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Eddie Gran explains why AJ Rose keeps getting the nod over Kavosiey Smoke


There are a lot of ‘why?’s’ following yet another heartbreaking loss to the Florida Gators Saturday night. Why go conservative, why were those two calls targeting, why does Kentucky insist on running a Wildcat on fourth & one? So on and so forth.

But the biggest ‘why’, at least for me, is why is AJ Rose still getting the bulk of the carries over Kavosiey Smoke?

Through three games, Smoke leads the Kentucky rushing attack with 251 yards; however, Rose still leads the team in carries by 13. Now, Smoke did get a bump in production this Saturday, nearly doubling his carries on the season which was aided by five carries on the next-to-last series. But it still seemed like Gran was forcing Rose into the mix with 14 carries on the night and giving the nod to Rose in key situations.

This post isn’t a slight to Rose. In fact, Rose brings great things to the table, including blocking, receiving out of the backfield and keeping the defense honest. But when it comes to SOLEY picking up yards on the ground, it just hasn’t worked for Rose so far this season.

This season, Rose is averaging 4.1 yards per carry compared to Smoke’s 7.4. So, it had to be asked: Why is A.J Rose still getting high volume carries out of the backfield?

Is it because of seniority and AJ deserves it? Is it because his versatility keeps the defense honest? Is it his blocking? The BBN wants answers. Here’s what Eddie Gran gave us:

“They’ve both been productive. Smoke gets the longer runs. Some of that’s been because you know we’ve worn them down. Sometimes it’s been there after three series, sometimes it’s been after four series. A lot of the time it happens like that, because of the way it works out. Sometimes there are holes when the other guy is in. We go and watch that every week.”

I, for one, am an Eddie Gran supporter, but I just can’t find a way to wrap my head around the  ‘a lot of the time it happens like that, because of the way it works out‘ as an explanation for Rose still getting nearly 16 carries a game compared to Smoke’s 11.

The proof is in the pudding, and Smoke has clearly been the leading back out of that backfield through a quarter of the season. It seemed like Kentucky trusted Smoke down the stretch last night, and maybe they will make that adjustment going forward this season.

Article written by Brent Wainscott

Twitter: @BrentW_KSR

25 responses to “Eddie Gran explains why AJ Rose keeps getting the nod over Kavosiey Smoke”

  1. jccuk

    In short yard plays like 3rd and 1, Smoke definitely needs to be in just like we put Benny in on those type plays. Rose is not a bully runner he is more of a finesse runner and if Gran can’t figure that out we are in for a long season especially on 3rd and shorts. Wake up!

    1. 4everUKblue

      Agreed. I’m only asking because I honestly don’t know but what about Rodriguez?

    2. maximumscott

      Rods ball security against a MAC tm put him on the pine

    3. UKinIN

      Rodriguez had two fumbles in game one. He may be done for the season.

    4. UKinIN

      Smoke is not the replacement for short yardage/inside runs. Smoke is more explosive than Rose, but he’s small. Not big enough to get the hard yards.

    5. shelby3605

      Yes he is; he can get the hard yards and he’s best at putting a toe in the dirt and cutting away from tacklers. However, AJ is probably better at blocking which is pretty important. I think Smoke will be getting the bulk of the carries by the end of the year.

    6. magimae

      Sounds to me that Gran is blowing smoke instead of using Smoke.

    7. runningunnin.454

      I would rather have Smoke in any situation including short yardage/inside runs. Rose won’t fight for yardage inside; hell, he even runs out of bounds on runs like a QB. It wouldn’t surprise me if he started sliding like a QB.

    8. Thetruthshallsetbennyfree

      Since when is almost 230 lbs small?

    9. ClutchCargo

      Smoke is short, but far from small. You see him come out without pads and wonder how the hell a guy that thick has such lateral quickness.

