The University of Kentucky have six defenders at the 2019 NFL Combine, and each played under Chiefs new linebackers coach Matt House while he coached at Kentucky. Some of them worked with him when he was the linebackers coach, others while he was the defensive coordinator during the past two seasons. All of them fought their tails of and nearly made it to the SEC championship game in 2018, a marked improvement from Kentucky’s 2017 season.
For linebackers Josh Allen and Jordan Jones, House had a lot to do with why they’re both in the position they are at the 2019 NFL Combine today. Allen, who is a top prospect in the 2019 draft, attributed a large amount of his success to House’s abilities as a defensive coordinator.
“Coach House, man,” Allen recalled. “Just the play calls he had. He put me in the right spots, he called a really good game for me a lot of times. He’d call a really good couple of plays so that I could be in the situation to make a big play. And he trusted me and I trusted him — he knew I had his back.”
Jones is a player who had an opportunity to play under House as both the linebackers coach and defensive coordinator at Kentucky.
“Coach House, man,” Jones zealously explained. “He’s just a good dude. Coach House came in and was my inside linebackers coach either my sophomore or junior year. When he came in you could just tell the impact he made. Not just on me, but on the whole defense.
“He’s just a good dude, on and off the field. He has a lot of knowledge. For the Chiefs, the Chiefs they got a good dude.”
Both Jones and Allen expressed their excitement to see House return to the NFL. He got his NFL start with Steve Spagnuolo with the Rams from 2009-2011, and it seems like the goal has always been to make it back. Both players have big expectations for what House will be able to accomplish in Kansas City.
“He’ll be a phenomenal coach in the NFL,” Allen said. “And I wish him nothing but the best. As soon as I heard (about him leaving for the NFL), I wasn’t mad or sad. He was going to take the job for his family, it’s a better situation for his family, and I’m glad that he’s finally back in the NFL.”
Most Kentucky players harbor no ill-will toward House for the way things played out with his contract buyout in Kentucky. They recognize he made a decision for his family. Allen didn’t meet with the Chiefs in any formal capacity, but he did see House while he’s been here at the Combine.
“I’ve seen him here and there,” Allen said. “We chopped it up for a little bit. He’s still my coach at the end of the day and I love him.”
Jones said he had plans to meet with House while at the Combine, but he didn’t specify in what capacity. His final words on House, show exactly what he brings to the table as a coach.
“He’ll do good at linebackers coach, defensive coordinator, head coach,” Jones added. “He knows what he’s talking about and he knows how to win.”
As the Chiefs seek to change the culture on the defensive side of the ball, they’ve surrounded Spagnuolo with a staff full of winners. House will look to turn around the linebacker group for the Chiefs after a disappointing season. If the praise of his former players is accurate, the Chiefs should see improvements from that group in no time.