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Time to Burn those Bridges Kentucky

Top Coaches We Could Bring To Kentucky

By Lee Ann Herring-Olvedo

 Monday morning I finally crossed back over to the Kentucky state line after 10 days on the road covering SEC football at Ole Miss. After a couple weeks in Oxford I sure know how Ole Miss feels during football season when there seems to be no light of day to their team having a chance to win a few games each season. The Rebels  are no longer the worst team in the SEC when it comes to football. I can safely say that accolade belongs to the University of Kentucky.

Well, most UK fans were ready for basketball season at the beginning of football season. After moments when it seemed that things were going to turn around with Joker or the players, we seem to be back to square one each time. It’s time to own up to the failures this program is enduring. The coaches are not clicking with their playbook or players. If we haven’t gotten to that by this point we have some serious blinders going on in this football program.

Kentucky at this point may not be the most desirable job in the SEC football, but I guarantee you if we are willing to shell out 2 million for our current Head Coach, then for this kind of money we could be making our program richer, not just an individual. So let’s burn the bridges and build new ones. That is the only logical thing I can see for this program to do to have a hope of salvaging what talent it has or can potentially have come the end of this season.

During my time away from Kentucky I have had plenty of time to play around with some prospects that we could use that 2 million to make actions speak louder than words here in the Bluegrass. Some may surprise you, and some won’t! So here’s who I see for the Wildcats in 2013

Pat Washington: Rarely, do programs want to recruit in house especially when a program is anything but success. However, this might not be so bad for the Cats to think of Washington for the HC job. Here is what I think on Washington for the Wildcats:

* Helped turn around the receiving core and shape the offense at UK.

* Experience as a player and coach in the SEC.

* Strong recruiting sense and ties to major markets in the South.

* He develops players on a fast turnaround both mentally and physically.

Bobby Petrino: Either you like him or you don’t for obvious reasons. All else aside, when it comes to football coaching alone you can’t help but admit Petrino knows the game like the back of his hand, and he wins.

* He’s going to win some games whether he’s in the big show or not that’s what he does.

* He was able to take programs like Louisville & Arkansas to the BCS, given the right circumstances he will be a hot commodity for the SEC. Hot seats up for grabs.

* Though Petrino may be flawed and have issues off the gridiron, You can never accuse him of NCAA issues, selling out stadiums , or winning games.

Chris Petersen: Probably won’t ever leave Boise State, would you if you were him?Peterson has proved to make something out of nothing, and every time a job opens up, especially in the SEC, he has to be at the top of most lists.

* He doesn’t settle on anything less than a perfect fits for his program.

* Will stick with the program until it is where it needs to be.

* Proves he can make something out of nothing.

Gary Patterson: He’s loyal, but even loyalty and success yearn for something more, something bigger. Though he has been with TCU horn frogs for some time, I am sure he can’t help but think what he could do with a bigger program, especially in the SEC.

* Since TCU is private, we can’t pin the exact figures it takes to keep Patterson there, but I guarantee you the SEC or even TEXAS are willing to throw it out there; Kentucky could be the perfect premiere for Patterson.

* Record at TCU: 114-31 in 11 full seasons.

* No slackers on his team! He is known for his hard-nosed style defense that fits right here in the SEC.

Dana Holgorsen: He is in the right hot seat. WVU even extended his contract before the season started. He creates a brand of football you want to play for, and want to come out and watch. The Cats could use that revival to the program.

* Plain and simple he knows how to score, and puts up points that make for some exciting football.

* He knows how to put players on the field and fans on the stands.

Dan Mullen: Turning water in to wine is what he has done down in Starkville. Even the Ole Miss Fans would take him if they didn’t have something magic in Hugh Freeze, even if they won’t admit it.

* Mississippi State has never won more than nine games in the regular season in the history of the program. So, if he wins ten games in the regular season this year, Mullen will have done something that no one has ever done before in State history.

* If he has done this at small SEC program like State, imagine what he could do to the other low level tier programs that paid him better like UK.

* Mullen is is a more aggressive coach with his staff and players and we need that at Kentucky.

Butch Jones: Sometimes you just have to think outside the box and outside the conference. Jones has done something at Cincy that we need to cross over into Kentucky to say the least.

