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Kentucky Offensive Coordinator Eddie Gran Responds to Criticism

Kentucky’s offense has not been great in 2020. When the Wildcats struggle to move the ball, fair or not, the first person fans fault is offensive coordinator Eddie Gran.

The chorus from the disgruntled crowd was especially loud after Saturday’s loss at Alabama where the Wildcats scored only three points on three early first half scoring opportunities in Crimson Tide territory. After leaving points off the scoreboard, Kentucky’s offense never came close again, moving the sticks for only one first down in the second half.

After the game running back A.J. Rose was asked what they could have done differently to score in the red zone.

“We could’ve called some better plays,” Rose said. “He called what he thought was needed and we had to go out there and execute it, and we failed at that.”

There’s no ill-will between Rose and his position coach. In fact, Gran agrees.

“A.J. was reiterating what I said (in the locker room),” UK’s offensive coordinator said Tuesday night. “I went to every position group after the game and said, ‘I gotta be better. I’m gonna do better. I’m gonna be a better play-caller. You guys keep continuing to grind.'”

Gran might be his own worst critic, and that’s saying something. Insistent he does not read what’s said about him online, the chatter still finds a way back to him. 

“First of all, I don’t read anything. I know it must be bad because I get texts from some friends from all over the country. But at the end of the day I just keep chopping wood. I trust in God. I trust he’s got a great plan and that’s where all my strength comes from. It’s hard. I battle,” he said.  

“I’m gonna do my best for the University of Kentucky each and every day. Our job is to go out there and get better this week. That’s what we’re going to try to do. The kids have been awesome. Our players have been phenomenal. I try to keep a great attitude and that’s all you can do. This is a tough, tough business. If you’ve got the faint of heart, you’re not going to last. It’s part of the job, part of the position that I have. People make decisions. I’m going to do what I’ve gotta do to make this football team better each and every week.”

This week’s task will not be easy. Todd Grantham’s blitz-heavy defense Florida defense ranks first in the SEC in tackles for loss and sacks, but there is an opportunity to move the ball down the field on the Gators, who rank ninth and seventh in total defense and rush defense in the SEC, respectively. Even if the Wildcats find ways to punch it into the end zone this Saturday time after time, drive after drive, there will always be Eddie Gran critics in the BBN.

Article written by Nick Roush

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

35 Comments for Kentucky Offensive Coordinator Eddie Gran Responds to Criticism

  1. 4burgoo
    8:16 pm November 24, 2020 Permalink

    If most of us performed this poorly after several decades in the same job we would have been unemployed 15 years ago.

    Come on Eddie, you’ve been doing this forever and it’s obviously not your thing. Hopefully God will have plans for you somewhere else next year.

    • east-ky-boy
      8:25 pm November 24, 2020 Permalink

      I’ve criticized him as much as the next person. I think this is not what he wants his offense to look like. What I mean is, if you look at gran at Cincy… or even during the Stephen Johnson days, he was much more balanced and much more aggressive. I think it comes down to personal in some way. We don’t have the receivers right now other than Ali. We don’t have a snell in yet backfield. We don’t have a play making QB and our offensive line has not been great in pass coverage. Add all that up and it’s a OC’s worst nightmare. Last couple years we didn’t have any of that BUT we had a snell and Bowden. So he adjusted his plan to make them be the feature of the offense. By saying all that, yes he needs to do better. 100% agree. But it’s not just him.

    • UKgrad80
      12:09 am November 25, 2020 Permalink

      I am intrigued by what words you decide to capitalize and the ones you don’t!

    • east-ky-boy
      11:22 pm November 25, 2020 Permalink

      Glad my lack of proper capitalization intrigues you lol. You may need to considering getting a hobby or something. Must be a boring life.

    • itsfootballtimeinthebluegrass
      12:14 am November 25, 2020 Permalink

      Stop blaming it on the players’ level of talent. The job of the coaches is to put the kids in the best position to make plays regardless of talent. Gran isn’t a good OC. He can’t adapt. He can’t adjust. Just accept that and think about who will be his replacement.

    • dwhite
      4:11 am November 25, 2020 Permalink

      I’m not sure where the blame lies but the offense is really bad. I love TW as a person but his football IQ leaves you scratching your head. Someone anyone needs to say this ain’t working. I think the coaches are so close to the situation that they have a hard time looking at personnel as well has offense game plan on the field objectively.

    • oldfanallin
      8:35 pm November 24, 2020 Permalink

      I still say Gran’s approach is defined by his head coach and limited by the talent at hand. Stoops just feels safer on the ground and tends to value experience over talent. We have seen true freshman QB’s play well in the SEC. Not at UK. We will have TW, Gatewood, Then Beau if he is still here and is a good scrambler.

