New Kentucky defensive backs coach Steve Clinkscale hopes to mold the team’s secondary into a unit that is prepared to handle the rigors and physicality of SEC play.
In an introductory press conference on Thursday, Clinkscale spoke about his defensive philosophies and told reporters that he will bring energy and violence to the Kentucky pass defense.
Clinkscale: "I like to have enthusiasm out there. You can't play defense without emotion. … I want them to be violent and physical."
— Ben Roberts (@NextCats) March 3, 2016
Clinkscale was hired on Tuesday and received glowing praise from UK head coach Mark Stoops. On Thursday, Stoops revealed that he hadn’t met Clinkscale before the hiring process, but chose the former Cincinnati defensive backs coach over many candidates with “great interest,” including some coaches with NFL experience.
While Stoops said he chose to hire Clinkscale after the secondary coach came highly-recommended from coaches like new Kentucky assistant Eddie Gran, Clinkscale he was interested in working with a “like-minded” coach like Stoops.
Clinkscale will take over a secondary he’s already familiar with, as he told reporters that he recruited “all but three or four” of the players in the UK defensive backfield while he was at Cincinnati. The Wildcats will lose A.J. Stamps, who finished with 67 tackles and eight pass break-ups as a senior, but return Chris Westry who climbed to the top spot on the depth chart as a freshman and started all 12 games.
The Kentucky defense finished fifth in the SEC in pass defense in 2015, allowing 198.1 passing yards per game. Derrick Ansley coached the UK defensive backs for three seasons before accepting the same job at Alabama in February.