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Kentucky’s offense has to take more deep shots, be more efficient on third down

(US Presswire)

One reason Kentucky fans have to reserve judgment regarding Rick Minter’s new defensive scheme is because of how atrocious Kentucky’s offense was last year. It’s safe to say it was one of the worst offenses in the school’s history and because of that, Minter’s guys were on the field more than they should have been. The problem with going forward offensively is having to determine if it’s a lack of good personnel or bad playcalling. It could be a little of both, but the following stats suggest it could be playcalling. In the 2011 season, Kentucky only converted 28.98% of their third downs (last in SEC, 115th nationally) and only had 105 plays of 10 yards or more (last in SEC, 118th nationally). Thinking back to a few games last year, the offense constantly faced a ton of 3rd down and long situations. Even for the best offenses in the nation it’s tough to convert those on a regular basis. If the team hopes to take a step forward and ultimately make a bowl game, the offense has to have better offensive playcalls.

Before everyone throws the blame on Coach Phillips, offensive coordinator Randy Sanders is the main playcaller for the Wildcats’ offense. This season, Sanders will have a more experienced Maxwell Smith under center and a deeper corps of wide receivers at his disposal so personnel shouldn’t be an excuse. Sanders needs to find a way to put Smith in a better position to succeed throughout his time on the field. That means avoiding third-and-eights and third-and-nines by choosing “go to” plays on second down to get the team in more attainable situations.

Another problem that Kentucky’s offense faced was receivers running routes short of the first down marker. If the pass was completed the team would still be short of the marker and ultimately have to punt. An overall better tight end group this year, along with better play-makers, should help stretch defenses in Kentucky’s favor.

The Wildcats only had a better third-down efficiency rate than two of their 12 opponents last year and didn’t convert a single one against Vanderbilt. With the best offenses in college football often being associated with their ability to convert on the “money down” its no secret that if Sanders and Co. want to be mentioned among those teams they have to be better in the upcoming year.

Article written by Rashawn Franklin

14 Comments for Kentucky’s offense has to take more deep shots, be more efficient on third down

  1. Yabba Do
    8:38 pm August 1, 2012 Permalink

    Dude, you’re over the top with your pass happy stats. Keep in mind, we play in the SEC, so, your NCAA stats don’t mean shizzle anywhere between the Ohio Rver and the Gulf of Mexico. If you can’t run and defend the run in this league, you don’t matter. Truth be told, 23 of the last 25 national champs were ranked in the top 10 in rushing and rushing defense. Only twice has a top 10 ranked passing offense won a national title in that same time period. Again, stop quoting NCAA stats, they don’t shhhhh in the SOUTH.

  2. Shelbyjoe
    8:40 pm August 1, 2012 Permalink

    Until we have an O line that doesn’t get tossed aside like little girls, we can’t pass, and we can’t run. Smith needs time and the RBs need holes!

  3. Bob Sugar
    9:05 pm August 1, 2012 Permalink

    Dynamite analysis Rashawn! It’s heartwarming to see those multiple attempts to pass eighth grade have finally paid off, lending more of KSR’s trademark vapidity to the rest of the BBN. Increase third down efficiency and number of big plays? Why stop there,? Why not suggest we try to score more points than the other team? Bottom line this team has a lot to improve and improving two statistics on offense is not going to be enough. This so-called team does not have the size, strength, speed, skill, leadership, fan momentum, depth, toughness, coaching, discipline, or any of the myriad necessities to compete against the non-cupcakes on their dessert of a schedule. It’s time to clean house. Getting rid of these pathetic excuses for coaches and replacing them with competent, proven leaders is the only way to turn our program around.

  4. Shaq Daddy
    9:53 pm August 1, 2012 Permalink

    If Randy Sanders couldn’t get it done on O with the talent UT used to have then he won’t get it done here. There is a reason David Cutcliff was brought back to UT after getting fired at Ole Miss; Sanders was an awful play caller. There offense magically got better after Sanders left.

  5. JBR
    10:02 pm August 1, 2012 Permalink

    And in other news…the sky is blue. The north pole is cold. Etc, etc.

  6. UKBlue
    10:19 pm August 1, 2012 Permalink

    UK offense needs to run a west coast offense !!

  7. putinrichie
    5:38 am August 2, 2012 Permalink

    To take deep shots down field, you have to have a QB that can make the throws. As you increases the length of your pass downfield, the % chance of completion decreases. While I agree it would be nice to open it up, its much easier said than done. You have to be able to consistently complete 5-10 yard passes first and even that was a challenge last season.

  8. hooter
    6:25 am August 2, 2012 Permalink

    Run, Run, Run, Punt. Run, Run, Short pass for a gain of 4, punt. That won’t win games, and it hasn’t.

  9. Beavis
    6:54 am August 2, 2012 Permalink

    # 2 correct,,,,if we don’t have the guys up front,,,,can’t pass,,,can’t run and the D will spend just as much time on the field this year.

  10. bosshogg24
    7:25 am August 2, 2012 Permalink

    When it is 3rd and 7 and you need a first down real bad you don’t throw a 50 yard pass! You don’t run off tackle 3 staright times and punt. It is like some 12 year old calling plays. Open up the offense, be daring!

  11. Greg
    8:47 am August 2, 2012 Permalink

    ‘Before everyone throws the blame on Coach Phillips, offensive coordinator Randy Sanders is the main playcaller for the Wildcats’ offense’. So….who’s Sanders boss?

  12. UKfansNKY
    10:01 am August 2, 2012 Permalink

    Pike dismissed from Auburn…………..who didn’t know that would happen!! Thanks Joker and Staff for recruiting Towles KENTUCKY got the better end on that!!! So………………….there ya go all you Joker haters! Ease up and BACK THE BLUE!!!! GO CATS!!!

  13. ukcat58
    10:08 am August 2, 2012 Permalink

    The buck stops with Joker. The excuses will start after the UL loss, which could be ugly beyond the 13 point line, and will continue all year. Injuries, youth, inexperience, etc. Face it, Joker is way over his head( everyone knows this) and we will get slaughtered this year and the last two seasons of 6-7 and 5-7 will look stellar compared to 3-9 ( all mid major teams) It is Mitch time – Step up and stop letting UK football be the media whipping boy – SEC media days, did you see Joker – he did not even answer most questions and just droned on with few media even staying around – ESPN announcers were trying to be nice but it was obvious they knew we were terrible, again – Vandy is stepping up and will kick our A_ _ , again this year.
    The fans are speaking with their $$$$ by not buying seats – We have become the old Vandy, no respect, thousands of empty seats, and media joke(r)-