and even the open Boston College head coaching position. However, he finally got the call from the Buccaneers.

One big part of that is Mayfield who used his success with the Rams into a job with Tampa as Tom Brady‘s successor. Not only did he lead them to an NFC South title but a playoff win over Philadelphia. Reportedly will re-sign with the Bucs and had input in picking his new coordinator.

Former Tampa Bay offensive coordinator Dave Canales left for the head coaching job with the Carolina Panthers. Now Coen takes over calling the plays for head coach Todd Bowles.

So as Liam Coen Leaves Kentucky, again let’s look at what happens with his old school.

Playing Catch Up

Coen was the 11th highest-paid assistant in college football and was scheduled to make 1.8 million in 2024. Of course, that’s out the window as Stoops now looks for someone to run the offense. Most importantly what happens with the Wildcat’s incoming players is the most pressing item of business.

That begins with incoming Georgia transfer Brock Vandagriff . Handpicked by Coen, the former Bulldog is the heir apparent to Devin Leary. In what can only be considered good news for the BBN Vandagriff’s father says his son is staying no matter who runs the offense. While that sounds promising the Cats have several talented returning receivers including Barion Brown and Dane Key. Furthermore, they have some really good incoming players through the portal in Raymond Cottrell and Ja’Mori Maclin.

Whoever gets the new job at Kentucky is going to spend the spring and into the summer convincing people to stay. In this age of the transfer portal getting everyone to stay is a tough task. This is arguably Stoops’ most important off-season and the task has gotten tougher.

He’s already replaced wide receivers coach Scott Woodward, who followed Coen to Lexington in 2021. Stoops also let go of offensive line coach Zach Yenser and brought back former coach Eric Wilford, who left after the 2021 season in a less-than-ideal way. He had been at Alabama and wasn’t retained when Kalen DeBoer took over.

So Liam Coen leaves Kentucky, again as Stoops heads into the spring looking for a new offensive coordinator. We’ll keep you updated as things progress here at Last Word On College Football.

 

Liam Coen Leaves Kentucky
Photo courtesy: Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen/USA TODAY NETWORK / USA TODAY NETWORK

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