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Highlights from Eddie Gran’s Career

Gran’s spent most of his career turning out talented running backs at Auburn, pictured here with Ben Tate. (Mark Almond |

Gran's spent most of his career turning out talented running backs at Auburn, pictured here with Ben Tate. (Mark Almond |

Gran’s spent most of his career turning out talented running backs at Auburn, pictured here with Ben Tate. (Mark Almond |

When Eddie Gran’s name entered the top of the list of candidates for offensive coordinator two weeks ago, the first thing people wanted to know, “Who is this guy?”  Once we learned more about him, we discovered we could watch his high-powered offense do work on Christmas Eve in the Hawaii Bowl against San Diego State.  He looked good on paper, then his offense only managed 279 yards and 7 points in a blowout loss.

Gran should not be judged on one game alone.  He was without his starting quarterback, 2,700 yard passer Gunner Kiel, leaving his backup to throw three untimely interceptions.  Gran has seen much better days, including many earlier this season.  Here’s a short-list of his coaching accomplishments.

—  Gran was the running backs coach for the best team of running backs this century.  Ronnie Brown and Carnell “Cadillac” Williams made up the 1-2 punch that led Auburn to an undefeated regular season, an SEC Championship, a Sugar Bowl victory, and a disputed National Championship.  The 2005 NFL Draft was the first time two running backs from the same team had ever been selected in the Top Five.  Gran somehow kept both of the egos appeased while getting the most out of their talents.  The duo combined for 2,220 yards in ’04.  Williams would break Bo Jackson’s career touchdown record, finishing second in career yards, while Brown finished 7th in career rushing yards.

—  Miami won a lot of games during his two seasons.  In 1990 the Canes won the Cotton Bowl and finished 3rd in the AP Poll.  They were Orange Bowl Champs in ’91 and AP National Champions, sharing the title with Coaches’ Poll Champs, Washington.

—  He made Gunner Kiel see (some) of his potential.  I am hard-pressed to find a more enigmatic quarterback than Gunner Kiel.  Kiel was an Indiana Mr. Football out of Columbus East High School in Southern Indiana.  Media attention on Kiel reached Louisville, and there was plenty to keep an eye on.  Touted as the nation’s #1 quarterback, he originally committed to stay home and play for IU.  Then he changed his mind and committed to play for Les Miles at LSU.  He changed his mind one more time before choosing Notre Dame.  See where this is going?

Kiel was 4th on the depth chart at Notre Dame when they ran the table and made it to the BCS National Championship.  Unhappy with playing time, he transferred to Cincinnati.  After sitting out for a year, Gran quickly turned Kiel into a proficient passer, throwing for 6 touchdowns in his first game as a starter.  In 2013, Kiel was an Honorable Mention All-American, throwing for over 6,000 yards in two seasons that were limited by injury.

—  He has been honored for recruiting successes.  His best year came when Florida State signed the #1 recruiting class back in 2011.  As a result, ESPN named his as one of the nation’s Top 25 recruiters.

A short list of running backs that have had success on Sundays.

  • Devonta Freeman – Currently with the Falcons, Freeman was forced to start as a true freshman, finishing with the fifth best freshman year for a running back in FSU history.  He needs only 20 more yards for 1,000 rushing yards in only his second NFL season.
  • Brandon Jacobs – Jacobs spent a year with Gran at Auburn before winning two Super Bowls with the New York Giants.
  • Karlos Williams – Orginally a safety, he got the chance to play running back after excelling on Gran’s kickoff return team.  He finished his career 9th on FSU’s all-time rushing list while getting nearly 6 yards per carry.  He’ll finish his rookie year for the Bills with over 500 rushing yards.
  • Ben Tate – Coached by Gran for a year in ’08 at Auburn, Tate has rushed for over 2,300 yards in the NFL.
  • Montario Hardesty – A 1,000 yard rusher for Gran at Tennessee, Hardesty was a second round NFL Draft selection by the Cleveland Browns in 2010.
  • Deuce McAlister – Gran’s premiere running back during his Ole Miss tenure, McAlister rushed for 6,093 yards and 49 touchdowns over nine seasons for the New Orleans Saints.
  • Rudi Johnson –  An Auburn alum, Johnson was the featured back for the Bengals during their first playoff run in the early 00’s.  Johnson had similar stats to McAlister, getting 49 TDs and nearly 6,000 yards over 8 NFL seasons.

Article written by Nick Roush

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

8 Comments for Highlights from Eddie Gran’s Career

  1. Bluebloodtoo
    7:03 pm December 28, 2015 Permalink

    Rudi! Rudi! Rudi!

    Sorry, couldn’t stop my fingers….

  2. kybeau1
    7:40 pm December 28, 2015 Permalink

    Let me say one thing about this hire: Eddie Gran is a loser! I don’t care if you make a million excuses for him. This is a terrible hire and it will be proven that he is not even superior to Shannon dawson. I don’t know what is the infatuation with this guy. He and his team were split-roasted by a far superior offensive display by San Diego State. Did anyone actually watch that game? I watched it sedulously and meticulously and from where I was sitting and standing San Diego State demonstrated pro-style, under-center offensive sets, continually and exceedingly using their ground game to score, control the line of scrimmage, control the clock and control and obliterate Cincinnati. That is real football, that is the name of the game: an emotional game with the object to physically exhaust your opponent. That is the only way to play, that is the only way to Win.

    Eddie Gran is a poor, poor choice and apparently one aided and abetted by mitch barnhart who knows absolutely nothing about winning or any other kind of football. So go ahead and pad your pocket-book Stoops and coaching bosom buddies and look for the ship to capsize next year without a life-jacket in sight.

    • onsides
      7:49 pm December 28, 2015 Permalink

      I think you should give him a chance before you crush him like that. And give Mitch credit, at least this time he is paying a guy a lot of cash who has actually called plays before as an OC.

    • inside info2
      8:59 pm December 28, 2015 Permalink

      So the one bowl game–where he used a backup QB–negates the season where they were top 10 for the season in passing and total offense? And people accuse me of being pessimistic on here…

    • UK Big Board Update
      11:46 pm December 28, 2015 Permalink

      Thank you for your insight, Nostradumbass.

  3. 2thepoint
    8:06 pm December 28, 2015 Permalink

    I guess you can just go ahead and pull for UL full time now. And, you won’t keep me from being excited about the hire.

    onsides, remember all those fans hating on Mitch and Stoops for paying too much money for an OC and having to pay him to leave? Well, what has just shown on the radar is a real OC who has succeeded that is willing to come to UK where he can get paid well for his efforts. People like Gran are now paying attention when they otherwise wouldn’t have given UK a glance. The same goes for Stoops pay as well. If he doesn’t pan out we will be in the running for talented coaches who have experience next time around.

  4. bankerbh
    8:53 pm December 28, 2015 Permalink

    Not a good hire but only time will tell. UC Was a disappointment this year. I live in the Cincy area and have followed them a bit. Yes, Kiel got clobbered a couple games but there was QB controversy w the team as well. UC finished much lower in the division than projected. Tuberville has not impressed fan base and has set the program back. That said, there had to be someone else out there other than an AAC coordinator who under delivered. Save the time and don’t ask for a name. I’m just saying that Stoop and Mitch should have taken the time and delivered a proven commodity. Too much riding on this hire and next season.

  5. kyderbyfan1
    10:26 pm December 28, 2015 Permalink

    His background sounds really impressive…. but, why is he at Cincy where his salary is meager compared to SEC?