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Neal Brown to Kentucky is not a done deal yet

By LARRY VAUGHT

Is Neal Brown the new offensive coordinator at Kentucky?

There have been several reports and constant speculation today that it is a “done deal” with Brown leaving Texas Tech after three years to run the UK offense for new coach Mark Stoops. However, sources indicate the reports of a “done deal” are premature and that Stoops has not hired a new offensive coordinator yet.

The new coach said Sunday he planned to interview coordinators today. That’s why it seemed a bit odd when reports of a “done deal” surfaced so early today because Stoops certainly seems like someone who doesn’t say one thing and do another.

Would I like to see Neal Brown at Kentucky? Absolutely. Sure, I’m biased. I’ve known  him for 20 years. But look at what he’s done at Troy and Texas Tech and  you should be biased for him, too. Tim Couch knows a bit about offense and he thinks his former teammate would be great for the job. Former UK offensive coordinator Tony Franklin led a high-powered offense at Louisiana Tech this year and he was the one who brought Brown to Troy as a receiver coach and recommended he become the offensive coordinator when he left. Former UK linebacker coach Chuck Smith coached Brown in high school and thinks he would be great at UK.

Obviously, would big plus for Brown would be a chance to return closer to home with his wife and two daughters. But they are all happy at Texas Tech and there’s still a chance he might be offered a head coaching position based on what several media outlets have told me today when they called to ask about Brown.

Stoops indicated he wanted a high profile offensive coordinator who could throw the ball around and have an entertaining offense. That’s Brown.

So could this happen? Absolutely. Should it happen? Again, asking me, absolutely.

But it hasn’t happened yet as both Stoops and Brown have options to weigh.

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43 comments

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  1. MezJr

    If you want an OC who can move the ball between the 20’s, Brown’s your guy.

    1. Larry Pup

      MezJr. I read similar comments on a red raider message board. What is to all that?

      1. MezJr

        Well, we were pretty spoiled with Leach for one, but for two this staff has overall been a drop off.

        Gaudy numbers vs scrubs, but weak numbers in conference games (home especially). This year with a Sr QB he had 3 years with we scored under 30 in regulation 6 times vs conf mates. In the big 12 that’s below average. Last year failed to score at all vs OSU at home, and once vs Iowa St (also at home).

        Additionally the athletes he has to work with at WR, and RB are above and beyond anything we’ve had previous (not saying much, Crabtree was an athlete but our previous talent at those positions were undersized and underspeed) yet somehow our production is sporadic.

        It could be the QB for sure, but the fans, the guys who actually know some football are very bearish on our team, a 1-4 finish after beating a WVU team who turned out to be a fraud will do that to a fan base. It could be our talent, it could be Tubs is handcuffing him (ask Tony Franklin about how that feels) or it could be he’s a middle of the road OC.

        If NB is having issues dealing with Big 12 defenses, I’m sure the SEC would be less than kind.

        Kills us even worse to see our former QB killing it in the SEC on one of our former rivals staff.

        1. Larry Pup

          Interesting. I take it you are a Texas Tech fan? Thanks for the post.

          1. MezJr

            Yeah. Watched every snap of Brown’s tenure. Swings from amazing game plans like WVU and ’11 OU to head slapping games like this year’s game vs Texas who’s D was a revolving door.

  2. Larry Pup

    Great report Larry. Boy are the rumors flying. I did see reported in C-J that Joker has been hired by Muschamp at Florida. He did not take much time off did he?

    I want for OC who Stoops wants. Whoever that is.

  3. UK 24 7

    Larry,
    A head coaching job where?

  4. oldblackhightops

    Neal said himself on a Texas radio show today that the UK reports were premature.

    The interesting part was what he didn’t say!!!

  5. Larry T Clemons

    Stoops and Brown ! ” I’m Down “, meaning up, happy, elated, if it can happen….Like I said earlier, this could be a Twofer … ( Stoops & Brown ) vs ( Petrino ), even the Petrino fans, like me, should be very happy for this One, Two punch…Mitch did Good and is working on Better. Thanks MB and your selection Team. Maybe Quarterback Coach next, who could fill that seat, maybe fill a whole COUCH…(lol).

