By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky coach Mark Stoops admitted it was “very difficult” to lose outside linebackers coach Andy Buh during the middle of spring practice but understood why Buh was leaving to become defensive coordinator at Maryland.
“I really have a lot of respect for Andy. I think he’s a great football coach. He’s got great passion and energy. I really liked what we were doing in the special teams. So, it’s a tough loss, but I really wish him the best. He’s going to work for a friend of his, and I’m close with (Maryland head coach) DJ Durkin as well. So, we wish him and his family the very best,” Stoops said after Wednesday’s practice.
“He had a great opportunity to go be a defensive coordinator. That’s what he ultimately wanted to be.”
Durkin called Stoops and said he “hated” to hire Buh during spring practice but he had an opening occur.
“You have to go get the very best people you can, and Andy is a great coach. Again, we wish him the best. Bad timing, but we’ll be fine. We’ll manage it. Will elevate (quality control) coach Matsakis, Louis Matsakis for the rest of spring to handle the special teams in particular,” Stoops said. “Coach Eliot will oversee the outside and inside backers. We’ll get through these last remaining practices and then I’ll have time to go look for somebody.”
Stoops isn’t sure what approach he will take to filling the vacancy on his staff.
“I can hire an inside backer and special teams guy or an outside backer. Coach Eliot is versatile enough, and we’ve gone back and forth just because coach Eliot has so much experience with outside guys and d-ends coming from Florida State and the great things we did there,” Stoops said.
“Fundamentally we need to get better at outside and inside, so we’ll see. We’re going to get the best coach we can, somebody with a strong special teams background as well.”