Benny Snell’s excellent sophomore season reached record heights on Saturday when he surpassed 1,000 rushing yards and set a new school record for rushing touchdowns. Through the last three games, Snell has rushed over opponents as he pleased, but that wasn’t always the case.
Leading into his three-game hot streak, Snell was held a career-low rushing output of 18 yards at Mississippi State. On three other occasions he was help to 75 yards or less. Snell surpassed 100 yards on the road at South Carolina, but it took him 32 carries to get there. Even when his numbers looked good, he didn’t look like the old Benny.
“Any young player is going to go through some ups and downs, just like any player,” Mark Stoops said today. “You gotta constantly strive to improve, but it starts with a work ethic and a tough mentality. He’s had that.”
When things weren’t going so well, Eddie Gran sat Benny down to refocus his attention to the finer details his game had been missing.
“There were some conversations,” Stoops said. “I don’t want to make too much of it because he’s having a really good year and all that, but there were some things that…it wasn’t as detailed as he had been. Coach Gran brought him in, pointed them out, showed it to him, the discipline of some things that you have to push sometimes with sophomores because they had some great success, and maybe all of a sudden think you got it all figured out. Then you have to rein ’em back in.”
Stoops praised his offensive coordinator and running backs coach. After coaching elite SEC running backs for decades, Gran knew exactly what to do to get Benny back on track.
“I think again you have to credit Eddie Gran and his coaching abilities. He’s coached some talented running backs,” Stoops said. “I think Coach Gran with his experience has really helped Benny because some of the success over the past couple of weeks has been going back to some of the details that needed to be coached. Coach Gran has done a really good job with that.”
Not every successful athlete is willing to take that kind of coaching, but that is why Snell is such a special player.
“It’s easy for players, once they have some talent and once they have some success, to think they have it all figured out. The great ones want that coaching. They want the medicine…..If you give them medicine, if you’re going to do something to help them get better, then they’re going to take it.”
Eddie Gran gave Benny Snell the perfect prescription for record-breaking success.