Following the victory over Eastern Kentucky, offensive coordinator Eddie Gran spoke with the press regarding his offense and their performance today. He touched on a variety of subjects, namely…
1.) Blake Bone’s game
The senior wide receiver had a career-high 93 yards receiving on three catches. These impressive 93 yards surpassed his yardage for the entire 2016-17 season, where he finished with 82 total yards. His longest catch, a 43-yarder, was much needed for the Cats, and his contributions didn’t go unnoticed.
“It’s huge. We’ve talked about that from the beginning of camp,” Gran said. “Everybody’s gotta step up. It’s everybody. And on offense, you’ve got to have 11 guys doing the same thing and doing it right. That’s where our discipline’s got to be better… when we’re doing it right, we’re really good.”
In his own press conference, head coach Mark Stoops agreed.
“We need guys to step up,” Stoops said. “We challenged them to do that. It was good to see Blake make those.”
2.) Bad Snaps
Although it seemed to be less of an issue against EKU than last week versus Southern Miss, there were still a few snaps that hurt the Cats. Most notably, there was a high snap from senior Nick Haynes on fourth-and-one that was costly for Kentucky and their first down chances.
“Gotta get it fixed. No I was not worried about it [coming into the season],” Gran said. “I think it’s when [Haynes] is stepping a certain way. He spent a lot of time after practice this week and he’ll continue to. It bothers him and he knows how important that is.”
The head coach agreed.
“Yeah, it’s just something, you know, you don’t see it as much in practice, so you don’t think it’s an issue,” Stoops said. “Then you get out there, all the situations are different. I believe that bad snap was fourth-and-one? So you get a little anxious maybe…yeah, it’s hurt us. So we’ve got to do our part and get that cleaned up.”
3.) The Wildcat
Ah, everyone’s favorite play. Well, according to Gran, we may not be seeing it around much more this season.
“We might not be a Wildcat team,” Gran said. “I might not run Wildcat ever again. Some years it’s good for you, some years it isn’t.”
Hey, I’m no offensive coordinator, but that sounds like a pretty good plan to me.
4.) The turnover ratio
Once again, the Wildcats held onto the football. Kentucky ended the game with zero turnovers, just as they did against Southern Miss last week. This is huge for the Cats, especially coming out of last season where fumbles and interceptions were a serious issue. The Colonels, on the other hand, turned the ball over twice in today’s game.
“We didn’t turn the football over. We’re ahead in the turnover ratio and that’s huge,” Gran said. “If we had turned the football over today, it would have been bad news.”
Cornerback Derrick Baity also understands the importance of maintaining this better turnover ratio.
“There’s been a big emphasis put on it this year, especially since we didn’t do it a lot last year, and it’s showing,” Baity said. “It’s helping us win games. If you have plus in turnover margin, you’re favored to win a game. We had plus-4 and we won the game.”
After being down for the majority of the game, the offense had to find a way to score in the final two quarters. With strong second half offensive efforts from Stephen Johnson, Benny Snell, Sihiem King and Blake Bone, they were able to do just that.
“I’m proud of the way they battled back,” Gran said. “We knew it was going to be a grind. They did a great job, and we’re 2-0.”