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Should Kentucky rely more on the hurry up?

EJ Fields
Picture courtesy of KY Forward

After seeing the way the offense worked against Louisville when utilizing the hurry up before halftime and at the end of the game, do you think UK should start working it into the game plan more often? UK’s only touchdowns came in the waning seconds of the first half and when trailing by two scores with five minutes left in the game. In both instances, Morgan Newton threw the ball, the receivers got out of bounds and the Wildcats marched down the field. What could it hurt to turn to this kind of offensive efficiency earlier in the game instead of when we’re already behind?

The benefit of running the hurry up with this team seems to be threefold:

– For one, it shortens the playbook immensely. It almost seems like the play calling during the game is done by someone who doesn’t recognize the personnel we have at our disposal. I don’t care what you’ve seen in practice, designed quarterback runs do not work. However, in the hurry up, Newton was able to pick up good yardage on the ground when his first option was to pass the ball. That seems to be a more natural fit for him and is only better enabled by the utilization of the hurry up.

– In that same thread, the use of the hurry up should also limit the amount of running plays we attempt. I know the truly successful teams are the ones that can pound the ball on the ground consistently, but we all need to face facts and recognize that this team has major problems running the ball. Our highly touted offensive line has either been banged up, lacked chemistry or just plain sucked and it leaves us in a perpetual cycle of third and longs. I’d love to see Josh Clemons break a draw play for a big gain, and that would be facilitated by a successful passing assault, not turning to it as a conservative option on third and 15 after a one yard run and a quarterback sack.

– The use of the hurry up would also benefit Morgan Newton by getting him out of his own head. Newton struggles at times because he over thinks things, he holds the ball to long and ends up taking sacks or forcing dumb throws. However, in the hurry up, Newton seems much more calm and is able to get into a discernible rhythm. Similarly, the receivers can find some semblance of a rhythm as well. UK found a go-to guy in EJ Fields, mainly because he seemed to thrive in the hurry up.

Should this be something UK tries to implement throughout the course of the game against Florida? I expect us to get behind quick against the Gators, so it could be a great opportunity to work a new offensive game plan. What do you think?

Article written by Matthew Hays

53 Comments for Should Kentucky rely more on the hurry up?

  1. Cliver
    12:04 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    Kentucky should rely on a new coach.

  2. MPS
    12:07 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    Rather…let’s hurry up and hire Mike Leach.

  3. Han
    12:10 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    Make more sense? Yes, it would. Will Joker do it? Nope.

    12:11 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    I have said since the inception that we have to go hurry up. Our offensive playbook is to telegraphed and can be picked up by a average fan. When we go hurry up however, we seem to catch our opponets on there heels. Lets face it, we arent very good, Newton is slow, Clemons is OK but needs to get tough, and our recievers cant catch a long ball. Go hurry up offensive whats the worst that can happen? We lose?

  5. Mike
    12:14 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    I think the prevent defense during those drives helped us.

  6. KYStout
    12:15 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    I’m sure that Florida will be positively flabbergasted by our hurry-up offense.

  7. stuckatwork
    12:16 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    Morgan has a big arm & is a completely different qb when the offense gets in a rhythm. he also had that 57 yd td run at the end of the western game when we were in the hurry-up. it’s worth a shot.

  8. tim
    12:19 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    yes, and 2… yes.

  9. BigBlueBear
    12:19 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    Anything is better than what we’ve been doing.

  10. ATB (Always True Blue)
    12:24 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    They coaches are morons if they don’t. This is the only way the offense has moved all season. I know the rule is that the offense is more prone to mistakes but not if it’s a rule. I mean Oregon did it all last season and they finished I think #2 in the country and almost won it all if I remember correctly? Hurry up and run the hurry up.

  11. Carl
    12:24 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    I agree with Mr. Hays. We only seem to challenge the defense after we’re down 10 or more points and need to get something on the board in a hurry.

    Louisville had weaknesses on both offense and defense..FIU was able to exploit them and win. We couldn’t…why not?

