Shannon Dawson's departure reveals a divided Kentucky locker room

12/17/2015 05:58 PM

LEXINGTON — We all expected offseason changes, but nothing this big.

Kentucky offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson announced on Monday morning he is leaving the football program.

Dawson, who only spent one season in Lexington, told Fox Sports, “Philosophically, things weren’t working out,” and that he and Mark Stoops disagreed on how they wanted to run the offense.

The departed offensive coordinator later spoke with Jen Smith of the Herald-Leader about his decision, saying he has no hard feelings about the situation:

  • “Wish I could have done a better job,” Dawson said via text message. “No hard feelings. I support Mark and will root for them to be great next year. I appreciated the opportunity.”

Current and former players, on the other hand, had mixed opinions about the move.

Former quarterback Patrick Towles, who started for three seasons at Kentucky before deciding to transfer after being benched for redshirt freshman Drew Barker at the end of 2015, used emojis to call Dawson a sacrificial lamb:

Towles later explained his hieroglyphs with a second tweet, calling Dawson one of the best offensive minds with whom he’s ever worked:

Barker also tweeted support for Dawson …

… but some of the wide receivers had a different reaction:

Whatever side of the fence you’re own, there’s no denying that Kentucky’s offense struggled under Dawson, averaging a mere 24.7 points per game in 2015 — good for 95th among all FBS teams.

But having said that, Dawson wasn’t on the field dropping open touchdown passes, tossing interceptions into triple coverage, fumbling, and blowing blocking assignments, either. It’s also hard to develop any sort of offensive identity or consistency when you lose back-to-back coordinators in two years.

KSTV discussed Dawson’s sudden departure on Thursday’s show and whether or not he was the actual problem with Kentucky’s underperforming offense:


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