Kentucky started spring practice today. Here are some thoughts from offensive line coach John Schlarman, a former all-SEC player at UK, about various subjects.
Question: Did you think you might get to come to Kentucky as soon as Neal Brown was hired as offensive coordinator?
Schlarman: “It was kind of funny. I was out recruiting and saw Stoops got hired. I had met him one time. I just kind of jokingly texted Neal that when Stoops’ brother was hired at Oklahoma as head coach he hired somebody that ran our offense. We went back and forth. Then when it became more of a reality that Neal might get hired, I thought I might have a chance. Obviously, it was an exciting time for us. You never know if you will get the opportunity to come back and coach where you played and know the people and how great the fan base is. When the talks got serious, we all got fired up and hoped this would work out for me and (running backs coach) Chad (Scott). It was nerve-wracking, but I couldn’t be happier.”
Question: Do you stay in touch with Tony Franklin, the former UK offensive coordinator who brought you, Scott and Brown all to Troy to work for him?
Schlarman: “I stay in touch with Tony. He has had a tremendous impact on my career. He is the reason I got the opportunity to go to Troy. It was his call. It’s hard to stay in close touch far away (Franklin is now offensive coordinator at California), but we talk periodically. We got to be not only coaching co-horts but friends. If not for Tony, I would not be here. I knew he was hoping this would work out this way for all of us. He brought us together at Troy and has been a big part of each one of our careers. It doesn’t surprise me he is excited for us. That’s just the type person he is. He has done a lot for me over course of the last six years and even when I was a GA here and he was the running backs coach.”
Question: Why does this offense that Franklin taught Brown and Brown has now modified work so well?
Schlarman: “It has evolved over the years. No. 1, spreading people out and getting matchups in space, that been good for it since the days of coach (Hal) Mumme. We have added dimensions with our high tempo style of offense, with the zone read running game and options it brings to the table. Being multiple as far formations and personnel is another aspect that has come a long way from when we first ran in it 1997 at Kentucky. No different now than what you see in the NFL where a quarterback not only has to throw but also have the ability to run as a big dimension to the offense. It is a systematic approach, not just a grab bag of offense. What we do is very structured from day one of installing the offense to when we play a game. I think all guys here believe in it and to have success as a player or coach believing is important.”
Next: What he wants in an offensive lineman.