  12. UKfanNKY
    12:27 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    Hurry up and do NOT let the defense get set! I’m amazed how many times an offense comes to the line and you will see the defense scrambling to get the play, subsitute players or get set, go ahead a hike the ball while they are not ready. Look what the Bengals did two weeks ago agianst Cleveland. I’m just surprized more teams don’t do it. NOTHING un-fair about it at all. GO CATS!!!

  13. Mitch Rapp
    12:27 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    Anything the puts the decision making in the hands of the players and away from the coaches.

  14. Exactly
    12:29 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    I totally agree with this. Ive been sayin this all week. Morgan likes the hurry up plus it leaves the defense confused which helps our floundering offense. And about the whole coach thing. I like joker and its not that i think hes an awful coach but he should have never been hired as the head coach of an SEC program after only being an okay offensive coordinater. Hurry up Georgia and fire Mark Reicht so we can scoop him up #FreeReicht

  15. Kyle
    12:30 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    I think we suck

  16. comebackcat
    12:30 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    Seriously, be realistic, unless the QB is Payton Manning, and our Offensive line has unlimited motors, this will be a disaster. Do you really expect our coach and QB to be able to plan plays 2-3 downs ahead of time? and the OL to not get absolutely exhausted?

  17. big tim
    12:31 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    10 i agree it work at the beginning and end of the louisville game we start moving it down the field so we need to do it the whole game

  18. Justin G.
    12:33 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    Mr. Hays, this is exactly what UK should do! Not only does it allow Newton and our receiver s to get into a rhythm, but it prevents the defense from having a break. This will be the only way UK has a shot at putting up any offense against a much better, Florida squad. Yet, again, I think it comes to Joker making the call! Joker likes to act like he has a football team that can stand toe-to-toe with SEC opponents, and have a hot at winning. The truth is, we do not, and with Joker here (who seems to be the worst developer of talent= coaching), he will not change up his strategy. Instead he will continue to run draws up the middle on 3rd down, and make his PLAYCALLING, very predictable.
    Oh, I know Joker supporters, he does not make the actual calls (f$%^ing Sander does), but he make the scheme for the game.

  19. Bigbluecalizone
    12:37 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    I think the hurry up offense will be critical against Florida. If we go to it, we only loose 62-17. Without it we loose 62-6. You do the math.

  20. JaredCarterIsMyHomeboy
    12:38 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    Been saying it for years, nearly all teams should do nothing but the hurry up.

  21. WildcatfanEastKY
    12:39 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    Yeah they should..HURRY UP and get this season over with so basketball can start. I have been a die hard season ticket holder for a long time but that UL game showed what kind of fire Joker has and thats none.

  22. Fred
    12:41 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    when’s basketball season start?

  23. Jimmy Buffett
    12:42 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    Like #1 & #2 said; hurry up and hire a new coach.

  24. Mike Martin
    12:50 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    I agree, but only if what we do is not working. I don’t think this should be our new game plan though. We haven’t been practicing it and doing it all the time means more mistakes are likely to happen if we try it all the time.

    I’d like to see it as a changeup so to say, just don’t make it predictable like what we see now. Try and add it as another part of the offense to throw the defense off. Enable Morgan to call it on the field too. If he sees the other team shuttling several guys on and off the field then strike. A third and long would be a good place to do it. When they know we have to throw it, and they’re changing personnel, Newton should have a handfull of plays he could shout a word or phase. When our guys hear it they fly to the line and get ready. Then you have a chance of catching the other team off guard or out of position. If it works a couple time they start burning timeouts, or get caught with to many or few men on the field, but if you do it all the time they will adjust to it. Use it to keep them off guard. JMO

    12:52 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    I agree 50-50. Yes UK should do whatever it can to keep the defense off balance, I dont think UK can be successful against a D like Florida by going in “straight up”. But lets no get carried away by that late rally against UL. UL defense went into a prevent mode and left a lot of play underneath for UK to hit, and UK hit them. But when push came to shove UL buckled down in the red zone and UK petered out.

    But this is a slightly ridiculous argument considering the amount of drops the receivers have had. If they just hold on to the ball, I don’t think we would be having this conversation. I think its that simple.

    12:55 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    I know it is an overrated statistic but Time of Possession will be somewhat critical if UK is keeping it close. UK needs to limit the time UF has the ball thereby limiting the scoring opportunities they have.