    • runningunnin.454
      9:04 am November 25, 2020 Permalink

      Agree oldfan; this is not all on Gran. He is hamstrung by Coach Stoops’ TOP offensive philosophy. I don’t understand that people can’t see the obvious.

    • bigbluebg
      12:59 pm November 25, 2020 Permalink

      I have been a tough critic of Eddie since he arrived at UK in 2016.

      However, saying he has performed poorly for 15 years is false. He’s performed poorly for 2-3 years. This is a classic example of recency bias aka “what have you done lately”.

      At FSU 2010-2012 they averaged 31.4, 30.6, and 39.3 pts/game.

      In 2013 the averaged 50 pts per game, but they also had Jameis Winston. While Eddie was working with Christian Ponder in 2010 and the EJ Manuel in 2011-2012. Both we’re drafted in the 1st round (12th & 16th overall). Winston obviously was No. 1 overall in 2015 draft.
      In 2009 FSU scored 30.1 pts/game. So, the offense improved after he arrived (with the biggest jump in 2012, his last year).

      At Cincinnati (2013-2015) the scored 32.1, 34.0, and 33.8 pts/game. In 2012 they averaged 32.8 pts/game – but they also had Travis Kelce (the best TE in the NFL for the last 7 years).

      2012 UC avg 440 yd/game. That went up to 475, 460, and 537 yd/game under Gran.

      What I’m saying is…everywhere he went he improved the offense, at least marginally. And in his 3rd year there was significant improvement.

      He’s struggled for a few years, not decades. Last year he did wonders with a depleted roster. This year he has struggled to do that. It has a lot more to do with our QBs inability to read the defense and deliver catchable balls. Also, when he does read the defense and throw a good ball, our WRs drop an unacceptable % of those opportunities.

      I’m not saying he should be kept, because ultimately the responsibility falls to him. I am saying that over his career, Eddie has been a very good OC, and it’s not fair to judge his entire body of work on the most recent results. He’s helped many guys get drafted with some varying levels of NFL success. I think this has to do a lot more with offensive talent at the skilled positions than Eddie ability to call an offense.

  2. itsfootballtimeinthebluegrass
    8:22 pm November 24, 2020 Permalink

    The offense has declined year of year since Gran’s been at Kentucky. That in and of itself should be enough to warrant moving on from him.

    • Bluehender
      9:00 pm November 24, 2020 Permalink

      See oldfanallin comment above you..^^

    • itsfootballtimeinthebluegrass
      12:15 am November 25, 2020 Permalink

      Yeah I agree that it’s mostly stoops. Marky mark is too stubborn to adapt.

  3. Pensacola_Cat_Fan
    8:34 pm November 24, 2020 Permalink

    Gran seems like a great guy. Something has got to change though. I don’t know what that entails, but we can’t simply roll into next year doing the same things we are doing now.

  4. Headhurts
    9:05 pm November 24, 2020 Permalink

    Do better, Be better in the red zone Eddie, Florida’s next do Better, Be Better

  5. cats646
    9:13 pm November 24, 2020 Permalink

    I like what he said. But he has to prove that he can do better! Go get it done coach!

  6. goteam94
    9:57 pm November 24, 2020 Permalink

    The numbers our offense has put up is absolutely inexcusable. What’s more inexcusable is the number on these coaches paychecks. The results don’t warrant that type of pay.

  7. Irememberharrylancaster
    10:25 pm November 24, 2020 Permalink

    I don’t blame Gran as much as I used to. At Cincy he put up impressive numbers. I honestly believe this is the offense Stoops wants. Stoops must change.

      10:28 pm November 24, 2020 Permalink

      Saban knows you need a high scoring offense in today’s game. If he has changed up philosophy it should be a no brainer Stoops and Gran should do the same.

    • itsfootballtimeinthebluegrass
      12:16 am November 25, 2020 Permalink


    • oldfanallin
      1:29 am November 25, 2020 Permalink

      Amen. Remember Dean Smith and the four corner offense? And how quickly he adapted to the clock and three point shot? Well Saban has adapted to the new reality and is staying ahead of the pack. Adapt or watch the world go by. Oh, Alabama still runs the ball, he did not switch, he added.

