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Eddie Gran returning to Kentucky is a major win for the football program

To say Kentucky fans have mixed feelings on offensive coordinator Eddie Gran would be an understatement, and the last 24 hours or so have brought out the extremes on both sides of the equation.

On Tuesday afternoon, news leaked out Tennessee would be hiring Georgia’s Jim Chaney as their offensive coordinator. And then on Wednesday morning, multiple reports leaked out that Gran was in the running to take over the Bulldog offense.

Stephen Godfrey of SB Nation was the first to connect Gran with Georgia, saying the Kentucky offensive coordinator was a “name to watch” in the job search.

Today, KSR broke the news that Eddie Gran was officially offered the offensive coordinator position at Georgia, with total control of the Bulldog offense and a salary of at least $1.1 million on the table.

Eddie Gran offered OC job at Georgia

Football Scoop, one of the most reliable college football sources in the game, confirmed KSR’s report. They also added that Gran was “strongly considering remaining at Kentucky” as of this morning.

As the discussion heated up, as did the back-and-forth within the Kentucky fanbase. There were those ready to kick Gran to the curb, begging him to take the Georgia job so Kentucky could spice up the offense going forward. And then there were others who saw UK’s 24-15 overall record (13-11 in the SEC) with Gran calling plays, regardless of how it happened, and wanted the continuity.

After several hours of “will he or won’t he” controversy, the man himself took to Twitter to announce he wasn’t going anywhere, officially turning down Georgia’s offer.

Whether fans are big fans of Gran’s offense and playcalling at Kentucky or not, this is a massive win for the program on multiple levels.

Here’s why.

Kentucky’s status as a legitimate SEC program

The easiest surface-level argument with all of this is that for the average college football fan, “Kentucky’s offensive coordinator turns down Georgia,” especially after the program’s most successful season since 1977, will be seen as a major positive.

For recruits not as familiar with Kentucky’s current status, it piques interest. “Why is their offensive coordinator comfortable enough to decline a pay raise and an opportunity to coach at a title contender?” leads to questions such as “What do they have brewing up down there?” and “Is it something I want to be a part of?”

This season, Kentucky put forth a complete performance that put the program in the national spotlight. It started when Benny Snell was ejected during the Music City Bowl, continued when they knocked off Florida to end the streak, and then took another spike when they played Georgia for the SEC East title game late in the year. Their victory over Penn State in a New Year’s Day bowl just put the icing on the cake.

This news won’t hurt that positive momentum the program established throughout the season in the slightest.

Bulldog fans and individuals in the UGA media will paint the picture that Gran never received an official offer and he was never a serious contender for the job. In fact, some Georgia writers have already taken to Twitter to push this narrative. As a perennial powerhouse, why would they want to admit they were turned down by a program they feel is lower on the totem pole?

No matter what the narrative may be, we can confirm the interest was sincere on Georgia’s side of things. They had great respect for Gran’s ability and felt he would be a fantastic addition to the coaching staff.

That will pay off for Kentucky on the recruiting trail moving forward.

Contenders are built with loyalty, continuity, and trust

Though there is glitz and glamour that comes with taking the Georgia offensive coordinator job, Eddie Gran’s fantastic relationship with Mark Stoops is one of the key reasons why he opted to stay put. He has bounced from job to job and has worked under countless head coaches, but sources tell KSR his comfort level with Stoops, the staff, and what they have built together in Lexington is something he is in no rush to leave.

Contracts can be negotiated and UK AD Mitch Barnhart has shown raises are there to be had, but loyalty, stability, and mutual respect is something Gran values significantly.

On Stoops’ end of things, he has said multiple times in the last year that he has never trusted an offensive coordinator more than what he does with Gran. With three different offensive coordinators since he first got to Lexington and the rewards finally starting to come to fruition, it’s no surprise he wants to see things through with this current situation. No new playbooks to learn, major scheme changes, or adjustment periods under a new personality leading the offense.

Instead, they can take what they learned this past season by throwing out what didn’t work and building on what did, making minor tweaks only. Quarterback Terry Wilson can go through an entire offseason focused on developing his own game and building chemistry with the other playmakers on offense, not worrying about the excess baggage that comes with bringing in a new coordinator.

This coaching staff is extremely excited about the pieces they have to work with on offense, and the feeling is mutual on the players’ side of things, as well.

Gran’s true playcalling abilities will be shown this season

I’ve been extremely critical of Gran in the past, both in terms of overall offensive schemes and individual play calls. The vast majority of the fanbase has been frustrated at one point or another, and it’s understandable why. Offensive performances like the ones we saw against Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, Missouri, and Tennessee made you want to rip your hair out, as it felt like the entire unit was trying to force a square peg through a round hole.

