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Get to Know Eddie Gran

It’s been ten days since Eddie Gran became Mark Stoops’ #1 target to replace Shannon Dawson as offensive coordinator.  Here’s what I wrote about Gran on the 18th of December, along with a few updates.

He was a top candidate for the job last year

When looking for Neal Brown’s replacement, it was a three-horse race for the job.  Most people knew that it could be Dawson or Lincoln Riley — ECU’s offensive coordinator that would become National Assistant of the Year for Mark’s brother Bob — but few people knew that Eddie Gran was the third finalist.  Even though Mark may have not made the right call in 2014, he has the rare opportunity to redo that decision in 2015.

He’s worked with Mark Stoops Before 

Gran was on the staff at Florida State for three seasons when Mark Stoops was the defensive coordinator.  Before leaving for Cincinnati the same year Stoops departed, he was the associate head coach for the Seminoles, managing the special teams and running backs.  He also spent time at Miami, but his tenure in the early 90’s didn’t coincide with Stoops’.

He’s a Special Teams and Running Backs Specialist

When he manned the units for FSU, the team averaged 203 yards rushing per game.  Some of his former pupils, Karlos Williams and Devonta Freeman, are NFL standouts.  Even though it’s unlikely that if hired he’ll handle both offensive and Special Teams duties, he had a Lou Groza finalist in consecutive years, and his return units were the best in the ACC.

His experience with Stoops and his proven ability to the run ball would make Gran a homerun hire.

Cincinnati is Third Fifth in the Nation in Passing this Year

Even though he had success with running backs at Florida State, he’s dominated in the passing game at Cincinnati.  In the prolific passing American Conference, his offense had the most passing yards per game, fifth in the nation with 361 yards per game, dropping from 376 yards per game after his second-string QB struggled in the Hawaii Bowl.  His offense still ran for 168 yards per game, ranking the Bearcats 7th in the nation in total offense.  UC averaged 32.3 points per game, 9 more points a game than Kentucky in 2015.

Gran Plays Balanced 

Even though UC threw for a lot more yards, 46% of the plays he called were runs.  It was always a mystery whether UK was trying to run to setup the pass, or pass to setup the run.  For Gran, running to setup the pass has worked out very well.

Gran Enjoys Jeff Ruby’s 

We’re big fans of Mr. Ruby at KSR, and if you’ve ever had their truffle creamed corn you can understand why.

This wouldn’t be his first rodeo in the SEC

He’s spent 15 years in the SEC as a special teams coordinator and running backs coach, 10 years at Auburn followed by a stint at Tennessee.  Not many know what it takes to win in the SEC, but Gran does.

Gran knows how to get the ball to tight ends

Arguably UK’s best pass-catcher this year was C.J. Conrad, but he was rarely used, catching only 15 passes this year.  In Gran’s first year at Cincinnati he turned Travis Kelce into an NFL tight end.  Before Gran, Kelce had 14 total receptions.  Under Gran, he caught 45 passes for 8 touchdowns in one season to become a third round draft pick.

His Offense Only Scored 7 Points in the Hawaii Bowl

It made much of the BBN laugh, but that’s for the people who didn’t know that his starting quarterback wasn’t playing.  Instead, he had a backup throw three interceptions.  Besides, I remember Bobby Petrino’s Auburn offense only scoring 6 points in a bowl game before coming to Louisville and tearing it up.

I’ll have more on the highlights of Gran’s 27-year coaching career later.


Article written by Nick Roush

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

52 Comments for Get to Know Eddie Gran

  1. smackdab
    12:04 pm December 18, 2015 Permalink

    I can tolerate poor grammar from the players, but not our coaches!

    • catsby91
      12:14 pm December 18, 2015 Permalink

      Can’t tolerate poor grammar from the College Graduates that blog for KSR:

      “We could here an announcement as soon as next week” (Come on Roush)

    • dean winchester
      12:47 pm December 18, 2015 Permalink

      Yes…..because twiiter is the home of good grammer. I dont care if he can spell his own name as long as he runs an effective offense

    • WildcatTim
      10:12 am December 29, 2015 Permalink

      Oh come on Dean, all you had to do was look at the two posts you were responding to, it’s spelled with two A’s.

      The Mark of Cain must have jacked up your ability to spell.

  2. Rsn2GoBlu
    12:25 pm December 18, 2015 Permalink

    Well there you goes. And Jeff Ruby,s does rock!!