  27. ThatsAShame
    12:55 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    The Hurry-up may work but it at the core it is a gimmick. The people who say it prevents defensive subs have to realize that it also prevents subs on the other side of the ball. If it was a proven tatic more schools would run it.
    I think we need our O line and QB to get on the same page. Blocking assignments are frequently missed or botched. It looks to that the ‘protection’ does not always match the drop Newton takes. These are fixable problems. Firing the coach is silly talk at this point. Nothing is going to happen this year. Might as well accept it.

  28. tom
    12:56 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    hurry up worked in both instances when Louisville was in more of a prevent defense. In a hurry-up offense you still need to block the other team which UK didn’t do well in ANY set or pace they ran.

  29. Miller
    12:56 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    I think UK football should rely on the prayer.

  30. kycatfl1
    12:58 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    They need a hell of a lot more than a hurry up offense! Hurry up and get the game over maybe!

  31. Dicky Isn't Walking Through That Door
    12:59 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    Although we likely benefited from prevent defense in the UL game, I’m with the other commenters regarding not letting the defense get set. A good team like Florida is continuously rotating personnel to keep them fresh. The hurry-up wears down the defense by not letting them substitute and confuses them by having players in during situations they’re not used to being in on. If all UK is doing is throwing mostly short out routes, the play calls are manageable. Mix in a run here and there and a deep sideline route that does not risk an INT, and it’s a decent gimick.

    I’m not saying this will work against Florida, but I think it will help. Against UL, I think we would have won the game with this strategy. Most teams will adjust once they see it, but I still think it gives us a great shot to be competitive and at least move the ball. This offense needs rhythm instead of over thinking everything. If Peyton Manning was the QB, I would say take all the time you need to pick out defensive weaknesses, but we’re just wasting time now; the receivers are probably thinking the whole time, “what route is it that I’m supposed to be running?”

  32. Morgan Newton SUCKS!!!
    1:01 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    Yes UK should rely more on the “hurry up” as in hurry up and get rid of Joker Phillips.

  33. Jonesy
    1:05 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    You can say what you wan about designed QB runs but the biggest two plays of the first 2 games were long Morgan Newton runs. Both from a momentum stand point and from a big play standpoint. We were very poor on offense before those plays in both games and may not have won without them. However, trying it once per possession is not effective. With a QB like Morgan Newton it should be done once or twice per game just to keep the defense honest and to make them respect that aspect of his game (although I would not consider him a dual threat guy).

  34. BG Man
    1:06 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    The hurry up is something that might work for a drive or two, but then the defense would eventually catch on. The hurry up offense is not a fail-safe way to make the offense suddenly unstoppable. Look at Oregon, they have great talent, run the no-huddle spread and got dominated by LSU in week one. Alot of time the hurry-up does nothing but hurries up and gets your defense back on the field for more torture. The best thing to do is recruit better and execute your offense more soundly.

  35. Jeremy
    1:11 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    I like the idea of the hurry up but I agree with a previous post about limiting UF’s possessions. If we go hurry up and it goes no where we will punting in less than a minute not giving our defense a chance to rest and UF another chance to score. Time of possession is critical this week. Also, I didn’t care to much for Ronnie Sneed’s upset comments in the paper today. Exactly what UF needed, bulletin board material!!

  36. GB
    1:12 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    Yes, the Cats should spread the field vs The Gators on Saturday and take their chances with quick passes (to RB, WR, TE) and let Newton run as he stretches the Gator D downfield. Or…we could go 2 yards and a cloud of dust all not!!

  37. Laker Cat 18
    1:13 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    I’m a fan of the hurry up offense. You just have to have players conditioned enough to do it. Can they do it for 4 quarters against the Florida Gators? That’s the million dollar question. Not to mention your receivers have to have good hands on a consistent basis, which we have not proven that yet.

  38. Dent43
    1:14 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    What is the point of hurrying to run an off-tackle?

  39. GummyBear
    1:22 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    It can’t be worse than what we are already doing.