In fact, sources tell KSR that there were was genuine frustration amongst players on the offensive side of the ball with how individuals were being utilized and how plays were being called. It never got to the point where locker room turmoil or divide was a concern, but it was something that needed to be addressed. Why wouldn’t an offensive player want the ball in his hands or have the opportunity to make an impact? That level of competitive spirit is something you hope for on a team with dreams as massive as Kentucky’s are.

With Benny Snell in the backfield, however, there was mutual understanding amongst players that he was the top option and the offense would be molded around his talents as a result. As the program’s all-time leading rusher and touchdown scorer, they understood it was absolutely in the team’s best interest to play the way they did and roll with the punches, even if it meant things would slow down at times against elite run defenses. Stoops wanted to pound the rock with arguably the greatest running back in school history, and Gran tried to put the star Wildcat in position to succeed with those guidelines.

With 3,873 career yards and 48 touchdowns for Snell, with just about every rushing record there was to be had, he did just that.

In his final year at Cincinnati, Gran’s offense ran a total of 1059 plays and had a near 50-50 split between the pass and run. Working with two quarterbacks, the Bearcats finished No. 4 nationally in passing offense at 373.1 yards per game and ranked No. 5 in the nation in total offense by averaging 559.4 yards per game. He knows how to play to his team’s strengths, and for the last three seasons with Snell, it worked more often than not.

With the star running back off to the NFL now, there is growing confidence within the organization that the offense will open up a bit more to facilitate some of the other playmakers. Terry Wilson will have more time to settle in and show off his development, Lynn Bowden is a superstar, AJ Rose has proven he can make plays in the run game and as a pass-catcher out of the backfield, Tavin Richardson is reliable, Justin Rigg will thrive in a passing attack, etc. There are options available, and Gran will be able to play a bit more to their strengths now. I still believe Stoops and Gran will favor the run, but things certainly won’t get as one-dimensional as we saw at times this season.

After Kentucky’s victory over South Carolina this past season, Stoops said he simply will not play a reckless style of football, and that will be a common theme moving forward.

“When you say same old offense, this is the same old offense that’s putting us in position to win a bunch of football games,” said Stoops. “Here’s the deal, the object is to win games. So when you’re (significantly) ahead, and we’re possessing the ball and limiting touches and opportunities for the offense, that’s what you’re trying to do is win games. Of course we want to put the foot on the gas and score points, but you don’t want to be reckless, as well. You want to win.”

In 2016, Kentucky’s offense managed 35 or more points in five of the team’s last seven games, with seven total on the year. The defense struggled immensely, so Stoops and Gran had to adjust accordingly (with JUCO QB Stephen Johnson replacing Drew Barker in week three, mind you) by turning it up a notch to let it fly a bit. They still had an impressive running attack with a junior Boom Williams and a freshman Benny Snell in the backfield, but the offense kept opposing defenses honest through the air.

This past season, the vertical passing game became non-existent at times and the offense as a whole became predictable. They’ll still stick to their hard-nosed, grind-it-out ways, but the balance we didn’t necessarily see last year will be back.

As a result, the offensive product will likely be more appealing, yet still maintain the winning formula Stoops is pushing for.


Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

56 Comments for Eddie Gran returning to Kentucky is a major win for the football program

  1. unbridled
    9:43 pm January 10, 2019 Permalink

    “Major win” for the program is quite debatable. Oh well.

    • mashburnfan1
      10:48 pm January 10, 2019 Permalink

      I have yet to see, other than KSR, that Gran was offered anything or that he turned down anything. Even at UGA sites there is no mention of anything {they don’t even have Gran listed in their long shot candidates}, CBS nothing, ESPN nada. Just like KSR saying Stoops may go to Miami, HELLO Miami never considered anyone other than who they hired, could not have since dude was hired a couple hours after Richt left. I hope Gran does well, helps our kids and team. Facts are he was horrible. Look at Vandy, UT, Mizzou, A&M, MTSU, CMU, 2nd half of USC. Teams put up huge points of those teams all season, well all but Eddie Gran. 3rd and or more we have no shot with a QB draw, hand off or pass route of 2 yards, which is what he called most of the time. Even vs PSU he tried to lose it but luckily Benny carried a few guys 3 yards, on 3rd down, to get a 1st down. I can’t stand him as a coach but will hope he changes for our teams sake. Still don’t believe all this BS about a UGA offer, did not happen.