  3. Really
    12:32 pm December 18, 2015 Permalink

    What a said life one must have, to sit around waiting to jump and criticize the grammar of a blog. It’s becoming so much easier to “tolerate” errors on a blog then all of the complaining about the errors…This comment might not be grammatically correct as well, and I really don’t care. Being so “offended” BY EVERYTHING is becoming offensive.

    • KatsKlaws
      12:40 pm December 18, 2015 Permalink

      I agree….apparently these whiner’s are are old people who have no life and have never tweeted from a phone before….(and yeah I know I used that apostrophe incorrectly. I just thought I would give you something else to complain about)

    • catsby91
      12:42 pm December 18, 2015 Permalink

      If you write for a living, you should take pride in the writing that you put your name on and make sure it is grammatically correct.

      That’s all I was saying.

    • Booby Petrino
      1:26 pm December 18, 2015 Permalink

      lol Clearly you are against people correcting grammar because you can’t put a decent sentence together. “Said life” LOL! There are others, but since you don’t care, I won’t point them out. I’ll just laugh here at my desk.

    • chimichanga
      1:45 pm December 18, 2015 Permalink

      Considering he wrote a few words and you wrote a damn paragraph, it’s pretty clear who’s getting offended here.

  4. KatsKlaws
    12:41 pm December 18, 2015 Permalink

    On paper Gran sounds pretty good though, eh?

    • UKnowMe
      1:07 pm December 18, 2015 Permalink

      Last year I thought Dawson did too, so who knows.

  5. bigpops
    12:47 pm December 18, 2015 Permalink

    Kool-Aid for you, Kool-Aid for me, Kool-Aid for everybody!!! KSR doing what KSR does best…blowing smoke up our ass telling us how great this hire is, how great that recruit is, but when does it ever stop? Stoops is not head coaching material in the SEC. How about doing a story on that? I will volunteer to write it. Wait…it would contain facts and you all refuse to deal in those. I bet Shannon Dawson woke up a much happier man today, knowing he will still get paid and won’t have to be onboard when the ship sinks for good. Stoops is awful. He was awful two years ago, awful last year, awful this year, will be awful next year, and awful at any point moving forward. Keep on with the wishful thinking and buy some new UK football gear with your Christmas money, but mark it down that a turnaround will NEVER happen with ol’ ginger leading the troops. Hell this Gran fella doesn’t even know the difference between THERE and THEIR so he will fit right in and look right at home with a deer in the headlights glow to him. Sign him up and pay him big. In Stoops we trust….lol!

    • dean winchester
      1:02 pm December 18, 2015 Permalink

      Because a good coach, with a proven track record, isnt a good hire? And by all means KSR just stop writing anything about UK football remotely in ANY TANGIBLE WAY hinting at positive, and if you cant contain the urge to write about it, please make it a negative post so the energy spent writing rants about how Stoops cant coach and our recruits arent going to work out and blah blah blah can instead be spent on something more productive….like…….idk……embroidery. Bigpops have you tried embroidery? Some say its almost like Yoga for the mind… could knock out a “Stoops Sucks” blanket or something and send it to yourself for Christmas? Its not regifting if its for yourself ya know????

    • CatK
      1:05 pm December 18, 2015 Permalink

      I sometimes think, those who think they know something and rant about it are the ones who don’t really know anything.

    • CatK
      1:10 pm December 18, 2015 Permalink

      I sometimes think, those who think they know something and rant about it are the ones who don’t really know anything.

      Am I upset with some of the things that happened this year on the field? Sure. I am not ready to give up on stoops yet.

      For those of you who think KSR is all positive, you must not listen to or read what Matt, Ryan, Shannon, Jarrod, Freddy, Nick have said since 4-2….

    • bilbo
      1:22 pm December 18, 2015 Permalink

      Lol get a grip.

      Maybe you should be our coach

    • Howdy Doody
      3:35 pm December 18, 2015 Permalink

      Same Crap, Different Loser. It is Groundhogdayeverydayat KSR.

    • UK Big Board Update
      3:37 pm December 18, 2015 Permalink

      ^ Well, who do you suggest, dickhole?

    • catsarerunnin
      7:09 pm December 18, 2015 Permalink

      Lol dickhole??? Really? What a boob.

  6. pithuahua
    12:53 pm December 18, 2015 Permalink

    Would Gran be able to develop the QB”s? Where would this leave Chad Scott? Will they bring in a QB coach. Many questions are still floating around and need addressing.

  7. CatK
    1:06 pm December 18, 2015 Permalink

    On a side note.. How to I get it so my comments don’t always go to moderation never to be seen again?