* Cincinnati is undefeated and Jones is leading the way. What else do we need to say on that?

* Jones is ready to take the next big step into a bigger program and with Lexington being up the road and a fresh face, fresh conference could be the remedy we need.

Sonny Dykes: The Wildman is what comes to mind when I think of Dykes at LA Tech because he really can play head to head football with the big boys when it comes down to it. That is what we need a KY, someone who will translate that for 4 quarters of football in the SEC.

* Though he lost to Texas A&M in a heated game 59-57, he can keep fans on the edge of their seats and creates excitement within his players and staff. We could use some of that in the Wildcat den to play better.

* He has proved he can out coach an SEC football coach, after all he was Dooley’s replacement, and proves to have had better success at Tech, hell even at UT at this point with the way Dooley has been coaching.

* He’s the guy I think will end up at Kentucky. I think he is a good fit because he commands and is not afraid to get the job done, whether it be through the playbook or selling his team’s brand.

 

40 Responses to Guest post: A look at possible head coaching candidates for Kentucky

  • Daniel says:

    No Petrino. Never.

  • coldspringmike says:

    After watching that La.Tech vs. Texas A.M. game I will take Sonny Dykes in a heart-beat, just don’t bring his “D” cor. with him.

    • larryvaught says:

      IN fairness to Dykes, Louisiana Tech has seven defensive players hurt, including four linebackers. But they have an offense to help carry them. Sonny would prefer a much better defense, but doesn’t have it this year.

  • grant says:

    is nick saban and les miles out of the conversation?

  • grant says:

    ron zook? mike martz ? norm chow? chuck noll? lou holtz? woody hayes? ghost of the bear? please someone that has a clue!

  • RJ says:

    Chris Peterson in a heartbeat. He took a program from nothing to beating some of the big guys in NCAA. He plays entertaining football and does not have time for excuses. These other guys are either has beens, too much baggage or as good as they are going to get. Get Peterson at the next level and see what he can do. On the other hand, how much worse can it be???

  • TrueBlueJohn says:

    Lee Ann, I am afraid the timing is not right for us to be in the coaching market this year. Almost certainly, if they continue floundering around, both Tennessee and Auburn will be after new coaches. Who would want to take the Kentucky job when those two are open? Of the coaches you mentioned, my favorite would be Sonny Dykes. It is too bad that Mike Leach is not available, he would have taken the job in a heartbeat.

    • Ben says:

      Mike Leach may be available and should at least be approached!

      • Love SEC F-Ball says:

        I agree. Don’t rule anyone out. Leach should be on the list.

        Chip Kelly should be considered as well.
        I don’t think he would leave Oregon but he should be asked.

        • Anonymous says:

          Hey while we’re at it, let’s go for Bill Belicheck(rolls eyes)

          • Anonymous says:

            Why are your eyes rolling?
            Are they rolling because you don’t think he would consider it?
            If that is the case, then roll your eyes at most candidates.
            Let the coaching candidates eliminate U.K. not fans.

      • Lee Ann Herring-Olvedo says:

        Oh hes on my list for sure. He is a guy I have been looking to from the beginning. Just not sure if UK would be willing to bring him back intot he program. Hes a mastermind and they dotn call him the pirate for anything. I think he could really turn things around quickly!

        • Texascat says:

          Mike Leach can be had. I was for getting the check book out 6 years ago before Coach Brooks went on his bowl game run when he was making hay in Lubbock. This guy wants to be seen and that’s a bit challenging in the great Northwest.

  • P90XDude says:

    Sonny Dykes, Neal Brown, Jay Gruden

  • High Point Cat Fan says:

    I’m reluctant to suggest a replacement for Joker because I like him as a person and a leader, but if it needs to be done, how about Mark Stoops, the DC at Florida State? He has an excellent track record at providing his employers (namely FSU, Arizona, Miami Fla, and Wyoming) with solid coaching as a DC or DB coach. He also comes from good stock, as he served on his brother Mike’s coaching staff at AZ, while his brother Bob is HC at Oklahoma. He would definately bring a defensive presence to the ‘Cats, as well as deeper connections to the talent rich state of Florida.