  40. NL
    1:29 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    I agree that the hurry up may cause the O line to get a little fatigued, but lets be honest, they don’t block very well when they aren’t fatigued. If they can’t give Newton time, then why not run an offense where they get the ball out of his hands as soon as possible?

    I don’t know if I’m for the hurry up or not, but these slow developing routes won’t even work against louisville, much less a team as big and fast as Florida, LSU, or USC.

  41. Green River 46
    1:33 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    I have been a fan since 1956, (when I was ten.) The Louisville game, was one of the worse games ever. We will not beat Vandy this year. We will never have a great football program, at Ky. like in basketball, kids now want to play for a coach, not the school. We need to get a well name coach.

  42. Justin G.
    1:38 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    I like how posters call the hurry-up a gimmick, when our team is a gimmick. Like one poster said, we have to keep the gator offense off the field! That will not happen if Sanders and Joker, run their usual stuff (draws up the middle) and give up on 3rd and longs. It is evident our PLAY-CALLING is not working, and if you can not see that , then I am astonished. Do you think our crap play-calling is going to work against a team that is 3 to 4 times as good as anyone we have played so far?

  43. DB11
    1:59 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    do it

  44. Ron Ron
    2:04 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    Guys we’re playing Florida…nothing is going to work!! This is the only team who has consistently destroyed us since the Brooks era. This is the worst offense in the nation..dont care what stats say. cant catch(except EJ Fields way to step up dude) cant throw, what happened to the o line, no leadership, no rhythm, HORRIBLE playcalling, and really bad coaching. There are no excuses to why this offense is so bad, ive never seen anything like it! Its embarrassing and unacceptable! And the only reason the hurry up worked is cause it was the end of both halves and the dirty cards were in prevent mainly. I hate to say it but we’re looking at 3-9, 4-8 at best.

  45. Ryan Mossakowski
    2:21 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    Hey guys remember me!? Its your 4 star gunslinger from Frisco TX chillin down here in Mississippi playing juco ball. Man yall are looking rough so far! No disrespect but cmon. I’d love to still be there to help u guys out but i wasnt given the opportunity. Yeah I had shoulder surgery but everything feels fine…i know its juco but i did throw for like 500 yrds and account for 7 tds in my 1st game out. Have yall done that in 3 games?? I kid i kid…if joker wouldnt have promised newton the world i would still be there to at LEAST compete for the job, but they didnt want that. I guess 2 true freshman will work out as backups better. Good call! Anywho good luck the rest of the way and hopefully ill see yall next yr when im chuckin the ball for a Big 12 team:-)

  46. bluetexan
    2:29 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    Go to the hurry-up…losses will occur faster and less injuries. FREE Mie Leach.

  47. Evan Morris
    2:37 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    This is a terrible idea for a few reasons. For one, we absolutely do not have the personnel to pull off running a no huddle offense full time or for the majority of the game. As many people have mentioned when we have run no huddle we have been facing a prevent defense with little time left on the clock. In other words, obvious passing situations. Running it full time such as the Oregon Ducks, or some pro teams means you are trying to create matchup problems by spreading the defense out. To make sure they cover everyone the defense usually only rushes a few players and drops back in coverage giving the QB time to pick apart the reads. So far this season, especially in the SEC, I think it’s safe to say we don’t match up well with other teams. They can cover us and we don’t really have a mismatch anywhere on the field so my guess is they will simply rush the QB and force Newton to beat them which I don’t think he can do. For arguments sake let’s say that Florida does respect us spreading out and only rushes three. My guess is Florida’s three D-Linemen give as much trouble to the offensive line as Louisville or Central Michigan did so it still results in the same thing. Another thing I read a lot was that this will wear out the defense and confuse them or keep them off balance. Maybe, if Tom Brady was under center and we didn’t play in the SEC. Oregon’s no huddle (arguably the best in the country) didn’t phase LSU one bit, and while the Tigers D is clearly one of the best in the county, Florida isn’t far behind. They are deep and they are disciplined and a no huddle run by Kentucky isn’t going to phase them either. As hard as it is to watch, running a more traditional style and TRYING to keep possession, and keep our defense off the field is our best chance to win games. Also a quick comment on people being upset about running on 3 and 15 or other 3rd and long plays. 3rd and long is when a defense gets to put it’s head down and come straight for Newton’s head. If the O line can’t perform it is smarter in some situations to take the two yards and punt it away rather than letting him get killed or taking a sack and losing 9 more yards. Also, it’s possible to catch a defense off guard expecting a pass and tear off a long run. This requires solid O-line play though so it’s unlikely to happen soon but it’s not the wrong call necessarily.