  6. UK 24 7

    Well it looks like Neal Brown wants to be a HC at Southern Mississippi. I guess he’s done with the OC gig. I think he’s going to stay at TT until a job comes along. I guess he’s rose above the UK job at a young age. Wasn’t he interviewed fot the UK HC job a couple days after Phillips was fired? Guess he’s not ready for the SEC in his or Mitch’s opinion. Stoops will get results with or without Neal Brown. I’m sorry he might miss out on all the fun.

    1. Larry T Clemons

      Well worth the pursuit….

    2. larryvaught

      UK247 not sure where you are getting info, but don’t believe Neal has rose above UK. Remember, today was scheduled to be day Stoops interviewed OCs. Southern Miss is open, but Neal not only potential candidate for Southern Miss

  7. HONDO2

    COUCH DID NOT INDICATE THAT HE TALKED TO BROWN ABOUT THE HEAD UK JOB??? OR ANY UK JOB FOR THAT MATTER–COUCH DID SPEAK UP FOR BROWN AS THE OC UNDER STOOPS SAYING THAT THEY WERE GOOD FRIENDS AND FORMER TEAMMATES AT UK–

    SECOND–NO ONE WANT’S TO RUSH OUT AND PUBLICLY SPEAK OUT FOR AN OC JOB AT UK OR ANY SCHOOL–THAT KIND OF DECISIONS ARE MADE IN PHONE CALLS AND DINNER MEETINGS–

    STOOPS SAID THAT HE WAS GOING ON THE ROAD TO SPEAK TO PROSPECTIVE COACHES BUT THE DC JOB WAS FILLED[IT WAS WITH ELLIOT YESTERDAY--ANNOUNCEMENT]

    I THINK BROWN COMES TO UK AS THE OC–

    HONDO2

    1. larryvaught

      You got it exactly right Hondo

      1. Larry Pup

        Don’t know much about Eliot other than him and coach Stoops go back aways. He is on the defensive staff at FSU. As for Brown, I am for that hire, but I have heard good and bad about him. I think he would be great for UK. Larry V do you remember why he left UK for UMass?

  8. RJ

    If Brown comes to KY there is a lot to get excited about. But I still caution everyone that next year have have the same players that we have this year plus some freshmen. Yeah they will be bigger and tougher under Stoops and may win a few more games but this is year one. A championship team gets built one player at a time.

    1. Larry Pup

      RJ…. I sure would not dispute what you say, but I believe we have some good players. Coaching and attitude can make a big difference.

      1. RJ

        Larry. I agree handily. I recall back in the day at Boyle County when we had only 2 wins one season. We brought in Dennis Sexton as HC and won the district the very next season had the regional won until an inopportune fumble ruined our evening.

        Notice I said ” we won the district” not the state AA championship. That took a long time, the right coaching staff and a vast change in demographics that brought a lot of new and talented players to the team.

        In my comments, my only point is that don’t let our optimism cloud reality. By having unrealistic expectations, we let ourselves in for a potentially huge let down and we are ready to throw Stoops under the bus in just one season. This is not fair to the new coach.

        1. larryvaught

          Amen to that RJ. Expectations have to be realistic

        2. Larry Pup

          Amen to that!

      2. RJ

        I’ll wish for the moon but I’ll settle for progress the first year.

  9. Larry Pup

    MezJr…I get the feeling your not sold on NB as OC?

    1. MezJr

      Let me put some context here: I’m a TTU alum, was surfing around twitter for news of NB’s fate when I came across a link to this article.

      Him moving to UK makes a level of sense he is from Kentucky and did play at UK (before transferring to UMass).

      However, from my perspective I find it interesting that an OC of a 20-17 team seems to be a hot commodity. He has put up some solid stats, and even had some inspired performances against some (at the time percieved) good teams. On the level however the TTU fan base… would not miss him at all.

      That being said, I’d like to think I’m fairly reasonable. It could be the QBs (he’s had 2, Potts was a RS Sr, Doege he had for 3 years and is graduating now). It could be the roster (TTU was light on “real” RB, and no real TE), TTU now has a roster of his making and still remain mediocre (by B12 standards). It could be the conservative HC, Tuberville tried air raid before at AU with Tony Franklin and that didn’t work out well.

