VAUGHT: Roper's loss a credit to UK staff

Losing quarterback coach Kurt Roper is a blow to Rich Brooks' coaching staff at Kentucky. Not only was Roper a skilled coach, but he was a terrific recruiter that had a knack for relating well with players.

Roper also had instant credibility with quarterbacks because he coached Eli Manning at Mississippi and recruits respected that.

No one can blame Roper for leaving UK to go to Tennessee to work for offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe, who was head coach at Mississippi when Roper coached the quarterbacks there. Despite last year's struggles, Tennessee is one of the nation's top programs compared to the rebuilding program that Brooks has at Kentucky.

But losing a coach is not a bad thing. It means Brooks has coaches on his staff that other programs believe are doing a good job. That's a lot better than having a staff where assistants are not being pursued by others.

"There has been more interest from other schools, and the NFL, for members of coach Brooks' staff than any staff I have seen," said UK associate sports information director Tony Neely.

However, Neely says there has been one other aspect of Brooks' staff that has impressed him even more. "Our coaches really like coaching for coach Brooks. He's very upfront. He doesn't play games with them," Neely said. "They know what he is thinking. He lets them coach. He works with them, but he has a nice touch of not micromanaging and the coaches love that. He lets them do their jobs. They all really enjoy working for him and with him. That's why more have not left when they have had offers the past few years."


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