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Embarrassed Wide Receivers Happy to Provide Balance at Tennessee

The source behind the struggles of Kentucky’s slow moving offense were firmly placed on the passing game. Whether you believed it was Terry Wilson’s fault or the wide receivers, something had to change after the offense accumulated only 157 yards in the victory over Mississippi State.

“It was a long week for us. (Wide receivers) Coach Bo (Bouknight) really got after them. He was embarrassed after the Mississippi State game, as we all were,” offensive coordinator Eddie Gran said Tuesday.

If you take away Josh Ali’s two receptions on pop-passes, a glorified jet sweep run, the UK wideouts had just two receptions for five yards against the Bulldogs. Not only were they dropping passes, they weren’t blocking either.

“If you look at our perimeter blocking in this Tennessee game compared to the Mississippi State game, it was night and day. There was an urgency, there was a fight and there was technique,” said Gran. “That’s what we have to have every week.”

The sense of urgency was especially evident in the second half. After one deep Ali pass was overturned, he took a slant 16 yards down the field. Two plays later Allen Dailey had a 14-yard reception. The offense rolled down the field until Dailey reeled in his first touchdown of the season, a fade caught in the corner of the end zone.

“I can’t tell you how jacked up I was for him. Not only that, but for everybody on the sidelines. They’ve put in a lot of time and it was nice to see them be rewarded. He ran a great route. It was a great throw, great catch. Those are the contested catches that we’re going to have to make from here on and so to have somebody else out there that Terry feels comfortable with and you got Bryce (Oliver) back now, and I think all of those guys feel, not only a sense of urgency as we went into this, but we’re getting the ball out a little more.” Gran added, “I think we got a chance, I really do.”

Searching for a second option at wide receiver, Dailey appears to have filled that void while Oliver slowly returns from a hamstring injury. Dailey caught all three passes thrown his way for 25 yards and a score. The wide receivers accounted for 70 of the receiving output against Tennessee.

The Wildcats will not be a pass-first team in 2020. They do need the wide receivers to catch balls down the field to provide some offensive balance. Once that started to happen in the second half against Tennessee, the running lanes through the middle of the Tennessee defense grew exponentially. Gran described it as a “night and day difference” for his offense.

“The grind, grind, grind, then you try to get third down, grind, grind, grind. It’s good sometimes when it’s working. It’s not going to work all of the time, not in this league. When you get those first down chunks and you can get to second and two, you can throw it again. We got some good first down drive starters, made good decisions. It was good throw and catches and it just opens everything up and so it’s huge. It’s huge in what we do.”

The offense’s second half performance against Tennessee revealed how Kentucky can effectively move the ball against SEC opponents. The key is making sure that steady balance isn’t just available for one half.

“I think it’s consistency from the top to the bottom at every position. We need to stay consistent,” said Gran. “We’ve gotta put 60 minutes together. This first half, second half stuff, that’s gotta end now. That’ll be the big urgency for us is be more consistent, whether it’s throwing, catching, blocking, our technique and fundamentals, that’s what football is.”

Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

16 Comments for Embarrassed Wide Receivers Happy to Provide Balance at Tennessee

  1. E11Q
    12:08 pm October 21, 2020 Permalink

    This is 100% all Wilson. Can’t expect talented WRs are going to want to play with your program when you’ve got a QB that would struggle to start for a decent mid-major program. Yes, there were a lot of drops, but 1) they clearly don’t get a lot of practice catching balls thrown beyond 5 yards and 2) we can’t recruit talented WRs because we don’t have a league average QB who can actually throw the ball beyond 5 yards with even a modicum of consistency. 3) Due to the limitations at QB, we have to rely on running the ball in the amounts that even 1970s coaches look at and think “Yea, y’all know you don’t have to run on EVERY play, right?”, so you’re never going to be able to recruit talented WRs because they’re not trying to come to a place that is going to have them utilized as blockers with more frequency than they are used to actually run a route.