    • bigbluebanana
      11:23 pm January 10, 2019 Permalink

      Mash, as often as we disagree, I’ve been saying the first half of your argument all day. No one listed as the source other than KSR.

    • KYCat4EVER
      11:34 am January 11, 2019 Permalink

      Never found a true source, but my personal hypothesis is…

      Coach Calipari must have asked “let’s PRETEND Eddie Gran was offered the Offensive Coordinator job at Georgia…” ?

    • Jack Pilgrim
      11:34 pm January 10, 2019 Permalink

      Rivals reported that Stoops was a candidate for the Miami job, not KSR.

    • ibescootch
      1:55 am January 11, 2019 Permalink

      The whole point of breaking a story is that you’re the first person to say it. If Matt’s source told him prior to anyone else and no one else broke the story, why is it relevant? Who knows what happened? Maybe they offered him the position and he turned it down immediately, so they didn’t want it to be a big thing. I just don’t see why you and banana are harping on this point. Who cares?!

    • Miller45
      2:00 am January 11, 2019 Permalink

      Seriously where did this story originate? We will know more in the morning

    • catsby90.1
      9:07 am January 11, 2019 Permalink

      Agree with all of it ^ Mash

    • mashburnfan1
      11:07 pm January 10, 2019 Permalink
      Talked about Gran being a position coach. No way UGA would give their offense to a guy that has his offense in the 100’s. Coley will be the leader and probably the winner.

    • Ridge Runner
      11:11 pm January 10, 2019 Permalink

      Ok, this is what blueballs mentioned earlier. Ok… now the sanity of it is coming back. Thx mash.

    • dcforuk
      11:20 pm January 10, 2019 Permalink

      You would have to blame the head coach for dictating the style and playcalling. I ain’t gunna do that to a head coach that won 10 games for the first time since 1977. You take the good you take the bad you take them both and there you have the facts of football. Style points are not nearly as important as wins!

    • 206Bones
      9:44 am January 11, 2019 Permalink

      Jack, I’m not certain you know jack.

  2. CopenhagenCat
    9:49 pm January 10, 2019 Permalink

    Im hoping they will work with Wilson more. To me the kid never had a chance under the play calling. They have to open up the play calling to make Wilson a better QB. Snell and the defense wont be here to help Grans conservative play calling this time.

    • Miller45
      2:05 am January 11, 2019 Permalink

      I’m with you, and if terry does break through there is a large population that has said some nasty nasty sh*t about him this year and they need to shove it

    • kjd
      6:13 am January 11, 2019 Permalink

      Stoops is behind the play calling.

    • BlakeBlueNation
      12:07 pm January 11, 2019 Permalink

      On defense he is. Gran leads playcalling on offense

    • dcforuk
      5:36 pm January 11, 2019 Permalink

      Stoops is the head coach and “leads” and sets the tone for both defense and offense. Remember the drive in the Vandy game. You think Gran would ignore Stoops saying “run it down their throats?” No way. The HC sets the tone!

  3. Trueblue44
    9:53 pm January 10, 2019 Permalink

    Ok, I have been incredibly critical of Gran. Man enough to admit I’ve blasted the guy repeatedly. But, this whole scenario playing out how it did tells me something. Maybe there’s far more to this than I gave him credit for and we’ll see on that one. But I’m giving him credit for turning that down for the continuity of the program. Maybe let’s all go into next season with an open mind and see how it plays out. Here’s hoping we explode and keep this ride rolling

  4. onlyone
    9:53 pm January 10, 2019 Permalink

    This is a major letdown for the program. Continued mediocre offense and playing not to lose. Cats will not go to a bowl next year and you can write that down. Offense will be lucky to score in double figures most games.

  5. cats646
    10:03 pm January 10, 2019 Permalink

    I’m just gonna hang a big “maybe” on the title of this article.

  6. Ridge Runner
    10:12 pm January 10, 2019 Permalink

    If he would just improve on in-game adjustments. Don’t rely on a game plan that isn’t working.

    • FlySoup
      10:52 pm January 10, 2019 Permalink

      Seemed like he did a good job changing something against penn state at halftime

    • Ridge Runner
      10:54 pm January 10, 2019 Permalink

      One quarter doesn’t make a half..

    • Jiminy Crickets
      9:17 am January 11, 2019 Permalink

      So you guys are just realizing this site fabricates stories for clicks?? Every B.B. recruiting update has a guy in it “Cal is all in on”, and when he cuts us from his list, this site jumps on the sky is falling with 10 articles about why that guy didn’t come, only to switch gears the next day telling people about other recruits. Then there’s the “major transfers coming to UK football. If you follow Uk recruiting, you’ll know”.

