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Titles aside, Minter will head UK defense

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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Minter.jpegRick Minter and Steve Brown will share the title as co-defensive coordinators, but there will be no joint hold in power of the Kentucky football defense.

Titles aside, Minter is in charge of the defensive unit.

In a news conference to introduce his newest assistant coach hires, Minter as co-defensive coordinator and Steve Pardue as running backs coach, head coach Joker Phillips said Minter will be the highest ranking coach on the defense and in charge of calling the plays.

Phillips decided to place Minter atop the coaching hierarchy after visiting with Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, who has co-coordinators on his staff.

"With co-coordinators, someone has to be in charge," Phillips said. "You can't have two guys calling it, similar to myself and the situation we had here (last year) with (myself as) head coach of the offense and (Randy Sanders as) offensive coordinator. Somebody had to be in charge of it, and Coach Minter will be in charge of the defense in calling it and making sure that our daily organization is organized."

That move would lead one to believe that Brown could be on the move after the shakeup, but Phillips said that isn't the case.

"We expect Coach Brown to be back," Phillips said. "Co-coordinators has been done many times."

Brown had served as the lone defensive coordinator since 2007 and has been on the UK staff since 2003 as the defensive backs coach. With Minter's addition and the departure of secondary coach Chris Thurmond, Brown will assume full responsibility of the defensive backs once again.

Meanwhile, Minter joins the Kentucky staff after a longtime coaching gig at Cincinnati, where he raised a dormant program from the ashes and took the team to its first bowl game in 47 years. Minter had stops in South Carolina, Notre Dame and Marshall as a defensive coordinator after Cincinnati, and his latest job was at Indiana State as a linebackers coach.

After a long and decorated coaching career, Minter said he isn't getting caught up in the title of co-defensive coordinator.

"Titles don't mean anything to me," Minter said. "When Joker talked to me about coming over and joining, I was ecstatic and happy. Titles, even when we talked finances, seriously, I said I don't care. I'm beyond all that. I just want to work. I want to work for somebody who matters in my life. I want to work for a good guy."

Minter doesn't foresee a power struggle with Brown for the defensive duties and said he's inheriting UK and Brown's playbook. The newly hired coach called Brown a classy and highly intellectual guy.

"I can work and will work alongside Steve Brown," Minter said. "I'm the designated in charge. Steve has already shown me great respect and that will be reciprocated because I think he brings great value to us. He's a great role model for our kids. He's a former player that understands the game. I think he's a good teach on the backend. I look forward to working alongside him."

Phillips, who worked under Minter at UC from 1997-98, cited three reasons for his decision to hire Minter: his ability to recruit, his facility to teach and his desire to be at Kentucky. Minter is expected to make a significant impact on the recruiting trail in Northern Kentucky and Ohio, a hotbed for high-school talent.

"For us to continue the growth of this program, we have to be a tougher and more disciplined football team and program," Phillips said. "Coach Minter brings that to us and that is what we expect to have not just on defense but throughout our program."

Minter, a straight-to-the-point, no-nonsense coach who loves the war-room aspect and camaraderie of the game, sounded grateful to return to a BCS conference school.

"Everybody's careers go high and low, ebbs and flows, if you will," Minter said. "One day you are drinking wine, the next day you are back to stomping grapes."

Minter was also appreciative of the opportunity a former understudy of his gave him.

"Of all the guys that I have had come through my hallway, I really respect Joker because he and I maintained a very positive friendship, relationship being a mentor at times, asking and answering questions, and also being a really good friend," Minter said. "He has now walked a mile in my shoes and vice versa."

With the addition of Minter, there is some belief that UK could switch from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4 base, which has recently become a Minter signature. Minter said it's a possibility for the future, but he doesn't anticipate changing defenses right now, especially with a bowl game on the horizon.

"We're going to run the Wildcat defense here," Minter said. "Philosophically, I came up under a four-down system. In the last three or four years, I have really branched off, matching the finesse and flexibility of today's offenses because I think you have to be a little bit more diverse. I don't think you can always get locked in with four guys with their hand on the ground.

"But you have to also be smart enough as a coach to do what your players can do. We don't ever want to go down saying, 'If only, if only.' We're going to live with what we got, and right now we've got four-down players. ... We don't want to force a square peg in a round hole."

For now, Minter is busy enough trying to adapt to UK's previously installed defense and learn the players' names. Whatever defense Kentucky goes with down the road and regardless of who is calling the plays, the bottom-line goal, Minter said, has to be geared towards improvement.

"We'll never probably win the league until we get better on defense," Minter said.

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2 Comments

I liked Coach Brown a lot and hope the two work well together. Best of luck!

only the two work out together will make the team better.

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  • Kevin Mark: only the two work out together will make the team better. read more
  • Cat Scratches Fan: I liked Coach Brown a lot and hope the two work well together. Best of luck! read more