Mark Stoops Discusses How He And Will Levis Found Out About Liam Coen Leaving For Rams

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The offseason around the Kentucky football complex has been a tad hectic over the last few weeks, with Mark Stoops looking for a new offensive coordinator and offensive line coach. Stoops knew that his former OC Liam Coen might return to the Los Angeles Rams, so he tried to prepare as much as possible.

Throughout the process, Mark Stoops frequently sought the opinion of starting QB Will Levis, as he discussed on Tuesday. The decision was always up to Stoops, so the fact that he wanted Levis to be involved shows how much respect Stoops has for his quarterback. After the Super Bowl ended, Stoops kept Levis informed of what was happening regarding Coen. The funny part about this whole situation is how both Stoops and Levis found out that Coen decided to leave.

“It was hard, it definitely was. I guess I can tell the story of how it went. Will and I were in the weight room. I certainly wasn’t working out, but we’re in the weight room and I am just walking through, talking to guys and just checking things out. Will approached me and asked, ‘What’s going on (about Coen)?’ And I said, ‘Will, the guy is unbelievably loyal to us, he’s turned down NFL opportunities, turned down college opportunities and didn’t blink an eye. These are tough decisions, but he showed extreme loyalty because of the situation and he knew a year ago when he told me he needed two years minimum.’

“But I was talking to Will, literally talking to Will and I said, ‘He’s shown extreme loyalty here, but we do have to worry about LA.’ …This was Tuesday morning and I am talking to Will and saying, ‘We just have to ride out LA. Surely (Rams head coach Sean McVay) is spent and it’s been a long season. I don’t know what they’re gonna do.’ As we were talking — I am not shittin’ ya — (Coen) calls me and I showed Will and he just said, ‘You gotta be kidding me.'”

As you probably guessed, Coen was calling to tell Stoops he’d taken the job in LA. Apparently, Coen had found out around midnight the night before that the Rams were interested in him, but he wasn’t sure at the time whether it was a done deal or not. It turns out, it was.

Stoops is disappointed, of course. He knows that Coen is a great offensive coordinator. But Stoops also says he understands.

“I am really happy for him and the way things worked out. Things work out for a reason. We’ll be fine, no matter what. It’s the culture. It’s the organization. There’s a lot of things.”

Stoops also said that he will continue to run the same type of system he had under Coen, which is why he went out and hired Rich Scangarello from the San Francisco 49ers. With so much leadership and talent returning this season, including Levis and Chris Rodriguez, Stoops felt it was the best move to make.

Now with spring practice just over a week away, the new coaches have enough time to get acquainted with the players and get to work.

The Wildcats will hold their Spring Game on April 9th.

Written by Trey Wallace

Wallace started covering the SEC in 2012, as the conference landscape was beginning to change. Prior to his time in Knoxville, Wallace worked in Nashville for The Read Optional, where he first produced content that garnered national attention. His passion for sports is evident in his work and has led him to break some of college football’s biggest stories. His social media reach and natural podcast proficiency continue to make Wallace one of SEC’s most trusted sources.

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