Bright and early on Friday morning it looks like Kentucky might be back on the search for another Offensive Coordinator. After having Liam Coen in two of the last three seasons, he is departing once again.
After a very successful season in 2021 where he helped lead this offense to a 10-3 record behind a hand-picked Will Levis and a Wan’Dale Robinson addition, he was out the following spring and headed back to the big league. After a season spent with the Los Angeles Rams, he was back in Lexington at his landing ground of once-found success.
This past season, the offense was more disappointing than exciting I think most would say. A 7-6 record with another transfer quarterback led for fans ready for some type of offseason change. With high expectations coming in, it’s mutually agreed that this season was a disappointment to what it was projected to be. Was it the quarterback that was at fault? Was he not as good as we thought he would be? Was it Coen’s play calling? Or what if the rumors that suggested that Mark Stoops wasn’t allowing Liam Coen to have full control of his side of the ball which led to some game time frustrations was the case? I think all were valid, but neither weighing more than the other.
It will all fully come out at some point, but here’s the thing. This upcoming season all of that was addressed to be changed in his favor. Devin Leary is out, he got his hand-picked quarterback from Georgia (Vandagriff), and Mark Stoops said in a one-on-one interview that he understood that it could have been an issue at some points last season and that it would not be the case this year. All boxes checked allowing Liam Coen to do things his way once again. Well, it doesn’t look like that was enough to get him to stay. He’s out once again.
After an offseason full of openings tied to Liam, like a very high volume, it looks like the NFL wins out and brings back in their young Offensive Coordinator. News broke Friday morning that Liam was headed to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network reported that the Bucs’ organization were working to finalize his deal to move onto their staff.
With a huge incoming transfer portal class and an on-paper promising quarterback to lead the way, Kentucky will have a great setup for another guy to step in. But the question is, who will that be? Surely Mark Stoops is calling people this very moment but the stressful part of this is that Kentucky will go into its fifth straight season with a new face calling the offense. The inconsistency for the system, the players having to relearn a new style, and overall just getting accustomed to Kentucky Football can cause hangover changes that aren’t beneficial for the fans who sit here and root this team on. I understand Liam wanting to advance his career, but it was reported that when he returned this time that Stoops had asked him to give him more than one year this round before he exited again. The sole reason because of the change-up on the offensive side of things. It causes problems to keep flipping OC’s like I mentioned above. It was reported that he agreed to honor that. Well, he didn’t. He’s out again and leaves Kentucky in the dust.
Let me be clear, I think a lot of Liam. He was one of the most respectful coaches I’ve gotten to interview and he always wore his emotion on his sleeve following the wins and losses. I think a lot of him and expect him to have a great overall career, but using Kentucky as a landing ground to save you between NFL job opportunities is what gets under my skin because it feels selfish and hurts this program entirely. Mark Stoops needs some consistency in his staff to give this program the best chance to reach its peak and I think in this new age of College Football that’s becoming more and more of a pipe dream to ask for.
I understand the move by Coen, I just am not happy about it and I think many fans feel the same way.