Last week against WKU, the play calling was not the greatest. Many fans felt there was a far too conservative gameplan, not to mention poor execution. It was the worst of scenarios. Whether or not you enjoyed the gameplan against Central Michigan, you have to say it was at least more liberal. UK had a lot more success in the passing game, and found some good spots to run the ball. Below is the breakdown of the playcalling and what I took away from it. Your thoughts are also welcome.
1st down (23 plays)
Run: 16 rushes for 41 yards
Pass: 4-6, 94 yards, 1 TD, 1 sack (-8 yards)
Outlook: Much like the game against WKU, the rushing attack was pretty poor on 1st down. Only on 4 of those 16 rushes did Kentucky gain 5 or more yards, and the longest rush on 1st down was 8 yards. That will continue to put UK in 2nd and long situations, which is not where this offense needs to be. But, the passing game was more effective on 1st down this week, including the TD pass to King. Are you listening Joker? THE PASSING GAME WAS EFFECTIVE ON 1ST DOWN. Just a thought. Through 2 games on 1st down, Kentucky has run the ball 29 times and called a passing play 14 times.
2nd down and 7 or less (10 plays)
Run: 8 rushes for 150 yards, 1 TD
Pass: 1-2, 0 yards
2nd down and 8 or more (9 plays)
Run: 3 rushes for 25 yards
Pass: 1-5, 3 yards, 1 INT, 1 sack (-4 yards)
Outlook: Last week, only 3 of UK’s 17 2nd down plays were 2nd down and 7 or less. That is a horrible ratio. This week was much better. Not completely where Joker and staff would like it, but closer. And Kentucky had great success in the rushing attack in 2nd and short situations. The Clemons touchdown run was included in that set of plays. What I find most interesting is this: In situations were RUN was the best choice (2nd and shorts), Kentucky had a lot of success. In situations where PASS was the obvious choice (2nd and longs), Kentucky had very little success. That might tell you where the strengths of this offense lie.
3rd down and 7 or less (6 plays)
Run: 3 rushes for 21 yards
Pass: 1-3, 6 yards
3rd down and 8 or more (5 plays)
Run: 2 rushes for 14 yards
Pass: 2-2, 11 yards, 1 sack (-1 yard)
Outlook: Kentucky only converted 3-11 on 3rd down against Central Michigan, but a couple of those were key plays in the 2nd half. Even still, Kentucky has to get better on 3rd downs. Nick Saban has said before the 2 keys to every game are 3rd down conversions and red zone defense. Kentucky is 6-24 on 3rd down conversions this season. If you want a quick fix to see improvement in this team, that is where I would look.