The big men lead the way, but quarterback play can change the trajectory of a program. Mark Stoops hired Liam Coen to call plays for the Kentucky offense and develop the Wildcats’ quarterbacks.
A former quarterback at UMass who led the Minutemen to the FCS National Championship Game, Coen believes a versatile competitor is best built for the position acting as the offense’s point guard.
Is the child a competitor in the first place? He just absolutely can’t stand to lose? Everyone loves to win. Everyone loves to win, but if the kid just wants to get their tail off with every hit, don’t lose, don’t give in unless it’s a smart game, then let’s throw it away. It’s more about, is this kid a competitor? Can he play hoops? Can he walk on a basketball court, be a distributor, and play plays? Is he running on the field or something he is doing and just doesn’t want to lose? “
Coen continued: “Then of course you can throw and catch. He doesn’t have to have a big arm. Accuracy is key. We can always fix the feet, so we always work on his footwork. It all starts from the ground up with the quarterback in terms of footwork, how people are capable of throwing football, and of course, his capacity. Turn right? You would like your quarterback to handle some things, maybe some audibles, things like that. In terms of – I just feel like running soccer, the more athletic you can be the better. If the quarterback can run and can play, we will absolutely include the quarterback run game. I think it is important at the university level. It makes everyone in the NFL fit into fits, as you can see on Sunday and with Lamar Jackson last night. It makes people attack, so if that’s what we’ve got and that’s the best man, we will definitely do some of those things as long as it’s in line with what Coach Stoops wants and provides for his offense.
“Ideally we would like to find someone who is a real passer first, but we can also extend plays and make some plays from the pocket.”
Before the quarterback competition between Joey Gatewood and Beau Allen begins this spring, Coen gave fans enough to split up with that statement. Yes, he will happily rely on Gatewood in QB run concepts, if he is the right person for the job. Allen’s accuracy may give him an early advantage, although Coen admittedly knows very little about both players’ strengths and weaknesses at this point.
What pieces do we have in place here? And I believe there are pieces in place. I’m not too positive about the quarterback position (which we have), ”said Coen. ‘I’ve seen a few guys. I know the sitting quarterback is more of a running quarterback and things like that. You have the Auburn transfer, quarterback Beau Allen, I have a couple of guys that I have seen play and I believe hey, it’s not about them fitting this system. It’s about me matching their skills. And I believe that for any function. “
Ultimately, Coen will adapt his attacking style to the tools he has to work with. On his first working day, it is everyone’s point of view.
“It really depends on the talent, what we have and who the man in that room turns out to be. All roads are open. ”