Florida State defensive coordinator Mark Stoops is an intriguing choice for UK football.
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WDRB) – You've heard the chatter around the University of Kentucky football program: Fans don't expect SEC titles. But they would enjoy a team that wins eight or nine games – as long as they were entertaining.
That suggested this game plan as UK tracked a replacement for Joker Phillips: A coach with an impressive offensive pedigree.
But the talk in the coaching grapevine today is that UK athletic director Mitch Barnhart is calling an audible. He could be borrowing from the Tom Jurich blueprint by taking a serious look at a defensive coordinator with strong connections to the state of Florida, the way Jurich did when he hired Charlie Strong.
The hot name Sunday is Mark Stoops.
Stoops has made his name and reputation by coaching defense, currently at Florida State as Jimbo Fisher's defensive coordinator. He is also the brother of Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, another guy known for coaching defense.
Stoops has excellent credentials. He knows the South. He has recruited at a high level. And his Seminoles' defense ranks second in the nation in total defense, fourth in rushing defense and seventh in scoring defense. FSU (10-2) has allowed only 15 points per game this season.
Stoops, 45, played at Iowa. He grew up in Youngstown, Ohio. He coached with his brother, Mike, for three seasons at Arizona before moving to Florida State in 2010. Before that he worked for Larry Coker at the University of Miami. Like I said, plenty of recruiting connections to Florida.
Much of the speculation at Kentucky has focused on names such at Butch Jones of Cincinnati, Tommy Tuberville of Texas Tech and Mike MacIntyre of San Jose State. This would be an intriguing curve ball. A guy like Stoops would have to hire an up-and-coming offensive coordinator. But his pedigree looks solid.
The final question would be this: Would Mark Stoops excite the Kentucky fan base?