Guest post: UK offense not lot better now than at end of Joker Phillips’ era

UK's offense ranks 13th in the SEC in scoring. (Vicky Graff Photo)

UK’s offense ranks 13th in the SEC in scoring. (Vicky Graff Photo)


Let me start by saying I was a big Mark Stoops fan when he was hired. It looked like a “home run” hire to me. I am also a big Eddie Gran fan.

That being said, facts always help to keep my emotions in check. Facts bring me back to the reality of the situation. After UK football’s third SEC game I thought I would check the facts.

Here is what I found. UK is averaging 10 points per game against SEC opponents. That is 13th best in the SEC. Vanderbilt is ranked 14th at 8 points per game.

According to the NCAA website, UK is currently 92nd in scoring offense out of 128 teams in the FBS. To add a little perspective to our current situation UK was 60th in scoring in 2014-2015 which was Neal Brown’s last year as offensive coordinator. Last year with the oft-maligned Shannon Dawson as the offensive coordinator  Kentucky ranked 95th in scoring offense. That compares similarly to where we are today.

To add a little additional perspective to the situation in the last year of the Joker Phillips era UK’s offense ranked 116th in scoring offense.

The bottom line is the today’s UK offense hasn’t moved the needle much from the Joker Phillips era and has taken several steps back from the time that Neal Brown was running the offense.

Until I checked the facts I don’t think I would have believed that was possible. It’s always good to check the facts to gain a little different perspective.


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  1. I sure wish Brown had stayed at Kentucky, but I was glad to see him get the head job at Troy. By the way, Troy is now 4-1 and first in the Sun Belt. It beat Southern Miss at Southern Miss, demolished New Mexico State 52-6 and scared the bejesus out of Clemson at Clemson before losing by six. If Stoops can’t make it work at UK, the Cats would be nuts not to look at Brown as his replacement. He played and coached at UK, he’s shown he can get the job done as a head coach and he’s got a really cool last name.

    1. Amen to everything about Neal Brown, including the last name

  2. I don’t know why we keep questioning about the football program. It is what it is, yeah I had high hopes of Stoops turning it around but it just not happening to the fact we let other sec schools get ahead of us 20-30 years ago and we set stalemate over the years. Its like the other schools are trying to catch up to our basketball program in which we are light years ahead of them.

    I’m cheering them on regardless!!!

  3. It’s called accountability!

  4. if you really want Brown, 1st you have to winnow Stoops contract down to a manageable number. That will give Brown a couple more years to establish himself. Probably too late then.

  5. Hire Art Briles, he is looking for work. Check his coaching resume too. Stoops replaced a good OC with two, and the one he fired still beat his (Stoop’s) defense by nine, coming from behind by 25. Talk about a game UK should have won, that is the “GAME” in my book. Truth be told, Stoops will remember that one for the rest of his life too. That loss makes it real hard for UK to get to the magic 6 wins needed in 2016. There was no offense at all against Alabama. No protection for the UK QB, and no run game. Having said that, they were the No. 1 team in the land, so I will cut Gran and Hinshaw some slack in that one. The Alabama game just shows that UK still has a long way to go player wise in order to compete in the SEC. When 12 players transfer from UK, in less than a year, about nine out of a great signing class, it hurts team depth.

  6. The season isn’t even half over Keith. Your statistical sample isn’t valid.

  7. You’re right Norm. There’s a lot of football to be played. There are a lot of reasons players leave the team. I was not good enough for college ball but my brother was. He played for Roy Kidd at EKU back in the dark ages. By the time his freshman class started as sophomores, they had lost 15 players out of this freshman class. Some left due to injury. Some left because they didn’t want to work that hard and a few didn’t give it time to develop getting into the playing rotation. They wanted is NOW. And a few, he said, were just head cases.

    It’s not about who leaves the team. It’s about who stays and works hard to get better.

    1. Well RJ? Towles played quite a bit and left, same for Reese, so UK had to go quickly find a backup and thus signed Stephen Johnson. Reggie Meant left as a defensive stalwart at UK, and is now at Jax State, no reasonable explanation given for his departure other than personal reasons. Mikel Horton was slated to be the featured back in 2016, and he’s gone. Reese Phillips hung around for three years and exited to Montana State, and he had some things to say about Stoops that got published after his exit. The others I reference were highly touted 3 and 4 star recruits from a top 30 recruiting class that never saw the playing field for UK. This gives me pause when I hear Stoops constantly use the “no depth” excuse, and excuses for youth being a problem right here in his fourth year at UK. Look I am going to honest out here, I’m not a Stoops fan, I will admit. If he gets this program turned around it will be a modern day miracle.

  8. Year offense defense Net
    2012 1.946 2.206 -0.260
    2013 2.321 2.097 0.224
    2014 2.794 1.812 0.982
    2015 2.520 1.753 0.768
    2016 2.668 2.208 0.460

    The offense has been more efficient in each of Stoops’ four seasons than Joker’s last season. However, the Stoops’ offensive efficiency falls short of the average in the SEC which was 2.983 ppp in 2012 and is 3.042 ppp at this point in 2016. It appears that the offensive efficiency has leveled off between 2.5 and 2.8 since 2014. Defensively, Stoops’ team in 2016 is essentially the same as it was in 2012 after steady improvements on defense in 2013, 2014, and 2015. The defense has clearly played better the last 2 weeks, but on the season, it is unacceptable.

    Odd that defense was at the top of Stoops’ pedigree.

  9. Boys in the final analysis it all boils down to wins and losses… bottom line. Stoops’ overall record through the first 5 games in 2016 stands at 14-27 with an SEC record of 5-22. Not a real feel good feeling that this program is headed in the right direction IMO. I hope he can turn it around for his sake, and then I look at the schedule going forward this year, and I get real doubtful. If Stoops don’t squeeze out six wins in 2016 he will draw a lot of fire. The question then becomes is UK getting their money’s worth with this hire.

  10. Art briles , Les miles , gomer poles, hire someone. Geez. When a big name in college football coaching becomes available and you don’t make a run at the coach then shame on this program. Mired in mediocrity or less forever. Oh well.

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