      As an air raid guy though he’s a bit odd. Air raid doctrine is that the coach is down on the field which he is, but also makes up for that lack of field vision by having the QB make a lot of adjustments at the line. This is why you see Leach with that little sheet, also seen at TAMU (I’ve not seen many LATech games to judge how Dykes does it), also the same way Holgerson did it at OSU and now at WVU.

      Instead NB calls a play in, they line up, then the guy in the box calls adjustments down and he calls them in to NB who makes judgements and then revises his call to the QB. This has resulted in a few Delay of games and burned timeouts. This could be the result of QB inability to read D properly or could be a philisophical shift from standard air raid doctrine.

      Regardless of the specific reasons, NB offense at TTU has lit up the stat sheet, not really the score board.

      1. larryvaught

        Mez, how many points did Texas Tech score compared to UK. How many games did it win.
        Also, don’t you think the Texas Tech defense might be a little bit of the blame for those losses.
        tuberville always throws coaches/players under the bus
        Neal’s offense is not perfect, but which one is. Heard no complaints when Tech beat Oklahoma last year.
        Ask college coaches about his offense and you might get a different answer from what Texas Tech fans apparently are thinking.

        1. MezJr

          Hey, I’m willing to admit I may be wrong that he’s a great coordinator, I outlined the possibilities above. I just don’t feel that I’ve seen it consistently.

          To your comment: “Heard no complaints when Tech beat Oklahoma last year.” If you read my comment above: “Swings from amazing game plans like WVU and ’11 OU to head slapping games like this year’s game vs Texas” you get my point here. Were those the real NB, or simply the addage “even a broken clock is right twice a day”.

          TTU Record the past 3 seasons: ’10 8-5, ’11 5-7, ’12 7-5. That includes the first losing season in nearly 20 years (shut out vs Iowa St, the lone score was a D score and 1 td vs OSU) . The 5-7 season ended 0-5 after the OU win, this season ended 1-4.

          As for scoring comparison, I don’t know what UK did, he may be an upgrade. Above I noted that in conference games TTU scored under 30 6 times in regulation. That may sound like a lot but it’s below average for the Big 12, especially when WVU who TTU held to 14 dropped over 50 on UT and TTU got 2 TD and 3 FG in the red zone, and another blocked.

          Thats why I said that he was the guy to move it between the 20s.

          Also, some offensive scoring stats this year are skewed since TTU went to overtime 3 times.

          As to your point about the D, absolutely, the D has been TERRIBLE. In ’11 ranked in the 100s.

          I’m judging based on the offensive production alone, ESPECIALLY this year, his 3rd with a SR QB and a pretty deep set of offensive skill players… not very good.

          If you want a guy who can only top 30 twice in regulation (WVU and TCU) vs Big 12 opponents, good luck when your SEC defenses come to town.

          1. Larry Pup

            MezJr..What was the run versus pass precentages? Did TTU run the ball sparingly? I assume the answer is yes with air raid.

          2. MezJr

            @Larry Pup

            Without looking at all the game stats I’d want to say 60/40. Looking at the TCU game (close overtime win) 42 passes 318 yds 27 rush for 71 yds. Vs UT (close game for most of it, bigger more athletic D) pass 44/329 rush 28/112. I actually was at that game and there were some big gains, and some rushes on 2nd and long for negative yardage.

            You hear some of the more frustrated Tech fans grumble when a run play’s called but that’s just the guys who don’t know football. Leach didn’t run much in his first few years but he used the shovel pass a LOT which is basically a draw. Really you need to have an inside threat, it makes sense that you come out in a 3 or 4 WR set the D would spread to meet that set and you’d be looking at a box with only 4 or 5 guys, call a run into that and you can make some hay. Especially in the B12 where the D lines tend to be pash rush guys not run stoppers now. Great example of this air raid + rush was what Holgerson ran at OSU in 2010 with Kendall Hunter.

            Brown runs out of the pistol 2 back quite a bit and the shotgun 2 back.

            My personal criticism of the run game often is some of the run plays take too long to develop. Slow developing counter & draw instead of more north/south attack.

