Brad White Showing Why He Was Worth Keeping

After the final seconds ticked off the clock in coach Mark Stoops' first shutout of his head coaching career, he seemed to be very pleased with his defense's performance. Also smiling after the game was Kentucky's defensive coordinator, Brad White. Since his arrival at Kentucky as outside linebackers coach in 2018, the 40 year old former Wake Forest linebacker has helped build his reputation as a great defensive mind and an excellent position coach. White is a huge asset for Coach Mark Stoops and his coaching star is on the rise. 


When he arrived at Kentucky, White’s position group was blessed with a generational talent in Josh Allen. However, White maximized Allen's talents by utilizing the six years of NFL experience that he brought to Lexington, having worked for the Indianapolis Colts from 2012-2017. The 2018 Kentucky defense was one of the best defenses in college football that year, allowing only approximately 17 points a game in 13 contests. Josh Allen went on to win multiple postseason awards, including National Defensive Player of the Year. He was drafted in the 1st round of the NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars. 


In 2019, Coach White replaced departing defensive coordinator Matt House, who left for a role with the Kansas City Chiefs. White's defenses perform well, ranking as high as 14th nationally in his first year. Per UK Athletics, "In 2021, UK’s defense held opposing offenses to 21.7 points and 340.1 yards per game. UK ranked third in the FBS in fourth down defense (27.8%), 20th in run defense (121.5) and 26th in total defense (340.1). The Cats were fourth in the SEC in total defense and scoring defense. They also led the SEC in interception return yards average at 20.9 per INT". The Wildcats defense currently ranks 13th nationally and 5th in the SEC. The reason that the Wildcats defense continues to be towards the top of the SEC in total defense largely due to Coach White and his ability to identify talent, as well as maximizing the potential of his players. A perfect example of that is Jamar "Boogie" Watson. Watson was a mid-level three star prospect when he signed with Kentucky. By the time he left Kentucky, he was an All-SEC selection.  


This season, White’s defensive unit has allowed only 29 points in three games, which is 9.7 points per game allowed. The defense is only one of two teams in all the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) to not allow a passing touchdown. His scheme against Florida kept supposed phenom quarterback Anthony Richardson in check, holding him to four rushing yards, while forcing two interceptions.  


White continues to impress those who work around him, with offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello saying that he “loves his defense” and explained that it resembles an NFL style defense. This praise coming from a former NFL coach shows that Brad White is a valuable commodity. That praise, coupled with the multiple defensive players that have been drafted such as Kelvin Joseph, Josh Paschal and Jamin Davis goes to show that Kentucky was lucky to keep him after last season. When LSU head coach Brian Kelly was assembling his staff, he took aim at Coach White. However, White chose to stay at Kentucky thanks to his relationship with Coach Stoops, the players and the fans.  


With the veterans like J.J. Weaver, Deandre Square and Jacquez Jones on this team, coupled with several talented freshmen like Alex Afari, Deone Walker and Keaton Wade, Coach White might have the best assembly of talent since 2018. Improvements in play from Carrington Valentine and Justin Rogers have also been notable. The sky is the limit for the 2022 edition of the Kentucky Wildcats football team. They have started the season with three straight wins, have a favorable road schedule and should be able to control their fate in the SEC East. Things appear to be lining up for a potentially historic season. A large part of that potential is because of Brad White. 

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