VAUGHT: Brooks can still coach

Rich Brooks doesn't need me to defend him. He's won two bowl games at Kentucky. He's won a combined 21 games the last three years -- and hopes to add a few more this season. But it befuddles me why some fans suddenly think he can't coach just because the Cats were embarrassed by Florida.

Yes, the Cats were awful against Florida. Yes, there was no excuse for UK to play that poorly.

Yes, Brooks has to take responsibility for his team's play.

Just don't suggest that because of one poor game that he should walk away and leave the team to Joker Phillips.

There's nothing wrong with second-guessing decisions. I've done that plenty myself. Remember last year when I wondered why he didn't redshirt Derrick Locke. Or a year earlier when I suggested that Curtis Pulley might be a better option at quarterback than Andre Woodson.

This year it's fine to wonder why Brooks won't bench Mike Hartline and start Randall Cobb at quarterback or why the defense won't blitz more.

But don't suggest he's too old to coach, has lost his passion or doesn't know how to prepare a team. That's just not fair.

He lost a playmaker when he had to dismiss Pulley before the season started -- and had no choice but to make the decision he did. He lost a strong, physical offensive lineman in Christian Johnson before the season started that he expected to have. His two best returning playmakers -- Dicky Lyons and Locke -- are out for the season with knee injuries.

Those are facts, not excuses.

Yes, I wonder about his loyalty to Tony Dixon, Lones Seiber and Hartline. But some may have questioned his loyalty to Woodson or other players in past years.

What I know is that his players are loyal to him, believe in him and wouldn't want any other coach.

What I don't understand is why some UK fans now think a coach with back-to-back bowl wins who has improved Kentucky's team speed and continues to upgrade recruiting can no longer coach.

Second-guess Brooks all you want about his play calling and decision making during a game. Speculate about his personnel choices. We do that with any coach. But don't try to tell me that this man doesn't know how to coach or has not done more than enough to prove himself a worthy coach at Kentucky.

AllWildcats Top Stories