  10. HONDO2

    THERE WAS COMMENTS ON THIS BOARD YESTERDAY REGARDING THE 3/4 DEFENSE—THE STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES–WHAT WAS REQUIRED TO RUN IT–AND ETC

    YEARS BACK A CLOSE FRIEND WAS THE DC FOR THE ATLANTA FALCONS[DOUG SHIVELY--FORMER UK FB PLAYER FROM LAFAYETTE HS--SON OF BERNIE SHIVELY--UK AD] DOUG WAS RUNNING THE 3/4 WITH THE FALCONS–I WENT TO CAMP THERE DURING THE SEASON–THE FALCONS WAS THE ONLY NFL TEAM RUNNING THE 3//4–MOST PEOPLE SAID IT WOULD NEVER WORK–

    IN EXPLAINING THE 3//4 TO ME AND HIS REASON FOR RUNNING IT DOUG SAID THIS—
    TO RUN THE 3//4 YOU HAVE TO HAVE 2 THINGS–#1–A GREAT NOSE TACKLE TO STACK THINGS UP AT THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE–NOT NECESSARILY MAKE A LOT OF TACKLES BUT MAKE PILES//STACKS OF PEOPLE AT THE LINE FOR THE LB’S TO GET TO AND SEAL#2–GREAT RANGY LB’S THAT COULD COVER LARGE AREAS AND SEAL AT THE LINE—DOUG SAID WE HAVE THE LB’S–WE ARE LOOKING FOR A GREAT NOSE TACKLE[THEY WERE TRYING BRYANT[A FORMER UK TACKLE AT NOSE TACKLE]BUT THAT DIDN’T WORK OUT–MOST PEOPLE LAUGHED AT THE 3//4 BUT IN A FEW YEARS MORE NFL TEAMS WERE RUNNING THE 3//4 THAN THE 4//3–

    HONDO2

  11. Bill

    There are a couple of interviews online where Tuberville says Brown needs to call more running plays. Not being able to run the ball in the SEC is a recipe for losing.

  12. Larry Pup

    MezJr..thanks for the TTU run/pass info. It sounded like Tech’s attack was balanced. The type football played most of the time depends on personel you have to lineup with. In the SEC, the big boys, i. e. Alabama and UGA, etc. all have big bruising backs who punish tacklers. I believe that is a necessary ingredient in any successful offense in the SEC. UK has some decent backs, but we don’t have a Lacy or a Gurley yet. I was just curious to see how much NB’s offense ran the ball.

    1. MezJr

      Right, you’re at ‘Bama your guys are bigger, faster and stronger than the guys on the other side, no need to get “fancy”. Run. Them. Over.

      At TTU, and I’m sure its similar at UK, on balance our players are not going to be Bigger/Faster/Stronger than the big boys in our league. To win, we HAVE to out-fox.

  13. 70'sDHS'er

    Larry and Larry Pup,
    I totally agree with MezJr — he did a great job covering the Tuberville / Brown years at TT. I ran a post in a previous column about the situation in Lubbock and will repeat it below. I grew up in Danville and would love to see UK football successful, but I hope UK doesn’t rush into another hire without studying all the factors. Here’s my previous post…
    “Lately I’ve seen several pieces on Neal Brown’s future at UK and his success at Texas Tech. I’d like to present a little bit of the other side of the story. Although I graduated from DHS and love UK athletics, I live in the West and became a TT Red Raider fan by marriage. We’ve attended many TT games in Lubbock and loved the Air Raid offense of Mike Leach. However, over the last three years, Tuberville and Brown have guided the Red Raiders and I’m not sure anyone in Lubbock now thinks their offense is an Air Raid offense. In fact, I think most in West Texas believe the program has fallen off considerably under Tuberville and Brown. Although it’s hard to tell if the problem is Tuberville’s coaching, the lack of a defense, or Neal’s offense; the change has been dramatic. Under Leach from ’07 – 09, Tech went 9-4, 11-2, and 9-4. With Tuberville, Tech has gone 8-5, 5-7, and 7-5. I think the consensus in Lubbock is that the Red Raiders have had talented players, but under-performed in the last three years. Also, TT success is judged by their Big 12 record and W-L’s against OU, UT, OSU, and KSU. Tuberville and Brown have yet to produce a winning Big 12 record; going 3-5, 2-7, and 4-5 during the last three years. So, although QB Seth Doege has run up big numbers at Tech, their record has been average when it counted – against quality teams. During most of the games we’ve seen over that 3 year span it’s been sad, with OSU and KSU looking more like the old Tech Air Raid offense than TT. So, as UK searches for an OC, Wildcat fans should have the full story on TT. Neal might make a great OC at UK, but the past 3 years have been rough in West Texas.”