    • CatK
      1:07 pm December 18, 2015 Permalink


  8. spaghetti
    1:08 pm December 18, 2015 Permalink

    UK fan here. The KSR comment section has become synonymous with criticism. I think 90% of the comments I read are critical, 8% are off-topic, and 2% are reasonable. I don’t want my input on this thread topic to be perceived as critical. I just have a simple question in search of actual, reasonable, informative answers. There are no hidden meanings or interpretations in/of my question. It’s inevitable that someone will respond with words that are not reasonable, not informative, and have nothing to do with the question. If you feel the need to respond in such a way, please don’t. And if for some inexplicable reason you DO respond in such a way, please realize that all reasonable human beings think your a waste of space. So here goes… Does UK football want an OC that runs a rushing-driven offense? The joke this week has been that Hal Mumme could possibly bring back the true air-raid and, according to KSR, make UK football fun to watch, again. Several conversations on the radio show the last couple weeks have been about how we can’t recruit the power running backs and, to some extent, the O-line it takes to have a running back driven offense. We have what the experts [in 2012-13] believe to be a skilled QB and we have big receivers. Don’t we need a passing offense? I don’t know… maybe a running back offense is what Stoops wants after 2 years of failed air-raid. I realize the KSR commenters are the experts so hopefully you can help me figure this out.

    • CatK
      1:15 pm December 18, 2015 Permalink

      I want Offensive Consitancy. I don’t care if it is Power Run first Pass second, Play Action, Option Read, or Spread. If our offense looks like Bama’s and we start winning 7-8 games a year (with a magical 9-10 win season everyonce and awhile), constantly I am good with that.

      The AIR Raid was a fad, and should be put to sleep as the Gold Standard for UK football.

      Consistent football that is competitive and has a chance to win any game they step on the field against.

    • Catsby80
      1:21 pm December 18, 2015 Permalink

      Honestly, we just need a balanced approach. We don’t have the horses up front to run a run-heavy offense, and our receivers don’t catch the ball consistently enough to run an air raid. Just a nice 50/50 attack is what UK should focus on. As CatK said, consistency should be the focus.

    • dean winchester
      1:25 pm December 18, 2015 Permalink

      Its a very valid question. I think…just my opinion….from what Stoops has said in the past he wants balance with running and passing about equal in terms of play calling. He also wants a play action approach. For these to work, your o-line has to be decent at least. Maybe we will be next year with leavitt, some of the redshirts being ready, Big George, and Landon Young (maybe jackson but he would probably need a redshirt yr to get stronger). But your concerns are valid. I honestly feel the o-line next yr will either elevate Stoops above the current state of the program, or be his downfall.

    • spaghetti
      1:30 pm December 18, 2015 Permalink

      Yep, I agree. It seems like we have quality players at the RB and TE, and, according to the rankings (I know, right?), decent players at the QB and WR. Hopefully a healthy and upgraded O-line will make our offense better. But I agree with what the KSR radio guys say in that we’ll probably be better next year but end up with the same or a worse record. It’s been we-documented that our schedule this past season would have been a great opportunity to make some progress in the wins column. But obviously a team’s record isn’t everything when measuring improvement. I’d like to see improved play and a better attitude, both of which did no exist at some point during or right after the EKU game. Remember the fight they showed in the USC and Missouri games? I know USC abused us in the 2nd half but there came a point where we absolutely had to make a stop and we did.

    • Catsby80
      1:59 pm December 18, 2015 Permalink

      Ya know, I really don’t think the schedule sets up too much harder next year. I mean, yes, we had 8 home games this year and the wins were there for the taking; but, if you take a look at the schedule for next year, you get 7 home games (6 of which are winnable) and then a couple toss-up games on the road… I’m not saying we’ll win 8 games, but I mean the wins will be there for the taking again next year. Just gotta find a way to get over the hump.

    • chief_cat
      2:30 pm December 18, 2015 Permalink

      A fair question. As I see it, in order to compete at a fairly successful level in the SEC, the offense must have a power run game which sets up the pass. This dictates clock management and keeps the defense off the field for longer periods of time, while having the potential for big plays if/when needed. For the most part, top tier SEC teams have been run dominated.
      I always felt that our successful Air Raid offense during the Couch and Lorenzen years was driven in part by incredibly gifted QBs and partly on the inability to compete in the SEC in a meaningful way as a power run oriented team. I still feel that way and believe we would use the Air Raid primarily because we don’t feel we have the O line and/or backs to push the ball down the throats of SEC defenses.
      Right now I feel we have the backs for a power run offense but I don’t think our O line is able to do so. Air Raid may be our best hope of winning more than five games next year, but I hope I am wrong.