    Here is a snip from the FSU football site on his recent accomplishments:

    “Stoops transformed Florida State’s defense into one of the nation’s best in 2011. FSU allowed its opponents to run for an average of just 2.35 yards per carry, which led the nation. The Seminoles ranked fourth nationally in total defense (275.0), second in rushing defense (82.69), fourth in scoring defense (15.1), eighth in tackles for loss (8.62) and tied for eighth in sacks (3.08 per game). His secondary ranked 20th in pass defense and 25th in pass efficiency defense. The Seminoles led the ACC in eight different defensive categories.”

  • Anonymous says:

    Would love to see us do everything possible to get Gary Patterson from TCU, this guy is a proven winner! If we can afford Calipari, we can afford Patterson. The long run will easily pay for him. Hopefully, It will take a big salary and the challenge of coaching in the SEC, plus a pre-emptive move by Barnhart to get him.

  • Steve Schuppert says:

    I have a comment about the coaching need. I like to compare it to your personal health. If you were very sick and had the risk to perish or live the rest of your life as a cripple or invalid. You would have choices of a doctor. Would you choose a young intern or would you choose an experianced doctor that had been an expert in his field for a long time?
    This football program is very sick and could die. I have supported them for over forty years and I want to WIN! We don’t need a pretty face or Doctor Phil. We need a coach that has swagger and has proven himself. If we don’t I’m done.

    • Ira says:

      Steve I could shoot that analogy down but since this is football….

    • larryvaught says:

      Great analogy Steve. One that is hard to argue against

    • UKFMLY says:

      I like your point. The young gun has been tried and even though it was fun the end results less than positive. I like the DC idea because all the other leagues has flashy offensive numbers but get smothered by SEC style defense in the BCS Championship game. The SEC is the best defensive conference in the country and that’s why the last 5 Champions are from the SEC. Not for high powered offense but smash mouth defense!!!!!!! IMHO

      KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK GO BLUE OR STAY HOME

  • Ira says:

    lee Ann you are spot on we’ve got to have a coaching change now. I wished it would have been made known after the Arkansas game that Joker’s service was ended and a interim HC was taking over but alas that was not the case.

    For myself, I like BP for his head coaching qualities. He is hard nosed which is what you have to have especially here at UK. Gary Patterson is someone else I’ve always liked very very much. I’d put so much money in front of him it would make him squirm to say no. He is very defensive oriented. The articles that I’ve read on him, stated on how he got TCU good was he took his skill players when he first came to TCU and put them on defense first and made his defense so good that his offense could actually win games. Then finally he could recruit both ways (very short version of the article).

    If we are going to look at an O-coord then we may want to look at Clemsons. Match him up with an excellent D coord out there if we are going to go with a youth movement. But I don’t prefer an O-coord at this time. I prefer someone who is winning at a mid-major who has recruiting ties to the south that can come in and create excitement at UK that can bring fans back and get the recruits needed to win at UK, but then who doesn’t.

  • grant says:

    I think the real story is the way the powers that be in the uk football administration have treated loyal fans through the years as just people that show up no matter what and are simply just happy to fork over dollar after dollar and can just live with mediocrity because this is uk football its what we do ,inherently everyone knows this and it is widely accepted. I do not blame anyone for not going to the games or who do not re-up they’re season tickets. How many times would you go to the same restaurant if the service was crappy and everytime you ordered soup there was a hair in it? Is that acceptable? What we are told over and over year after year is that we should be satisfied with Uk football being an afterthought, and really throughout much of the sec and the country Uk is just that. Uk football will never get any national respect , because barnhart doesn’t even respect the fans who support it.

  • Gene says:

    The guy who would love a second chance in the SEC and who is a hell of a coach and recruiter. He’s competant and motivated—————-Tommy Tuberville.

  • Love SEC F-Ball says:

    Good article Lee Ann, – Some good suggestions and reasons for considering each one. I would like to get someone that would stay long enough to actually turn the program around. I don’t like Petrino for obvious reasons & I don’t think he would stay. He has been at 14 different places since 1983. (Change every 2 years).

    We need someone that would recognize the talent that we have & build around that talent. Like you have said before, someone that will think outside the box. Someone that understands that it is o.k to pass on first down – not run three running plays after your QB is 5 for 5 on the previous series.

    Chip Kelly, Mike Leach, Chris Peterson or Sonny Dykes would be my first choices.
    Enjoyed the article – Thanks!