    • Bluehender
      1:54 pm October 21, 2020 Permalink

      Your, you’re, yur, however you want to spell it, an idiot

    • cats646
      2:04 pm October 21, 2020 Permalink

      E11Q, I honestly think our play calling has made Wilson look a lot worse than he really is. He makes bad decisions here and there, but show me a QB that doesn’t. A balance of terrible playcalling, a few poor decisions, and dropped passes have made Wilson look average when I think he’s better than average. Not saying he’s great, but he’s a good talent to have at QB.

    • E11Q
      8:26 am October 22, 2020 Permalink

      646, it’s not the play calling that’s limiting Terry, it’s Terry that’s limiting the play calling. We can call anything downfield because A) Terry’s not very accurate nor strong armed B) He’s scared to death in the pocket and won’t stand in there to let the play develop C) When he does decide to leave the pocket, he often doesn’t have the burst required to beat the DE to the LOS.

      How many times have we seen him slide behind the LOS when scrambling so he doesn’t have to take a hit instead of just throwing the ball away? How many times has he slid a yard or two short of the first down line when scrambling? The dude clearly doesn’t trust his eyes which is why he has to wait to reconfirm everything he’s seeing before he makes a throw and by that time, the defense has already closed the window or the pocket has collapsed around him resulting in a sack.

      Y’all can Stan for Wilson all you want, but you know as well as I do that there aren’t more than maybe 1 or 2 other SEC teams that would even entertain the idea of swapping starting QBs with UK.

    • E11Q
      8:29 am October 22, 2020 Permalink

      Blue, explain to me how I’m wrong in my assessment of Wilson’s ability? And don’t throw wins/losses at me because that has very little to do with his individual play and nearly everything to do with the team’s play.

      Let’s be real, do we think Wilson is better than Stephen Johnson was? Hell no. Do we think he was better than Andre Woodson was? Hell no. But he had a better record than both of those guys as a starter because his overall team, specifically his defense, was better (and the SEC was worse).

  2. clarks
    12:55 pm October 21, 2020 Permalink

    Doesnt loserville have a website for you to look at

    • Cats N Pats
      1:28 pm October 21, 2020 Permalink

      He just doesn’t want to admit Terry and Louisville’s QB had very similar numbers last week. Just saying!

  3. JTT15
    1:42 pm October 21, 2020 Permalink

    E11Q lol everyone that knows anything about football is laughing at you right now! Are you kidding?

    • UKgrad80
      4:23 pm October 21, 2020 Permalink

      Wilson is 12-5 as a starter with wins at Florida and at Tennessee not many qb’s can say that! So eat it E11

    • chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
      11:20 pm October 21, 2020 Permalink

      Terry did play a lot better this past Saturday, but I’ve never liked the whole “He’s the only QB who has…”, for any QB. It’s a team sport. Josh and Benny were the main reasons for 2018 if you want to talk about individual players (Terry was huge in the Florida game for sure though). Yes, the QB is the most important position, but this isn’t baseball where a guy is on a mound by himself.

  4. BigBlueFoo42777
    2:06 pm October 21, 2020 Permalink

    The anti 4th and terry wagon is going to be full in 4 games. 10 game sec schedule equals 3 maybe 4 wins no matter who the qb is now.

  5. UKinIN
    4:03 pm October 21, 2020 Permalink

    Can we limit the play calling criticism to just people that had been offensive or defensive coordinators? I get frustrated too but UK has had a winning record every season that Gran has called plays for Stoops. So quit whining and enjoy the ride.

    • cats646
      4:51 pm October 21, 2020 Permalink

      You do realize that most of the big games we’ve won have been in spite of grans offense, not because of it right?

    • Blue Bill
      8:30 pm October 21, 2020 Permalink

      When have we ever won more games than the last three years? Just friggin enjoy it.

    • UKinIN
      10:25 pm October 21, 2020 Permalink

      Pay attention to what UK does on offense with two minutes in the half/game. The offense consistently gets in position to score. No coordinator is perfect but overall Gran has done more than enough to earn our respect.

  6. Blue Bill
    8:31 pm October 21, 2020 Permalink

    Meant for cards646