  8. jaws2
    10:27 pm November 24, 2020 Permalink

    Stoops is the CEO of this team. Gran gives us the offense the CEO wants! I’d like to see just ONE game where Gran gets the keys to the offense and see what happens. In addition, if Gran had an actual SEC QB to use this would be different. I almost choked last week when one of the so called ‘analyst’ calling the game said Wilson was only 2nd to Tim Couch in completion percentage in UK history. As though Wilson is just that darn good! I’d be FIRST in percentage if all of my passes were bubble screens and 5 yard slants!! Until Stoops is gone or gives Gran the keys, we’re not going to be happy with this offense. Benny Snell or Lynn Bowden aren’t walking through that door.

  9. kydrummer
    10:54 pm November 24, 2020 Permalink

    I slightly disagree. I think we do have the receivers, tgey may be freshman but all of them can’t that bad for behind. Rodriquez is another Smell type running back. Terry Wilson is athletic enough to make plays, he needs play callung that plays to his strength.

  10. UKgrad80
    12:13 am November 25, 2020 Permalink

    Wow that was interesting and comical reading!

  11. UKgrad80
    12:14 am November 25, 2020 Permalink

    I guess God’s plan involves putting UK fans through hell. Don’t use God as a shield Eddie!

  12. UoKFB PHAN
    12:48 am November 25, 2020 Permalink

    I don’t think all the blame belongs on Gran for two reason. 1) I believe the biggest problem is with the offensive philosophy of Stoops. Just for the record, last year I went back and did some research on Gran’s three years as OC at Cincinnati and here’s what I found: Year one run 52%, pass 48%, year two and three just flip the numbers: run 48% and pass 52% (these numbers are not exact but they are really close). I do not think Gran is a true air raid guy but his past numbers would indicate he prefers a more balanced offense instead of the run heavy approach we currently have.
    2) Also take into account the twitter posts by the two previous receiver coaches about the receivers spending more practice time on blocking rather practicing route running and getting open. One would think the receivers would spend more time practicing on getting separation to get open rather than blocking unless their role is to help the running game.

    The other problem that is hurting Gran is UK hasn’t had a true SEC caliber passing QB during his time with the possible exception of Drew Barker (remember his performance from JUST THE FIRST HALF of the Southern Miss: 11 of 19 passes for 287 yards and 4 TDs). I know some people say start Gatewood but its my understanding from some of the Auburn fans that he is not a true passing QB. It sounds like Allen might be the best option we have as a passing QB.

    This is just my take, but Stoops really needs to take a long look at the offensive philosophy and then take actions to correct the issues. I think that can start with giving Stoops and Gran giving Beau Allen a start… if not against Florida then against South Carolina.

    • oldfanallin
      1:35 am November 25, 2020 Permalink

      Yes, and put those young receivers out there with him. Put some enthusiasm out there.

  13. Bigblu30
    1:53 am November 25, 2020 Permalink

    I think playing more up tempo would help, even with the same play calls. It is hard as a defense to get lined up correctly when the offense goes fast, but we allow them to set up correctly and even shift pre snap because we try to win the time of possession

  14. Thetruthshallsetbennyfree
    3:02 am November 25, 2020 Permalink

    Every OC under Stoops has coached worse here than any other school they coached at before. Sometimes this is against non power 5 schools so it isn’t the SEC defenses it’s the head coach. Another problem with Stoops is he is a defensive guy that only has good defensive numbers when we hold on to the ball, if another team gets any moment they are shredding us. He isn’t capable of defending a balanced offense, he can only defend the pass or run not both and also isn’t capable of adjustments.

  15. kjd
    6:10 am November 25, 2020 Permalink

    How is Gran suppose to run a balanced offense game plan including down field passing with TW at QB?

    • UoKFB PHAN
      10:25 am November 25, 2020 Permalink

      I agree with you kjd, TW just has not proved he can be a reliable downfield passer. Yes, people can point at the receivers not getting open and the O-line being better at run blocking that pass blocking which are true statements, but I think everyone has seen his inconsistent tendencies in mid and downfield passing. That is the very reason I think it’s time to give Allen a start or at least let him play for an entire second half.

  16. UKFanSC
    7:54 am November 25, 2020 Permalink

    He has perfected the very difficult QB draw……

  17. Cat68
    8:26 am November 25, 2020 Permalink

    I’d love to hear the pitch to a 3 or 4-star WR. Who would come play WR in this offense?

  18. Tywhoppity
    10:13 am November 25, 2020 Permalink

    It seems Mr. Roush forgot to add the word “again” at the end of his headline….. :’ )

  19. UKFaninCO
    10:17 am November 25, 2020 Permalink

    Sorry, but TW is not an accurate passer. Balance demands that attribute.

  20. UoKFB PHAN
    10:50 pm November 26, 2020 Permalink

    @bigbluebg, good info. Thanks for looking up the information up and sharing.