Hamdan couldn’t pass up chance to coach at Kentucky

Published 11:30 am Friday, February 16, 2024


Bush Hamdan had a choice to make after Kentucky football coach Mark Stoops made a call to Boise, Idaho, to gauge his interest in leaving his alma mater.

“(It was) probably the most difficult of my career,” he said Thursday. “You look at exactly what was done the last three or four months (at Boise State). That place will always hold a special place in my heart.”

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Hamdan also will serve as the team’s quarterbacks coach. A former collegiate quarterback, Hamdan was a three-year starter at Boise State. Under Hamdan’s guidance last season, the Broncos finished No. 6 in the country in rushing offense with an average of 214.9 yards per game and 26th in total offense with 436.1 yards per game.

Hamdan’s offensive style will largely depend on Kentucky’s personnel.

“What is week one? Week one is analyzing the roster,” he said. “We know players win games. Get a good feel of what these guys can do and put them in the best position (to be successful).”

Kentucky’s offense, Hamdan said, will feature a varied attack when it comes to tempo.

“We know there’s certain games where we have to play fast, we know there’s certain games where we have to play slower, control the clock,” he said. “But it’s a pro-style foundation. But there’s such an emphasis on creating explosive plays and we’ve got to do that with creativity, we’ve got to do that with variance in formation and personnel and that is the focus.”

He added the Wildcats will use the no-huddle attack “60 percent of the time.”

“We still have the ability to huddle, but it does not necessarily mean we just go fast all the time,” he said. “Our base is to be a no-huddle operation.”

The Kentucky offensive coordinator also believes in utilizing the quarterback in the run-option scheme. That’s good news for Kentucky signal caller and former Georgia backup Brock Vandagriff.

“I really believe that the quarterback’s got to at least get you two first downs a game with his legs and I think it can be a huge, huge advantage, especially in the college game,” he said.

When it comes to calling plays, Hamdan prefers the booth over the field.

“I really enjoy coffee, so I like being upstairs,” Hamdan said. “My whole career, I’ve been upstairs and that’s definitely the preference. I know there’s times, certainly with the quarterbacks, that they would want you down on the field and that communication. But being up top, you can see the game in a comfortable environment and that’s definitely what I prefer.”

Leaving Boise State was a tough decision, but in the end, Hamdan couldn’t resist becoming an offensive coordinator at Kentucky.

“I think for me, between Mark Stoops and Mitch Barnhart, their tenure here speaks to that commitment of Kentucky and what they’ve done here,” Hamdan said. “It’s the SEC, it’s the third time I’ve been here. I know what this conference is all about. Anybody in coaching wants to be the best and I think this conference certainly forces you to do that.

“I remember those days, being at Florida, being at Missouri, coming to Kroger Field, knowing what this place is all about. Knowing what the fan base is about. The mixture of those three things just made this a job I couldn’t pass on.”