  48. JackNicklaus
    2:41 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    The only thing “hurry-up” about this team will be to hurry-up and get our KO return team back on the field…over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over

  49. ATB (Always True Blue)
    3:37 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    OK so what I am hearing from alot of you is that 3 and out using a traditional style is better than 3 and out using the hurry up? Let’s see, 7 seconds each x 3 incomplete passes = 21 second plus the time it takes to get to the line of scrimmage. Then you have 40 seconds from completion of the play until snapping of the next play if you want to use them all. So let’s see 40 * 4 = 160 seconds. 181 seconds total using traditional methods or 3 minutes to round down. Now using the hurry up, the snap will take place usually with about 20 seconds left on the clock and it the other team can just run a no-huddle and use the entire time alot like Oregon does when the team needs a break. So that’s 20*3 or 60 seconds plus 21 seconds or 81 seconds. Or roughly a minute and a half. Running plays take the same time off of the clock so those really don’t count. So people are trying to tell me that one and a half minutes every position is going to make a difference in conditioning of players expecting or hoping to play professional athletics one day. That is just plain hogwash. The no huddle does anything different other than makes sure the defense is honest. You go to the line and you call the play like normal from the line of scrimmage take the entire 40 seconds if needed, if the defense tries to substitute you snap the darn ball and get a penalty on them or if you do see a mismatch in one of the 10 set plays you snap it immediately. It does nothing but puts the defense at a disadvantage. The defense is still going to rush you the same regardless and on the offensive side of the ball you can run in and out players if you require and the defense doesn’t have that capability. Run the darn thing, it can’t be any worse and it doesn’t take any real time away from how long our defense is on the field. Getting first downs gives our defense more time to rest. Hurry up or what I would rather call the no-huddle makes no real difference and that is the fact. Also, again Oregon played in the national championship game running it last year and they aren’t too bad this season. Let’s see if we can play LSU to the same score that Oregon did week after next. I would take that.

  50. Daniel Plainview
    4:32 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    The short answer is no. They can’t even get it together in the “slow it up” offense. Move to the hurry up and yes… there will be blood.

  51. Bigcatinva
    4:56 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    1 Your best point is the fact that Newtons running plays were a bust. Running him to the edge was obviously not working. You also pointed out that his most effective rushes were on passing plays. In my opinion that is when he should run.When all options are covered tuck it in and go. No more designed runs unless it’s 4th and inches and he leans forward on a sneak.

    2 The Hurry up Offense: Well in the Hurry up the playbook is limited. The defense you saw on the field facing that hurry up was in prevent mode trying to get to the half or end the game. As you noted, both Newton and the offense responded. I say use it on the opening drives of each half and when the Offense starts to sputter. The hurry up is not the cure all for this offense. One on One battles have to be won to some degree and the play makers have to step up.

    3 Draw plays on 3 and long. First things first…avoid 3rd and longs. You have to consider what the defense is doing as well. Do you throw the ball into heavy 7- 8 man coverage? The odds say that if you see 8 man coverage then a draw play has a better chance of working and less of a chance of a turnover. I think the BIGGEST problem was the predictability of that draw play. My wife thinks I’m a football genious because I can usually predict almost the very play but always “pass run” with our offense. If I can do that how good do you think Charlie Strong, Muschamp, and the Ole Ball coach are at it. I’d say much better. Can you imagine what play action could do on one of those plays?
    TYhere’s no silver bullet. We have to play tougher, win the one on ones, and become less predictable on offense

  52. James Green
    5:22 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    Do you know why UK does better in the hurry up offense? Because Coach Joker and Sanders don’t have time to ponder up a safe and conservative play call. Think about it.

  53. RockBottom
    8:12 pm September 22, 2011 Permalink

    I like it! Call Joker