    • Jiminy Crickets
      9:17 am January 11, 2019 Permalink

      Sorry didn’t know I was replying to a thread. My bad

  7. Bigblue7982
    10:16 pm January 10, 2019 Permalink

    Grand offense is very predictable.

  8. blueballs80
    10:21 pm January 10, 2019 Permalink

    Per dawgnation, it appears he was offered position duties but not the actual OC Position. Thats why he is all in.

    • Ridge Runner
      10:45 pm January 10, 2019 Permalink

      If this is true, I would have less likely lost my dinner tonight when I read of the offer from UGA

  9. ThankfulCat
    10:45 pm January 10, 2019 Permalink

    He was never offered the UGA OC job

    Rusty Mansell
    24/7 sports

  10. rainman
    10:46 pm January 10, 2019 Permalink

    I would agree with most of what was said in this article, but if you play a boring style, (conservative) who wants to watch? the most fun we as fans ever had was when Mumme Ball was here, and we didn’t even have to win! Call it reckless if you may, if no one wants to see it, what have you achieved?

    • dcforuk
      11:25 pm January 10, 2019 Permalink

      I took my MS son and two of his friends to the Mississippi State game. Those boys had a blast at that game! Great defense and smash mouth running was not boring to them. I was only bored 3x this year. I was very happy 10x. Scratch that. I wasn’t bored in the A&M game.

  11. BluKudzu
    10:48 pm January 10, 2019 Permalink

    10-3, Beat Penn State, beat Florida in Gainesville.
    Yeah, he is absolutely incompetent as an OC.
    About as incompetent as all the Twitter muscle experts that comment on here.
    Stop with the complaining. You can’t possibly look any more stupid than you already do.

    • Ridge Runner
      11:04 pm January 10, 2019 Permalink

      I see maybe one comment in this thread as perceived as a complaint. Mostly shocked UGA offered and then floored he turned them down. In fact, many are saying the report isn’t accurate. But back to your post… yes, he’s not incompetent. It’s just head scratching moments of play calling observed by many. A great defense and a stud on offense can glare over this with a great season.

  12. UKCatAttack
    10:58 pm January 10, 2019 Permalink

    I think the KSR reporting on this may be off a little. Matt Jones is the only person reporting he was offered the OC position at UGA. All other news reports are citing MJ/KSR or are saying something different altogether. I’m very skeptical that he would turn down $1.1 Million at UGA to be OC at UK making less.

  13. sportsbird66
    11:05 pm January 10, 2019 Permalink

    Umm,10-3 people

    • mashburnfan1
      11:17 pm January 10, 2019 Permalink

      Not because of Gran in spite of Gran. Had a great D that played well alot and had Benny who Gran often misused by not faking to more. Just look at the facts…ranked in the 100’s in offense the last 2 years. That is with the best RB in UK history and a defense that often set us up in good position. You would see lots of teams, even bad teams, put up tons of points vs Vandy, UT, A&M, Mizzou and more yet we could barely score. Had to have defense or special teams score to beat Mizzou and play with A&M. Also look at our yards per pass average, we have to lead the Country in 2 yard passes and behind the scrimmage line passes. And we seldom run routes to the chains on 3rd down, very seldom.

    • StillBP
      7:28 am January 11, 2019 Permalink

      Only fact I need to know is that we were 10-3 WITH Gran. Glad he’s on our side.

  14. RickH
    11:20 pm January 10, 2019 Permalink

    With Terry Wilson, and Stephen Johnson for that matter, at QB , Gran is walking into a fight with one hand tied behind his back. Stoops is his biggest obstacle. He grounded Gran and Neal Brown both.

    • dcforuk
      11:30 pm January 10, 2019 Permalink

      Yes maybe but 10 wins! I am not going to criticize the head coach for hiring the right people that can recruit better players that can help them get to 10 wins even if you think it should have been more. It is absolutely more about progress than it is perfection and there was unbelievable progress made this year!

    • satcheluk
      12:33 pm January 12, 2019 Permalink

      This is a key comment. Coaches don’t just coach. 50% of their job is recruiting and he is 1a on our staff. Stoops likely handcuffed him the past few years and if the HC goes 10-3 and wants the OC back than I support that decision 100% and anyone who feels their opinion is more informed than his boss is an effing moron.

