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D.J. Eliot understands coach Mark Stoops “very well” can bring new ideas to UK defense


This is part of a series with Kentucky head football coach Mark Stoops based on a recent interview with him that I hope will offer insights into his personality and philosophies that you have not read about before.

Question: What makes you and defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot such a good combo?
Stoops: “For our system to be successful — as successful as we were at Florida State — we had to be great up front. D.J. has a background. He’s been with me at several different stops, so his roots of what his core of defensive thought process and defensive system goes all the way back with me all the way to Wyoming. He’s been with me at Wyoming, Houston, Miami, and then we reconnected at Florida State. He had several jobs in between and I also, where I was – I guess I was just at Arizona during that time. So he understands me very well. He understands the core of our system and then he’s very bright so he can bring in new ideas. We always constantly are trying to grow, so D.J. was a great fit for here, especially with his knowledge of the front and my knowledge of the back end.

Question: Are you and D.J. good friends off the field?
Stoops: “We are. We are good friends off the field. Our families are friends. Spending all that time together.”

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  1. Larry Pup

    I believe UK’s defense will be interesting this year. I say it will be different from last years as night and day. That will result in getting off the field more on on 3rd down stops. JMO.

  2. portlandky

    I’m just glad to be able to look forward to football with a little enthusiasm for a change. I wanted to while Joker was here, but it just wasn’t in the cards. I hope we can make a bowl run this year, but I’m a realist & just want to see the guys compete & have fun. I think both sides of the team will be greatly improved & I know that BBN will be behind them in everything they do!

  3. Tcat

    I’m just glad we finally have a staff that will make top prospects tell them no. I also think this staff has guys coaching each position group that can identify those under the radar kids that will develop into good football players. It’s obvious Coach B seems to be one that is not scared of going after the best of the best… Landing Za Smith was just what the doctor ordered… I just hope we can keep him and Dupree for 2 more seasons…lol

  4. MikeF

    The defense will be improved for a multitude of reasons, It is not near as complicated to learn, I feel we have a Coaching staff with enthusiasm that will bring the best out of our players, I feel the current staff has identified where the existing talent will be more effective and we have added some new talent into the fold. The confidence this Coaching staff brings is evident in every aspect of the program. It is obvious that “excellence” is the only goal.

  5. Ira

    A few years ago we were frustrated with our D because it was a bend don’t break philosophy. Then Minter came in and we were excited we were going to get blitzes etc. unfortunately the D was so complicated our D was lost and confused by the system Nuclear Minter ran.

    Will this be the fix we at UK are looking for? I don’t know, but at least we know the results they had from FL ST. I don’t expect miracles, but I do expect this D to be better coached.

    1. larryvaught

      Ira, I think that is a safe bet


    When Spurrier got to USC the first thing he said was ” we won’t be any good until we can redshirt the big’s for a few years”. Turns out he was right – big time.
    UK has to 1.) get em’ 2.) grow em’
    Then surround them with a myriad of playmakers.
    A three to four year proposition.
    Joker didn’t get em’ or grow em’ – – I hope the ticket buyer’s understand this as this staff lines up against those that do the aforementioned #1 & #2.

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