    • J-Dub421
      3:30 pm December 18, 2015 Permalink

      Our offensive line needs a definite upgrade, and fortunately that seems to have been made a recruiting priority this season. Most successful SEC teams win the battle in the trenches more often than not.

  9. Good Times
    1:13 pm December 18, 2015 Permalink

    He looks so happy in his photo. Shouldn’t we just let him be vs bringing him in here, building him up, then turning on him during the season, cursing him, going on a witch hunt and discarding his rotted carcus aside at season’s end because we were sub 500 again?

    • Good Times
      1:15 pm December 18, 2015 Permalink

      Carcass… whatevs

    • Good Times
      1:16 pm December 18, 2015 Permalink

      Carcass, whatevs

  10. kycats13
    1:18 pm December 18, 2015 Permalink

    His team is better than our team, so it must be an upgrade.

  11. spaghetti
    1:18 pm December 18, 2015 Permalink

    Does an OC with a lean towards running back end up using their tight-end in the receiving game more often than, say, an air-raid type offense? Everyone not named Shannon Dawson knows we have an NFL-caliber TE on our team. Seems like they could play more of a decoy blocker/receiver role in a running offense… meaning he could run loose, block and then quickly release, or stay on his block for the whole play. Whereas, in the Dawson system, he only cut loose a couple times a game… But, then again, on the other hand, apparently our O-line wasn’t good and several of the defensive ends we faced were way better so Mr. Conrad was always helping block. I don’t know…

    • J-Dub421
      3:19 pm December 18, 2015 Permalink

      Conrad was used as a blocker so often because Boom either can’t or won’t block. It’s infuriating. Boom is great when he’s getting the ball, but terrible as a blocker.

  12. spaghetti
    1:24 pm December 18, 2015 Permalink

    It’s an interesting play by Stoops to take a page out of Cal’s book on one-and-dones. I wish it were applied to the players and developing existing talent more so than the coaching staff. I feel for Barker, having his 3rd OC in as many years, but I’m glad bar and bb gun fights aren’t the only non-football categories he’s ahead in. I hope he can mesh with a new coach quickly as I want UK football and Mark Stoops to be a success. And it’d be great if an in-state product helped take them there.

  13. My Auburn grad colleague thinks Gran is a home run for us. He informed me that when he was the RB coach at AU he coached (among others) Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown, so he knows the running game. Of course it still takes talent, and we have that with Boom and co.

    Also, he told me that Gran and his wife sadly lost a 5 or 6 year old daughter once, and they started a foundation to help families with kids with chronic diseases who are at Children’s Hospital in Bham. You can see the website on his UC bio page.

  14. spaghetti
    1:40 pm December 18, 2015 Permalink

    Sometimes it’s fun to reminisce.
    Some stuff from a year and a day ago:

    “Kentucky has its new offensive coordinator! As you know by now, West Virginia’s Shannon Dawson will leave Morgantown for the same position in Lexington. He received and accepted the offer from Mark Stoops on Wednesday and it didn’t take long for word to leak out, because that’s life in 2014.
    Dawson brings old school Air Raid from West Virginia to Kentucky and we’re told it will be even faster than the way Neal Brown intended to play while he was here. Dawson comes from the Hal Mumme coaching tree, so he knows a thing or two about chucking the pigskin. Look for his offense to push the tempo and throw the deep ball. “He will play FAST, FAST, FAST,” we’re told.
    In three seasons as OC at West Virginia, where he or Dana Holgorsen called the plays, depending who you ask, the Mountaineers racked up impressive numbers through the air. This season, Dawson’s offense ranked ninth in passing offense, 11th in total offense and 38th in scoring offense, nationally.
    Prior to West Virginia, Dawson coached the nation’s No. 1 passing offense and No. 4 scoring offense in his third and final year at Stephen F. Austin. When Dawson took over the Lumberjacks in 2008, they were coming off a winless season and 16 points per game. Dawson quickly turned things around, into the top passing offense in the Southland Conference and third-best in the country in his first season.
    Kentucky fans won’t truly know if this is the right call until we see the product Dawson puts on the field next fall, but for now, it’s exciting to know Stoops likes his hire and will stick with the Air Raid offense.”

    BigBlueSean December 17, 2014 at 11:28 pm
    Really wasn’t his offense, he didn’t call plays, WVU HC did…

    inside info2 December 17, 2014 at 11:37 pm
    if he doesn’t call plays at WVU, why is it important for him to coach at the bowl game?

