Before we look at what Gran brings to the table, here’s the current lay of the land. Justin Rowland has reported that Gran will be the next offensive coordinator. The Courier-Journal is taking one step back, saying that a deal is close but not yet completed. The Cincinnati Enquirer went even one step further back, saying that Gran will interview for the UK job tomorrow.
Things will be clearer tomorrow, until then let’s look at the potential.
2015 Cincinnati Offense
- 36.1 points per game.
- 355 1st downs: 121 rushing, 208 passing.
- 2234 total rushing yards from three running backs with over 700 yards: Hosey Williams, Mike Boone, and Tion Green.
- The Bearcats averaged 4.7 yards per rushing attempt that led to 24 touchdowns.
- Through the air, UC passed for 4477 yards good for 373 yards per game.
- Cincy finished the season nationally ranked 7th in total offense by averaging 559 yards per game.
- Gunner Kiel started 10 games at quarterback and completed 65.2% of his passes for 2777 yards, 19 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions.
- It totaled over 90 plays in three games with an astonishing 100 reps vs. Miami.
- The UC offense broke 18 school records, the most notable two coming against Memphis when they threw for 620 yards on a night they recorded 720 yards of total offense.
So, there’s some statistical references as well as numerical significance of a Gran-led offense. How does this translate to current Kentucky personnel?
There will be an emphasis on the run game. With Boom Williams and JoJo Kemp at the ready, this should be welcoming news. On many occasions, Gran’s offense will begin its formation in the pistol (when the running back is lined up behind a shallow quarterback in the shotgun). By doing so, quick hitting runs and play action passing becomes paramount, the staple of the scheme. At this point of execution is where TE’s CJ Conrad and Darryl Long can excel. Gran hasn’t shown overdependence upon TE’s, but a coach with his experience will be expected to adapt to his best offensive weapons. Another staple of Gran’s offense is the vertical passing game and his insistence on forcing opposing defenses to respect the homerun threat.
Quarterbacks will be put into position to complete simple passes. Gran’s system operates on a multiple/varied look that is accompanied by the run/pass-option, which if ran properly presents a schematic strain on opposing defenses.
The fact that the 2015 Bearcats had three receivers with seventy catches should grab the attention of the current Wildcat WR’s. Simply put: get open, the football may be coming your way. From watching regular season games, Gran’s system spreads the football out over a variety of eligible receivers. From this variable alone, morale in the WR meeting should increase.
Another positive is with the quick passing game, zone rushes, run/pass options, and sweeps, the offensive line will not be called upon to sustained prolonged pass blocks. Gran inherits an OL that surrendered 30 QB sacks and a bruised ego. By an increased pace that allows the football to be released from the quarterback’s hand at a quicker rate, the result could lead to an obvious improvement in the trenches.
The question remains, does Kentucky have the personnel to not only open the playbook but to read chapters one through twelve? I say yes. The lingering query that will exist until the first offensive series against Southern Miss will surround the quarterback position. From initial review, Gran’s system is quarterback friendly with many built-in successes. Simple completions and run reads build confidence.
Eddie Gran and Mark Stoops have history. That was and is important for the UK head coach entering year four. The fact that Gran is taking the position should be an encouraging sign for the BBN. Encouragement and positivity have been sparse since the Governor’s Cup. I’d consider today a win. However, on-field result will be the final determination. For now, the players need to stop the talk, emoji’s, and other encrypted signs of their regard toward the now intact coaching staff and get to work. Too much has already been said. Let what’s said in the Nutter Center stay in the Nutter Center. A challenging opener in Southern Miss is looming.
Now that the offensive coordinator is in place, a unified and inspired front must be portrayed by the team as Stoops and staff finalize the 2016 Class.