    1. Larry Pup

      70’sDHS’er…Any read on how the players at TTU feel about Tuberville/Brown, particularly Brown? Just curious. Glad to hear and ponder another point of view, especially from a Kentucky native. GO BIG Blue!!!!!

    2. larryvaught

      Again, Neal’s numbers for the Tech offense are pretty darn good. Has to be a reason he’s respected among football folks so much. And also a reason that Tuberville has not been able to get the job offers he wants. He likes to have total control of a lot of things and the Tech defense has led to lot more problems than the Tech offense from all I have seen and been told

  14. shinny

    Stoops says he wants to run the ball and play wide open offense. The fans on TT board sound like board reporters! They said they were tired of run calls on 3rd down and long,tired of bubble screens,etc. I trust Stoops he knows he is going to have a good defense with Coach Eliot and HE WILL HAVE A GOOD OFFENSE no doubt.If Brown is truly offered the USM job at a great football school I would be surprised if he come to Kentucky! Regardless Stoops is the man and who he gets as OC we will be happy or do you want to go back to Sanders? Ba-ha-ha-ha!!!!!

  15. Love SEC F-Ball

    Looks like The TT Red Raiders defense gave up an average of 48 points per game for the five games that they lost this year. It is hard for the offense to overcome that point total. I would be happy to get Neal Brown.

    I agree with Shinny – I will be happy with Stoops selection!

  16. Larry Pup

    It has been stated that the TTU defense was less than stellar.

  17. Larry T Clemons

    We all would Love Neal Brown, but its nice to see we have Faith in our New Coach Mark Stoops and we’ll support his selection for OC…great to see that, IMO.

  18. Larry Pup

    Larry T..I want who coach Stoops wants, bottom line. The choice is his.

  19. RJ

    Just to be the devil’s advocate here I would like to interject something to think about. Joke Phillips was a “home boy” and for what ever reason it didn’t work out. Neal Brown is a favorite “home boy” of mine and I would be tickled to get him as OC. Also know that there is a significant probability that he can’t cut it, just like Joke didn’t cut it as HC. There are so many things out of his control.

    For me, I’d love to have him as OC. But, you have to look at this stuff with cold steely eyed objectivism. I love his numbers. I think he has paid his dues with points to spare. I say bring him here and give him a shot. But just because he is a favorite doesn’t mean the football gods have lined up behind him. With team chemistry, recruiting luck and player development rates, you just never know.

    Are there better candidates out there? I don’t think so. But I can be wrong. You just never know what it is going to take to make this thing tick!! Go Cats!

  20. RJ

    Sorry “joker”! Typo.

  21. Chris

    Browns’ offense had not only stalled, made ignorant calls on 2nd and 3rd and long, but also put the defensive side of the ball in so bad positions. Now you can put blame on his, you can place it on Tubberville or not allowing Brown full control of the offense(rumors) or the offense not performing to their abilities. Regardless he is the OC and the lack of consistency, the delay of games penalties and the inability to stop shooting themselves in the foot all goes back to coaching and how you address these things and i for one have only noticed a decline and and not an upward trend. So to say its more defense than offense is ludacris. Yes the defense are not world beaters, but they certainly made a huge improvent from last year. Defense was what kept up in most games this season and i for one say Tech possibly could have had 2 more wins had the offensive not come to a hault. Now this is just my opinion and im sure others will not agree with me, but who cares lol.

    1. Larry Pup

      That is what several TTU people have said about NB. I would support him if he is the choice, but there are doubters out there. If we get the future horses in the stable I believe he could put together a pretty good offense.

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