With the news that Steve Brown has dodged the first round of staff cuts for the football cats this offseason came a bit of frustration with a portion of the fan base. However the defense will not be without any extra help, as Joker looks to create co-defensive coordinator positions to head up that side of the ball. At first glance, that may not seem like the greatest move you’ve ever heard of, but I would argue that it’s actually pretty Football Savvy from a couple of angles.
-It pleases the fans. First and foremost – I don’t think that Joker makes too many coaching decisions (either on the field or off,) purely based on pressure from the fan base. But it would be remiss to think that the fans perception didn’t play a part. And when the fans saw a defense that was giving up TD after TD, it wasn’t a mirage. By attempting to fix his teams defensive issues, Joker has pleased the vocal fanbase but also manage to please an even bigger part of the program.
-That is, pleasing the recruits. It’s no secret that Joker is pulling in a pretty legit recruiting class this year. While his potential as a Head Coach on the field may not have been reached, Phillips is a pretty great recruiter. Unlike Papa Brooks (who recruited in his own style,) Phillips seems to be able to connect with high schoolers, and as a result he has one of the best Kentucky classes in recent history lined up to enroll this year. However, as much as we like to imagine that players come to schools because of their tradition, it’s rarely true anymore. Players choose schools because of their relationships with the coaches. Flat out firing Steve Brown may have had more negative effects on signing day than Joker was willing to accept, and good on him for making that realization.
-Co-defensive coordinators are really not that uncommon, and can be fairly successful. Ohio State, Kansas, Minnesotta, Mississippi State, Arizona, Cincinatti, even Notre Dame have all had co-defensive coordinators in recent years. While they have had mixed results (*cough* Notre Dame *cough*) one team that seemed to manage fine was the 2006 Florida Gators, who won the national title with two guys coordinating their defense. One of which is now coaching down the road at Louisville, the other that is now the Ravens DC. So in other words, expect Steve Brown to be the head coach at Louisville in about 5 years.
All in all, a pretty good move and a good start to the off-season for Joker. Now comes the important part – making the hire.
Go Bill Cowherd.