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By LARRY VAUGHT
Since he coached Neal Brown in high school, former Kentucky linebackers coach Chuck Smith is obviously going to be a bit biased in his opinion about the Texas Tech offensive coordinator. However, he has no doubts that Brown would be a “tremendous hire” for new UK coach Mark Stoops to run the Kentucky offense.
“I just think it would be a tremendous hire for them if it happens,” said Smith, who was also UK’s recruiting coordinator. “Neal has such a great reputation right now. He is a hot name and has done a wonderful job. His offense has been in the top 15 (nationally) ever since he has been doing it.
“It would be a tremendous hire for Kentucky if they could lure him away from Texas Tech and get him to come here. I think it would be a big plus for the football program and state and Mark Stoops.”
Browns’ Texas Tech offense averaged over 500 yards per game this year and has been one of the Big Ten’s best the last three years under him. Before that, he had a productive offense at Troy.
What advice would Smith, who worked five years under Rich Brooks and three under Joker Phillips, give Brown about whether he should come to Kentucky?
“I would tell him it is a good place. I love the state of Kentucky,” Smith, a former UK linebacker and Jeffersontown native, said. “I love Kentucky football. My opinion would be biased. I am going to be a Kentucky fan for the rest of my life. I am probably not going to leave the state. I always will follow Kentucky football, so my opinion about him coming would be biased because I still love Kentucky.
“He just has to trust his gut and make his own decision. I have never heard a bad thing about Stoops. He sounds like a really good hire and someone that Neal could really work well with. Neal would love it here and fans would love him and his offense. I have no idea if it will happen, but it would be great for Neal and Kentucky if it did.”