  2. terwilliger

    Rose getting the call over Smoke is only have the problem. The bigger problem (mistake) is going out of the Wildcat TWICE when you needed one freaking yard. That is just pure idiocy and Gran/Stoops have been beating that dead horse for multiple seasons now. STOP. IT.

    1. terwilliger

      Half*

  3. onlyone

    Gran is a clueless moron he keeps giving games away with his moronic play calls. He has one run play and it is always up the middle. We will never be a top team in the SEC with him on the sidelines.

    1. FlySoup

      I remember several sweeps and pitch plays from last night.

    2. makeitstop

      And counters and pitch outs… this is ridiculous. Were we predictable those two runs? Yes. Wrong personnel? Probably. But we have lots of running plays.

  4. RAGE

    Gimmick plays like the wildcat worked once upon a time… now though against athletes like Florida can put on the field it ain’t going to work… Is why you never see it in the NFL or by good coaches… I understand trying it every now and then but when it don’t work you quit trying it… Our coaches have beat the play to death and milked it for what it is worth… Need another plan now and that is what our coaches can’t understand or just to stubborn to change…

  5. runningunnin.454

    Obstinate: stubbornly refusing to change one’s opinion or chosen course of action.
    Unyielding inflexible, and from the animal kingdom, pigheaded, bullheaded, stubborn as a mule.
    And that’s the biggest load of crap I’ve ever read.

    Why did we close the play book the 4th quarter til it was 22-21? And, why, at the same time, did we resort to the running back most of us had been screaming for the entire quarter? Then, when we take it to the red zone, post-haste, why did we once again lose our nerve, and leave it up to a terrified kid?
    Keep your loser mentality; just don’t try to sell us a load of crap>

  6. Elvis Is Alive

    Rose runs far too upright to be a short yardage back. Smoke hits the hole faster and has much better body lean.

    1. bluecrowe

      EXACTLY! Thank you! It is as though UK found out entering the 3rd quarter that the SEC had declared Florida the winner and it was up to UK to figure out how to make it happen. That is exactly what it looked like out there.

    2. UKfanforlife

      Rose takes a path and hits it, no matter what. Smoke takes a beat and chooses a path, much like Snell did. That is why he makes more yards per carry, because he runs to where the hole has opened up, more often that Rose does.

      Rose caught 2 passes for 18 yards. One went for 12 and the other for 6. That is why I figured Rose starts over Smoke. Rose did make one nice block on an edge rusher, allowing the QB to make a good throw.

      As far running the ball, even the casual fans, who know little about football, can see that Smoke need to get more carries.

      I don’t get paid to coach and I don’t claim to be smarter than anyone else, but it seems to me that if Rose is going to continue to be the starter, they need to throw it to him more and utilize the reason why he is ahead of Smoke on the depth chart.

  7. Thetruthshallsetbennyfree

    Stoops thinks sitting on a lead is good coaching cause his daddy did it 200 years ago. I’ve never seen Saban or Swinney slow down till they’re up by 30 with only 3 minutes left. 90% of the time I’ve watched Stoops testicles shrivel up a team we are handling gives me chest pains by making a comeback run.

  8. BLUEVADER

    Smoke to the left side of Line is almost unstoppable, but hell no let’s run Rose up the middle or to the right. Ppppfffff

  9. bige

    Gran is proof that being at the right place, at the right time, with the right attitude is everything in a career.
    Frankly, few coaches are very intelligent. They have their methods and most of all, they are persistent, work hard, stick with it, and build relationships with other coaches.
    The play calling while having a decent lead has been perplexing since Gran has been at UK.
    Team played well but not enough difference-makers to cover the poor coaching decisions Saturday.

    1. bluecrowe

      They are all glorified substitute PE teachers. There are maybe 5 exceptions total in college and NFL combined to this rule. It is nauseating to think how much money these guys pull down just because they tricked people into hiring them.

  10. bbn606

    I don’t care who carries the ball as long as we stay out of the Miildcat Wildcat.