Sidelines with John Clay

E-mailbag: Mark Stoops remains hot topic

There were plenty of discouraging moments for Kentucky coach Mark Stoops in last Saturday’s 45-7 loss at Florida. The defeat dropped Stoops’ record to 12-26 as the UK coach.
There were plenty of discouraging moments for Kentucky coach Mark Stoops in last Saturday’s 45-7 loss at Florida. The defeat dropped Stoops’ record to 12-26 as the UK coach. Lexington Herald-Leader

There were plenty of unhappy readers after Kentucky football opened the season with a 44-35 loss to Southern Miss. Last Saturday’s 45-7 torching at Florida didn’t brighten my inbox. Some samples.

Van writes:

“Only a few coordinators have what it takes to be a head coach. It requires an entirely different skill set particularly hiring the right assistants and letting them do the job. It was obvious last year that Stoops doesn’t have what it takes to be a head coach. It’s even doubtful he has what it takes to be a defensive coordinator.

“Yesterday they were only able to get Florida in a third down situation about half of the time and only forced a punt two times. Barnhart should be fired for jumping the gun on extending his contract and giving him a huge buy out. The contract should be based on performance. Stoops will have to be fired eventually, so it would be better to do it now while there is some talent for qualified coaches to work with.”

I replied saying that plenty of coordinators -- Nick Saban, for example -- have gone on to be excellent head coaches. I also said that most head coaches were coordinators at one time. Van wrote back:

“You have to work your way up from position coach to coordinator and then head coach. My point is that when you hire a coordinator who has never been a head coach that you never know whether he has the skill set to make it as a head coach. Some times it works (Saban, Meyer, Harbaugh) but most of the time it doesn’t. In the business world it’s called the “Peter Principle”, people tend to rise to the level of their incompetence. UK doesn’t need to take the chance, they need to hire someone with successful head coaching experience.”

Brenda writes:

I always enjoy your sports columns because I feel like you “tell it like it is.” “I have a comment about a section in today’s column about the loss to Florida, specifically the part about heads rolling - the coach or AD. I will preface my comments by saying that I’m not a huge fan of Mitch Barnhart, even though many people have said he’s a wonderful, Christian person. It seems he takes the easy way out when selecting coaches for the athletic teams. Yes, I realize that John Calipari is great, but after the Billy Gillispie debacle, the basketball program could only improve.

“I think he should hold some responsibility for the failure of the sports programs as well as the successes. as i understand what I’ve read about his contract, he is rewarded when the teams do well -- bowl bids and wins, and basketball tournament advancement. Maybe his contract should also include a clause that indicates a penalty for losses, lack of effort, etc. anyway, that’s my soap box.

“Just so you know, i am a graduate of UK and have been a fan for many years. even though football has not been great, my wish has been and is for the program to be competitive - but that isn’t happening. thanks for listening.”

K.A. writes:

“Enjoyed reading your article. As I watched the game yesterday, I felt like Kentucky has regressed from a strength and conditioning perspective. While it was a very hot day, Kentucky appeared fatigued and cramping up much more than UF on game day. Perhaps Kentucky does not yet have the depth to compete with other college football programs, but after watching the second half of last week’s game and this game more closely, I think the Kentucky football team is not properly conditioned to compete with these other programs.”

Larry writes:

“John, I enjoyed your article on the backward slide of Kentucky. Stoops has gotten great recruits,

“Better than I can ever remember. The poor guy can not coach them up. If anything, they also slide backwards as individuals. Some guys are just meant to be assistant coaches. Stoops is one of them. He should be a head recruiter for a major program, get them in school, let someone else coach em up. Maybe Kentucky should go out and get Art Briles. He is begging for work, and no body wants to hire him. Kentucky behind the scenes needs to start looking for a head coach right now.”

John writes:

“Thanks for the column on hype. The depth chart explanation helps a little bit. Instead of getting its lap dog, the H/L to print all of the PR BS about not only the recruited players but about the recruited coaching staff, how about building a program on that fact that we’re under-dogs and that we have to prove ourselves? Motivation? Tell them that the players are going to have a chance to play and the coaches are going to have a chance to coach and, if they don’t succeed just a little bit, it may never happen again.”

Sam writes:

“Did you see the Boston College score over UMass, the team that Florida barely beat two weeks ago . The QB Patrick Towles , that was shown the door at UK, seemed to play pretty well. Considering he graduated in 4 years and is in graduate school at BC and just happens to have over 5 thousand combined yards at UK would make him a student athlete that I would want to keep around. The quality of the recruits has nothing to do with the failure to drop back the safeties back with seconds left the the first half against So Miss . I think that is a coaching error!”

Mike writes:

“That (overrated recruits) is one possibility, and probably part of the problem, but maybe the coaches are not able to develop the players, or maybe they do not have the ability to come up with a good game plan, and /or execute the plan. It is much more on the coaches to develop a 4 star tackle than a 4 star small forward. Anyway whatever it is on the coaches.”

Mark Stoops game-by-game at Kentucky

Date

Opponent

UK

Opp

Res

Rec

SEC

8/31/13

vsWestern KY (nashville)

26

35

L

0-1

9/7/13

Miami (O)

41

7

W

1-1

9/14/13

Louisville

13

27

L

1-2

9/28/13

Florida

7

24

L

1-3

0-1

10/5/13

@South Carolina

28

35

L

1-4

0-2

10/12/13

Alabama

7

48

L

1-5

0-3

10/24/13

@Mississippi St

22

28

L

1-6

0-4

11/2/13

Alabama State

48

14

W

2-6

11/9/13

Missouri

17

48

L

2-7

0-5

11/16/13

@Vanderbilt

6

22

L

2-8

0-6

11/23/13

@Georgia

17

59

L

2-9

0-7

11/30/13

Tennessee

14

27

L

2-10

0-8

Date

Opponent

UK

Opp

Res

Rec

SEC

8/30/14

UT-Martin

59

14

W

1-0

9/6/14

Ohio

20

3

W

2-0

9/13/14

@Florida

30

36

L*

2-1

0-1

9/27/14

Vanderbilt

17

7

W

3-1

1-1

10/4/14

South Carolina

45

38

W

4-1

2-1

10/11/14

UL-Monroe

48

14

W

5-1

10/18/14

@LSU

3

41

L

5-2

2-2

10/25/14

Mississippi St

31

45

L

5-3

2-3

11/1/14

@Missouri

10

20

L

5-4

2-4

11/8/14

Georgia

31

63

L

5-5

2-5

11/15/14

@Tennessee

16

50

L

5-6

2-6

11/29/14

@Louisville

40

44

L

5-7

Date

Opponent

UK

Opp

Res

Rec

SEC

9/5/15

La-Lafayette

40

33

W

1-0

9/12/15

@South Carolina

26

22

W

2-0

1-0

9/19/15

Florida

9

14

L

2-1

1-1

9/26/15

Missouri

21

13

W

3-1

2-1

10/3/15

Eastern Kentucky

34

27

W*

4-1

10/15/15

Auburn

27

30

L

4-2

2-2

10/24/15

@Mississippi St

16

42

L

4-3

2-3

10/31/15

Tennessee

21

52

L

4-4

2-4

11/7/15

@Georgia

3

27

L

4-5

2-5

11/14/15

@Vanderbilt

17

21

L

4-6

2-6

11/21/15

Charlotte

58

10

W

5-6

11/28/15

Louisville

24

38

L

5-7

Date

Opponent

UK

Opp

Res

Rec

SEC

9/3/16

Southern Miss

35

44

L

0-1

9/10/16

@Florida

7

45

L

0-2

0-1

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