Through seven games, Kentucky has made legitimate strides under first-year offensive coordinator Liam Coen. The 35-year-old assistant came to Lexington from the Los Angeles Rams and brought a modern playbook with him.
The numbers still aren’t great (Kentucky is No. 66 nationally in scoring offense and No. 45 nationally in yards per play) but it’s clear that the passing game has taken a jump while the ground attack has remained efficient.
Chris Rodriguez Jr. leads the SEC in rushing yards (775) on a 54.33 percent rushing success rate. Will Levis is on pace to become the first quarterback to throw for 20-plus touchdowns since 2010 and Wan’Dale Robinson is well on his way to first-team All-SEC honors.
Meanwhile, the play of the offensive line has remained at a high level and it seems like a matter of time before everything starts clicking. That could happen after the bye week when Kentucky faces four defenses ranked 90th or worse in yards per play allowed.
After scoring two touchdowns against Georgia, some national buzz is starting to build around Coen. SEC Network’s Peter Burns believes Coen is a top-five coordinator in the conference. Burns released his top coordinators on SEC This Morning and Coen made the cut.
“He’s at least added a little bit of an element of surprise,” said Burns. “I thought one of the best drives all season long was the touchdown early against Georgia in that game because it used a whole bunch of tricks. It put Wan’Dale Robinson in some motion. I love what he’s doing.
Through 28 quarters of football, it seems like Mark Stoops made the right hire at offensive coordinator. Kentucky has found a quarterback in Penn State transfer Will Levis and has allowed Nebraska transfer Wan’Dale Robinson to turn into a household name this season.
Put it together in the last month of the season and Kentucky could truly have something in Liam Coen.