Brooks has 'total confidence' in Hudson

November 02, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

LEXINGTON - While admitting he's disappointed with Kentucky's lack of offensive consistency and production, coach Rich Brooks also strongly noted that offensive coordinator Ron Hudson was not what was wrong with the offense.

"We are totally unsatisfied with our offensive production; extremely disappointed, as is everybody who follows Kentucky football," Brooks said Monday during his weekly press conference. "Having said that, I have total confidence in Ron Hudson and in what we're doing."

Many Kentucky fans feel otherwise. UK's offense is now ranked last nationally among 117 Division I-A schools with 259.3 yards per game. In the last 20 years, Kentucky averaged less than 300 yards per game only in 1994 and 1996. Those two teams averaged 13.6 and 12.6 points per game, respectively. This year the Cats are scoring 13.9 points per game thanks mainly to a 51-point outburst against Indiana.

"We are not seeing a lot of good things right now," Brooks said. "I'll be honest with you. We are not doing the things we'd like to do on offense, I mean, it doesn't take a genius to figure that out. It's been not nearly as productive (as we'd hoped) other than one game, which turned out to be an aberration. Since that game we haven't caught it as well, thrown it as well or blocked it as well."


However, Brooks said he expects his entire coaching staff, including Hudson, the former offensive coordinator at Kansas State, to return next year when asked if he faced any tough decisions with his assistants before next year.

"I don't think there are any tough decisions to make on our staff," Brooks said. "I disagree with that. If you're looking at the coaches that are on this staff, the production they've had everywhere they've been has been very, very good. The quality of the coaching, although we aren't seeing the results, is not my biggest concern. My biggest concern is to continue to recruit talented, SEC-type athletes into this program.

"As far as I'm concerned, it is up to me and if it isn't then someone can replace me next year. I stand firmly, and I'm not going to say it any plainer, I stand firmly behind this coaching staff. I do believe in continuity even though some people think that right now the last-ranked offense in the nation may not be good, it will be good when given the opportunity."

Two years before dramatic improvement

Yet Brooks said while the offense should improve next year, it likely would be two years before dramatic improvement would be seen. Considering Kentucky is 1-7 going into Saturday's game with No. 8 Georgia, that seems not to bode well for next season.

"Situations, talent and coaching predicate results," Brooks said. "Our situation (coming off probation) is not good, our talent level could be better and our coaching probably could be better. But the architect (Hudson) of what we're doing is totally qualified to do it, and when given the right set of circumstances at Kentucky, it will be productive as it was at times last year and it was in the Indiana game this year."

Brooks said he didn't create the problems Kentucky has but inherited the problems because of coaching changes and NCAA sanctions.

"I am responsible for the last-ranked offense in the nation no matter how you cut, shape it, form it and I'm not trying to side-step that, but the reasons are not because our offensive coordinator doesn't know what he is doing like a lot of people may think."

University president Lee Todd and athletics director Mitch Barnhart both indicated last week that they supported Brooks and his rebuilding effort.

"It doesn't make me feel good that they have to even be in the position to come up and say something like that," Brooks said. "I'm disappointed with where we are right now. Even with everything that's gone on, I feel we should have several more victories in the win column right now and should have last year also."

UK notes: Freshman receiver Dicky Lyons Jr. is out for the season with a broken shoulder. It won't require surgery ... Freshman running back Tony Dixon and defensive end Vincent Burns are also expected to miss a second straight game because of sprained ankles.

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