Coach Brooks is the Moses of our modern football program. He gathered our strength while we were weak and then led us away from the slavery of perpetual losing seasons. We led us through the wilderness of this season and somehow still got us to a bowl game. But will he lead us to the Promised Land of being mid-table in the SEC East and 9 win seasons? Let’s speculate. (In FakeGimelish, speculate is a fancy term for bullshitting.)
By all rights, Brooks deserves to stay as long as he wants. He and his staff have developed the foundation for a good football team, which can be built into a great team. He has shepherded his flock before the 2005-06 breakout year, and continues to protect the team.
Instead of leaving last year, after Joker was announced the heir apparent, Brooks stuck around through this year. Coach Brooks ended up protecting Joker from the problems and criticism of the year. Joker starting his first year as head coach 6-6 could have been taken as a bad omen by the sparce but often vocal naysaying ninnies that populate Commonwealth.
(By the way, does anybody sit in a section of Commonwealth where there is not at least 2 different guys criticizing the players or coaches the whole game long? Is there a non-bitching section? Do I have to donate $1000+ to the K-Fund to get in that section?)
If Brooks wants to stay for next year, I would be perfectly happy with him as our head coach. But hypothetically speaking, wouldn’t Brooks announcing his retirement effective after the BailoutZone Bowl be optimal for the team?
Immediately there would be benefits. After some lackluster efforts against Vandy and Tennessee, the players will most definitely be fired up to send Coach Brooks off with a final victory. If Coach were to announce his retirement next week, there is time for 3 weeks of solid, emotional, and hopefully very focused practice. 3 bowl wins in 3 years would be a proper end to Brooks’ tenure.
Next season, with our incoming QB recruits, our offense should be returning to form. It won’t be unstoppable, but it should be reasonable and semi-threatening. Our defense might be somewhat worse given the possible NFL defections by the junior-eligible, but it definitely won’t be the “Black Flag” outfit that couldn’t stop anyone. With some improvement on special teams, we should be good enough to plow a 7 or 8-win season, which is a great start for the Joker Phillips era.
Joker becomes Joshua to Brooks’ Moses, so to speak.
On the other hand, would one more year of Brooks be bad? By most accounts, Joker makes all the offensive playcalls, with Brooks occasionally chiming in. Joker has never indicated that he’s being held back or unjustly shelved. While the players’ performance (especially on defense) seemed lackluster at the end of the season, there was no indication that they were quitting on Coach Brooks. There seems to be no real “downside” to having Coach Brooks around for another year.
In no way I’m suggesting that Brooks should resign. Look, I even bolded that last statement to ensure that you understand it. But I do wonder when he is going to call it a career. Kentucky is several years’ worth of hard work and great recruiting away from being a true SEC-calibre football power, and we know that Brooks won’t make it all the way.
How much closer to the Promised Land will he bring us? Speculate below.