football Edit

Eliot returning as defensive coordinator

Cats Illustrated has learned from program sources that D.J. Eliot will return as Kentucky's defensive coordinator next season.

Eliot will still be the only defensive coordinator under Mark Stoops at UK.
Eliot will still be the only defensive coordinator under Mark Stoops at UK.

Shannon Dawson is out as offensive coordinator but D.J. Eliot will remain on board as Kentucky's defensive coordinator.

Kentucky's defense was statistically towards the bottom of the SEC standings this year, but the numbers don't tell the whole story.

It's a defense that replaced Bud Dupree and Za'Darius Smith, who went on to the NFL, and a unit that struggled to find players capable of getting pressure on quarterbacks. But it's also a defense that overachieved for much of the season even with a secondary that sometimes had four freshmen on the field in the secondary.

Kentucky's opponents averaged 27.4 points per game in 2015, which was down from 31.3 the previous year. The Cats' defense intercepted 11 passes.

Eliot's unit started the season strong in SEC play with three straight solid outings against South Carolina, Florida and Missouri. The offenses of the SEC East proved not to be good, on the whole, but considering the circumstances most around the program did not believe the defense was as much a problem as the offense. The top-down overhaul on the offensive side and the continuity that comes with Eliot's return will reflect that.