Kentucky Wildcats Football: Up-And-Coming Candidates

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Nov 3, 2012; Lexington , KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats head coach Joker Phillips walks off the field after the game against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Commonwealth Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-US PRESSWIRE

Yesterday we saw James take a look at some of the more over-the-top coaching rumors that have swirled through the Commonwealth. The rumor mill is abuzz that Mitch Barnhart hopes to make a home-run hire this time around and has targeted some coaches that would turn heads. It remains to be seen if he can really pull it off. It’s going to be tough to lure any coach who already has a good job to Lexington, so today we will look at some possible coaching candidates from outside the BCS conferences.

Sonny Dykes (Louisiana Tech)

Dykes is one of the most popular names when bringing up the Kentucky job. He coached at UK during the Mumme era and has held on to his Air-Raid roots. He actually followed Mike Leach to Texas Tech and did a stint in Arizona. Kentucky fans would enjoy his pass-happy ways for a while, though such an offense is unlikely to garner consistent success in the SEC. Dykes is considered a great recruiter and one of the top up and coming coaches. After a 5-7 in his first season, Dykes led the Bulldogs to a WAC title in 2011 and has them ranked in 2012.

Willie Taggart (Western Kentucky)

UK fans should be well acquainted with Taggart after his Hilltoppers upset the Cats in Lexington this year. Taggart has done a great job with WKU’s transition to FBS status as his teams have recorded more wins each season. Taggart is a nice fit because he is an energetic spokesman for his program and a good recruiter with ties to Florida. It’s hard to see him at UK because WKU is his alma mater and he upset some with his “Red is the new blue” comments after the upset win.

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