Brown, Eliot on game-day operations

There are lots of little logistical things that a first-year head coach and his coordinators have to ponder before a game. Coach Mark Stoops touched on a few during his Southeastern Conference teleconference appearance Wednesday.

“Simple things like what are we going to do with the coin toss, who our captains are going to be and how we’re going to go about that,” Stoops said. “Just all the things with the procedure.”

Coordinators D.J. Eliot and Neal Brown have touched on them this summer and in recent interviews. I’ve tried to compile them into handy notes below:

Offense: Brown does all of his play-calling on the football field and has always done it that way.

“I like it down there,” he said. “I think you get a little better feel for when to use tempo, when to not. You’ve got a better feel for – I like seeing the quarterback when they come off. If they did something well or they did something poorly, I like to immediately talk to them and discuss it.”

In the press box serving as his eyes above will be wide receivers coach Tommy Mainord, who came with Brown from Texas Tech.

Brown’s plan is to start the game with “an open-field script and we script situations. Then we adjust accordingly.”

Defense: Unlike his offensive counterpart, Eliot doesn’t have several years of coordinator experience under his belt, but he did call defensive plays for the final two games at Florida State, including the Seminoles’ bowl victory.

“It was a great experience,” Eliot said this summer. “Surprisingly, it was calmer than I anticipated.”

But did he sleep the night before? “No, not very much,” he said with a laugh. “Nor did I sleep during the day. They were both night games.”

Eliot is a planner, a detailed planner (which includes an entire shelf in his office with more than a dozen binders filled with playbooks from past coaching stops), and that will show in the way he calls a game.

“I don’t think anything will be grab-bag,” he said. “There will be a set plan going into a game. … I’ll feel comfortable for the most part in what I’m going to call.”

Like his offensive counterpart, Eliot also plans to be on the field during games, with cornerbacks coach Derrick Ansley and two student graduate assistants as his eyes in the box.

About Jennifer Smith

Jen Smith has been a sports writer at the Herald-Leader since 2000, covering everything from high school sports to auto racing to various University of Kentucky sports. A native of Louisville and a graduate of the University of Kentucky (much to the dismay of her Louisville graduate mother and Indiana graduate father), Jen now resides in downtown Lexington with her husband and two young sons. You can follow her on Twitter @jenheraldleader or send her an email at
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