Eddie Gran haters, prepare to enjoy some humble pie, served up by CBS’ Barrett Sallee.
Following Kentucky’s Citrus Bowl victory, the Cats’ ten-win season surprised plenty of college football analysts across the country. Some of the perplexed pundits are proclaiming that it was a flash in the pan. CBS college football writer Barrett Sallee acknowledges it will be difficult to replace, “arguably the most underrated running back in SEC history,” but he believes Kentucky is on solid ground with Eddie Gran running the Wildcats’ offense.
“Replacing Snell’s going to be tough, but I think the unsung hero of the Kentucky football team is Eddie Gran, their offensive coordinator,” said Sallee. “The way he coaches to his offensive talent makes him one of the top five offensive coordinators in the country right now.
“In terms of quarterback play, they’re always going to be searching for that next difference-maker. It’s always going to be a challenge for Kentucky to find that next guy, whether it be next year or the year beyond that, or last year, trying to figure out how to operate it with a duel-threat quarterback. They always have that sort of problem, but they’re really good at identifying talent moving forward.”
Like most college football play-callers, Gran receives plenty of criticism from fans for his decision-making. Some of that criticism is fair, however, you cannot ignore the offense’s progress year-to-year under Gran.
The running backs coach helped transform Benny Snell into the school’s all-time leading rusher. Under his tutelage, Kentucky has won at least seven games in each season. He changed UK’s offense in the middle of his first season to adapt to Stephen Johnson’s style of play following Drew Barker’s back injury. After two successful seasons, his offense scored more points in the 2018 than in 2017 and won ten games with a first-year starting quarterback.
It’s a tough pill to swallow, but face it, Eddie Gran is good at his job.