  15. KingKentucky
    12:32 am January 11, 2019 Permalink

    Y’all say Coach Gran wasn’t offered? According to Georgia and Kirby Smart they came out and said he wasn’t offered the OC job!

    However Coach Eddie Gran is in the top 5 of OC in the Country! Now what is going on is the jawja peaches are butt hurt cause Coach Gran told them to go kick rocks!

    But like Nick Saban said:You lose all credibility when you offer another SEC an OC position and when he or she turns it down you wanna try and save face and down play it.

    • mcp157
      6:44 am January 11, 2019 Permalink

      He or she turns it down. It’s going to take another couple of generations of demasculinization of the youth before a “she” is OC in the SEC!

  16. UK Maine-iac
    1:07 am January 11, 2019 Permalink

    I’ve been critical of Gran all season but as long as he stays here I hope he succeeds. I mean I hope he succeeds anywhere but I don’t see how you could turn down Georgia, a football school.

  17. CatfaninCinci
    8:23 am January 11, 2019 Permalink

    I’m starting to think this Gran to UGA thing was a crock of crap to drum up hits. UGA websites are all saying he was never considered (why would he be, his offense was excruciating this season) and KSR have every reason to lie about it. 1) hits (like Fox News and MSNBC, the more sensational the more hits 2) It gets the heat off Gran. Everyone is aware Matt is a UK lapdog, he’d easily pass off propaganda to get the heat off coach Gran. To get the heat off of him. Make us think is coveted by other big time schools, so we better keep him… 3) The exact same reason you say UGA is denying it is the exact same reason you are pushing it. We’d all like to see UK on equal footing with UGA, this makes it look like we are. Like UKs position is more coveted. It’s not. The idea it might be is preposterous.

    Believe it if you want. They MAY have mentioned him as a dark horse but I don’t think for a second he was offered.

    • Jiminy Crickets
      9:19 am January 11, 2019 Permalink

      Welcome to KSR

    • CatfaninCinci
      11:17 am January 11, 2019 Permalink

      Long time reader. But always take with a grain of salt what I read on here. I don’t usually post

  18. Logic_Prevails
    8:32 am January 11, 2019 Permalink

    Terry Wilson was a first year starter in the SEC. There are not many who set the world on Fire their first year out. He did well enough for us to win and next year he will do better. I am just not sure who the naysayers think will do a better job than he has done in the past three years with what he had on the roster. We have good players but we do not have UGA talent. Or Alabama talent. With an overall roster that is objectively less talented we hung with the best and that is the mark of good coaching.

  19. CayutsBy90
    8:38 am January 11, 2019 Permalink

    “AJ Rose has proven he can make plays in the run game and as a pass-catcher out of the backfield”

    This is Eddie Gran we’re talking about. I think you mean to type “pass catcher *in* the backfield”

  20. Bunglert
    9:00 am January 11, 2019 Permalink

    Major win?! Stay off the weeeeed

  21. KYjellyRoll
    9:56 am January 11, 2019 Permalink

    I still believe stoops mentality “just win the game play calling” let penn state back in the game instead of putting the foot on the gas…I believe stoops held gran back a bit. I don’t blame gran because he’s told to “just hold the ball and win”. You have to get first downs to win games and the run will not always get you first downs lol

  22. Alleykat16
    10:35 am January 11, 2019 Permalink

    You guys kill me bashing Eddie Gran all the time. Y’all act like he has had top notch qb’s here at UK. Johnson had heart like no other I loved the guy he had no fear he also couldn’t get the ball to his together end over throwing him or under throwing the ball time after time, he just couldn’t make that throw. Then this year our qb started off slow and turned the ball over with fumbles or interceptions or just having the big eyes and running. Now I’m going to say this next year our qb play and Grans play calling should be different and if it’s not then I’m joining the Gran bashing bandwagon. But until then I’m giving him the benefit of doubt.

  23. bwise
    1:04 pm January 11, 2019 Permalink

    We will see grans true playing calling this year? Lmao year four baby! That’s when the other 3 plays will be released.

  24. tgoff
    2:03 pm January 11, 2019 Permalink

    U of L will gladly take all of you haters because #BBN doesn’t want nor need any of you. If you don’t like what you see BYE!!

  25. CoachCat
    4:32 pm January 11, 2019 Permalink

    Lol. This guy. It’s unthinkable to question a QB that played confused and scared most of the season. Just look at his stats. One of the worst QB season averages in the SEC. Look it up

  26. possumato
    11:04 pm January 11, 2019 Permalink

    LOL at citing an article that contradicts your position.