    Kyblue34 December 17, 2014 at 11:43 pm | Permalink
    I’m not sure what to think of Dawson right now, but I can’t imagine Damien Harris is very thrilled.

    Billy Mays Here December 17, 2014 at 11:49 pm
    If Damien Harris looks at the stats, or someone close to him (hopefully his UK recruiters) does, they can tell him that this season Alabama ran the ball an average of 41.0 times per game …Dawson’s WVU ran the ball 44.3 times per game.

    Kyblue34 December 18, 2014 at 12:34 am
    There’s no such thing as Dawson’s WVU — their offense was called by Holgorsen. That’s why Dawson is jumping ship. He is a Mumme student, and wants to pass as much as possible. His teams at SFA and Millsaps were heavy pass offenses. He has very little experience coaching running backs or a running attack in general.

    the ghost of Bill Hicks December 18, 2014 at 9:59 am
    FWIW…..the WV boards aren’t at all bummed out that he’s leaving. A lot of people say he’s an above average QB coach, not much of a recruiter and called ZERO plays last season. Not the reaction I was hoping to see.

    • ClutchCargo
      2:38 pm December 18, 2015 Permalink

      Fun? That post is just depressing in hindsight. A few posters nailed it, though.

  15. chimichanga
    1:46 pm December 18, 2015 Permalink

    If this guy is so good, why did Stoops choose to not hire him last time around?

    • secrick
      2:27 pm December 18, 2015 Permalink

      Good question. You can be good at Cinn. and not so good in the Sec but we have to hire someone. The best OC in the world is not going to help when you continue to be in the bottom of your conference with recruits.

  16. dexter1947
    3:51 pm December 18, 2015 Permalink

    He looks like Lucy’s Gran-pa!!

  17. Gitback Coach
    4:01 pm December 18, 2015 Permalink

    You can always count on the mouth-breathing majority of the BBN fan base to beat the Xmas rush and start hating the new hire even before he’s hired. Morons.

    Gran would be a good (not great) hire. Dawson was a good hire, too. I was actually more disappointed that Stoops didn’t give him more time, but apparently, the spittle-driven masses wouldn’t hear of it. At any rate, Stoops appears more desperate and uncertain today than he did two days ago.

    We’ll see how things shake out but regardless of how it ends up, one thing is certain. UK football fans have seen worse days . . . lots of ’em . . . and lots worse.

    Lighten up, Frances.

    • inside info2
      8:49 pm December 18, 2015 Permalink

      you need to look a few comments up at spaghetti’s cut and paste after Dawson was hired. Several of us knew immediately that it was a bad hire. How could you hire an OC that had no play calling experience to be an OC in the SEC?!? I don’t know how you could think that Dawson was a good hire. I’m sure you thought Joker was a good hire.

      Yes, UK fans have seen worse days. But we would love to see some great days. Wouldn’t that be nice?

    • Gitback Coach
      9:32 pm December 18, 2015 Permalink

      Look, Inside, all I’m saying is coaching isn’t the problem at this juncture. If anyone thinks that some wizard is gonna migrate to Lexington with a magic book and immediately unleash touchdowns with the wave of his wand, they’re even more delusional than the ass-hats I sit beside in CWS every home-game Saturday.

      Talent levels and growing pains are the issue right now. No pain no gain.

      Good luck to Coach Dawson. Hope you BBN “experts” will give the new OC at least 3-5 spring practices before you start calling for his head, too.

  18. BobNWeaver
    5:12 pm December 18, 2015 Permalink

    I very much hope the hire Gran as the new OC. His three years coaching along side Stoops will be a huge help in the “trust” area. As long as Stoops&Company keep recruiting SEC-quality players, good things will happen.

  19. tippytoe
    9:32 pm December 18, 2015 Permalink

    If he likes to throw to tight ends, I am for the hire. Conrad has the potential to be the next Jacob Tamme.
    If coaching changes are over, now let’s focus on the players. If Dorian Baker ever sees the field again, it doesn’t matter who the new OC is, he (and we) are doomed.

    • Gitback Coach
      9:34 pm December 18, 2015 Permalink

      Problem solved. Just throw to Conrad every play. Why didn’t Dawson think of that.

      Simple solutions from simple minds.

  20. DennyC
    6:24 pm December 28, 2015 Permalink

    Football GPA being almost full point lower than every other UK team is yet another red flag for UK FB.

    • UK Big Board Update
      6:57 pm December 28, 2015 Permalink