State of the Bearcats Football Program Part 1

Brian Kelly gets ready to enter his third season at the helm of the Bearcats football program coming off two history making seasons. Bearcat Insider takes a look at the state of the Bearcats football program.

Rumors, whispers and more rumors have surrounded Brian Kelly since he finished his first season at the helm of the University of Cincinnati football program.

As one of the top head coaches in college football, Kelly has seen his name mentioned with every so called "Big Time" program that has fired its head coach the past two off seasons. But Kelly is still in the Red & Black having signed a new contract many expect will keep him here for several more seasons.

But while Kelly will continue to see his name placed next to job openings don't expect him to make any excuses when his name is mentioned as a candidate for other college football jobs.

In fact, Kelly expects his name to be a hot topic as he continues to take the Bearcats football program to a level never seen before. And the reason is a simple one, winning…

Colleges across the country want winning football programs and have shown their willingness to pay out huge amounts of money to hire a coach they fell can deliver.

But with Kelly's future looking solid in Cincinnati what is the overall state of the Bearcats football program?

Head Coach: There is no mistaking why Brian Kelly is considered one of the top head football coaches in the country. His teams produce on and off the field with players finding their way onto NFL rosters.

Since Kelly took over at Cincinnati he's taken one of the oldest football programs in the country and reached new heights. He's got an understanding of how to get his players to reach another level on the field and do it when it matters most.

He also knows how to energize a fan base to believe the Bearcats are a program that will continue to rise and be among the top in the country. This has not happened with smoke and mirrors. Good old fashion hard work has placed Kelly and his staff in this position.

The Big East and the national media has taken notice and the 2009 season should be another one that places Kelly at the top of the college food chain.

Assistant Coaches: Brian Kelly has a staff of coaches around him that understand what is required of them on a daily basis. Each has his strength and has shown loyalty to Kelly over the years they've worked for him. Don't look for many changes in the staff in the coming years as many seem to be extremely happy working for a coach they know has always placed them in a position to win and win big.

But while Kelly runs a tight ship he's also show the ability to let his coaches do their job and each has delivered.

When Kelly was hired at Cincinnati one of his first moves was to hire a local high school coach in Kerry Coombs. Many felt at the time it was a smart move to have someone from the area on the staff but Coombs has proven to be an even bigger hire as he continues to do a great job recruiting in Cincinnati and the areas he's assigned.

But Kelly has other coaches who are also at the top of their game.

Future Head Coach: Bearcat Insider feels Mike Elston is a head coach in waiting. Elston knows the game and is great in time management and organization. Having coached special teams, tight ends and now the defensive line as well as being recruiting coordinator until this spring has Elston on the right tract to take the next steps to be a head coach.

Staff MVP: While his work is behind the scenes the work of strength and conditioning coach Paul Longo has been a key to Kelly's success the past two seasons. Players are in the best shape seen and injuries have been very low during the past two years.

Brian Kelly trust Longo with his players and also trust him in looking at the players the staff is recruiting. Make no mistake when Paul Longo has a chance to connect with a prospect the staff is recruiting he can sell them on what he'll do with them.

Under Appreciated: Jeff Quinn has been with Brian Kelly a long time and while the offensive is a major part of Brian Kelly being successful it's Jeff Quinn whose been there with him making things work.

Biggest? On Staff: That would be new tight end coach Lorenzo Guess. The former Michigan State two-sport letter winner is no stranger to Cincinnati as he served as a grad assistant under Mark Dantonio. Now after working at Alcorn State and South Florida, Guess looks ready to take his career to another level and being on Kelly's staff could provide him with his chance to have a long career.

Behind The Scenes: Brian Kelly much like Mark Dantonio learned the value of John Widecan. The longtime Bearcat has shown he's one of the top in his field taking care of the day-to-day operations of the team.

So what is the state of the Bearcats football program from the coaches and administration? Great! The University of Cincinnati football program is in great hands with Kelly knowing how to take the team and program to even another level. Fans should hold on and enjoy the ride.

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