Sidelines with John Clay

Report: Kentucky defensive coordinator leaving for NFL

Mark Stoops might be losing a key member of his Kentucky football coaching staff, after all.

At his national signing day press conference on Wednesday, Stoops revealed that just that day he had received a call from an NFL coach inquiring about a member of the UK staff. “That doesn’t end,” said the UK coach about the difficulty of keeping a staff together.

Then on Friday, ESPN’s Field Yates reported that the Kansas City Chiefs are expected to hire Kentucky defensive coordinator Matt House as the team’s linebackers coach.

Kansas City head coach Andy Reid named Steve Spagnuolo as the team’s new defensive coordinator on Jan. 24, replacing the fired Bob Sutton. House was with the St. Louis Rams when Spagnuolo was head coach from 2009 through 2011.

When Spagnuolo was fired at the end of the 2011 season, House became secondary coach at the University of Pittsburgh. He later served as Pitt’s defensive coordinator. He became defensive coordinator at Florida International in 2015 before joining Stoops’ staff as inside linebackers coach in 2016. He was elevated to defensive coordinator in 2017.

Last season, Kentucky’s defense ranked sixth nationally in scoring defense, allowing just 16.8 points per game. UK was 23rd nationally in total defense, allowing 337.9 yards per game. The Cats finished 10-3 with a 27-24 win over Penn State in the Citrus Bowl.

Outside linebacker Josh Allen is expected to be among the top picks in the 2019 NFL Draft. A total of eight UK players have been invited to the NFL Combine in February. Also invited along with Allen are cornerback Derrick Baity, tight end C.J. Conrad, safety Mike Edwards, cornerback Lonnie Johnson, linebacker Jordan Jones, running back Benny Snell and safety Darius West.

A native of Harrison, Mich., House graduated from Michigan State.

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John Clay is a sports columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader. A native of Central Kentucky, he covered UK football from 1987 until being named sports columnist in 2000. He has covered 20 Final Fours and 37 consecutive Kentucky Derbys.
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