    • Lee Ann Herring-Olvedo says:

      I agree the list are long and we could compile different coaches on them for different reasons. I think the one thing is certain we need a change that fits for Kentucky not just some temporary relief that appears to fix the problem. Joker has been a good person of character and done a lot for the Cats,but its time to move up and onward!

  • Football Fan says:

    Given the current UK overall climate, only Washington on your list would even consider the job. 50 years of neglect, millions behind in facilities, no commitment or passion from leadership, are only some of the considerations coaches will take into council. Be realistic, until a culture change surfaces, no coach that could impact will answer the phone.

  • johnl says:

    The one thing i can’t understand is why is it so difficult for UK to let coaches who underperform go.I hate the excuses, he is a good man,he is a friend .and he has UK intereset at heart.Baloney,it should be what he can do with kids on the football field,and can he compete.

    The list of potential coacheing hires is a good one,and all would beat what UK currently has.Lets’ all hope that Mitch pulls the plug and brings in one of these guys.

    • lee ann herring-olvedo says:

      John I am right there with you it’s nothing personal just business in a conference like the SEC. When someone is not doing something right sure you give them time to adjust and we have but after that if its still not working it needs to be fixed or addressed because that is a waste of time and money to the program, players and fans. I don’t think its alot ot demand a successful program not necessarily one that is going to win the conference or national championsion in the first couple of years. However, one that can compete and utilize the the full depths of the talent to make this team compete day in and day out and not give in. I feel that we are trying to recruit players and staff that fit into an idea and playbook that is not what Kentucky is. Nothing wrong with going for players that are up there if tehy fit what you have to run in the play book and this system but not if they are going to be forced to change their style to fit the needs.

  • Will says:

    Petrino is the only person they should be considering. Everyone else needs to put aside their personal angst towards all things UofL, and you can save the morality discussions for your prayer group. This is big boy football we are playing in the SEC. It’s time to start acting like it.

    • Andy S says:

      Again, you are going to take wins over an ethically train wreck of a Coach and all the things he has said about Kentucky? Give me anyone cept that man.

  • Georgia Blue says:

    Bring in Sonny Dykes and his Offensive Coordinator Tony Franklin. I would love to see them two Coach our young talent. Games on Saturday would be fun to watch again. They wouldn’t make excuses on why we are not opening up the play book. It sad when your two QB carry the ball more than your running back. Plus, we can’t afford for Morgan or Jalen to get hurt, but we are using them as RB. Joker say we need to run more well he telling the wrong people. Hell we don’t call the plays. Tell your OC to run more. We fall behind because you want to pass the ball with a True-Freshman. Instead of establishing the run with your three RB George, Sanders and Mobley. Let one of them establish the running,

    • larryvaught says:

      Preach it Georgia Blue. Sonny and Tony would love to have this talent. And agree. Use those running backs. Give them a chance to make plays

    • Lee Ann Herring-Olvedo says:

      Amen Georgia Blue! If we could really communicate better and open up this play book to fit the talent we have instead of the other way around then we would have had a different season to say the least. It would be exciting if we could get that duo here!

  • Jim says:

    Petrino should be the first coach offerred. They should put in a very large buy out, so he could bolt to another school, but the price would be prohibitive. They should pay him more than Arkansas did, and fill the contract with multiple incentive bonuses for benchmark wins and bowl appearances. There is not a better candidate out there , who is a proven winner in the SEC.

    I am sick and tired of hearing a select minority of fans crying about the man’s moral character. Those select few need to switch their fandom to another school and give up their tickets, because there will be plenty of demand to fill the stadium, if Petrino is brought on board.

    Not only is the UK football program getting worse every year, under Joker, but they are geting blown out by larger margins by teams they should be competitive wih. Taking a chance on assistant coaches or up and comers is the dumbest thing that the AD could do, short of keeping the current staff in place for next season.

  • Anonymous says:

    Pay the bucks and get Gary Patterson from TCU, it will guaranty the product on the field will be prepared, play cerebral and with passion. He is a proven winner without the resources of the big BCS programs.

  • Jumpboy says says:

    Larry, why hasn’t the decision already been made? This ship is sinking fast and with recruiting going on right now we are putting ourselves way behind the 8 ball. What is Mitch waiting for?

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