Today is a historical day for fans of the Kentucky Wildcats football program as it is being confirmed as the new head coach of the Wildcats. Critics said that a homerun hire would be impossible at Kentucky, but hats off to UK AD Mitch Barnhart for making it happen. As bloggers, we had been critical of what seemed to be foot dragging by Barnhart and we would like to officially apologize for our criticism and congratulate him for making this happen.
So who is Mark Stoops? Well the Stoops name is about as prominent as you can get in college football, but this will be the first head coaching job for Mark Stoops. So with that in mind, let’s meet the new coach of the Kentucky Wildcats. The following information has been taken from the FSU Media guide:
• Mark Stoops is in his 23rd season of coaching and his third year as Florida State’s defensive coordinator and secondary coach. Hired by Jimbo Fisher in January of 2010 to replace the venerable Mickey Andrews, Stoops came to FSU from Arizona, where he spent six seasons serving the Wildcats in the same capacity under his brother head coach Mike Stoops. He is also the brother of Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops.
• Stoops transformed Florida State’s defense into one of the nation’s best in 2011. FSU allowed its opponents to run for an average of just 2.35 yards per carry, which led the nation. The Seminoles ranked fourth nationally in total defense (275.0), second in rushing defense (82.69), fourth in scoring defense (15.1), eighth in tackles for loss (8.62) and tied for eighth in sacks (3.08 per game). His secondary ranked 20th in pass defense and 25th in pass efficiency defense. The Seminoles led the ACC in eight different defensive categories. Linebacker Nigel Bradham capped off his career leading the Seminoles in tackles for the third straight year – becoming the first Seminole since Marvin Jones to accomplish that feat. He ochestrated a defense that featured one of the deepest defensive line rotations highlighted by defensive ends Brandon Jenkins, Bjoern Werner and Cornellius Carradine who combined for 20.5 sacks, 31 tackles for loss, 14 quarterback hurries and nine pass breakups. The middle of the line featured stout tackles Everett Dawkins, Anthony McCloud and Freshman All-American Timmy Jernigan who combined for 14 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks and a remarkable 80 tackles. With nine starters returning in 2012, the Seminole defense again figures to be among the nation’s best.
• Stoops is credited with overhauling the Seminoles’ defense in his first season as Florida State’s defensive coordinator in 2010. The `Noles yielded 19.6 points per game which was third best in the ACC and 20th in the nation. The Seminoles ranked 42nd nationally in total defense after ranking 108th in 2009 and ranked sixth in the ACC in 2010 after ranking last in the league in total defense in 2009. Florida State improved its overall defense by more than 80 total yards per game, mainly by limiting opponents to 75 less rushing yards per game. The Seminoles ranked third in the nation in quarterback sacks and 21st in tackles for loss led by second team All-American Brandon Jenkins who finished with 13.5 sacks (third-most in the ACC and sixth nationally) and 21.5 tackles for loss. FSU tied with Boise State for the national lead with 48 total sacks. In the secondary, he coached Xavier Rhodes to ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year honors and National Defensive Freshman of the Year honors.