Mark Stoops has his man, or men to be more accurate. Eddie Gran has officially been named as the Assistant Head Coach of the Offense/Offensive Coordinator/RB Coach and Darin Hinshaw is his new Co-Offensive Coordinator as well as QB coach. With the incoming former Bearcats, Chad Scott is moving from the running backs to lead the receivers.
Quite the day for Kentucky Football. Fans wanted, no, fans demanded change and Mark Stoops delivered. With 29 years of coaching experience, Gran is a trusted Stoops ally but more importantly brings proven player development, play calling, organization and game management experience to the UK sideline. Those attributes were displayed as his former team finished seventh in the nation in total offense.
An argument could be made that Darin Hinshaw’s appointment may be the most crucial announcement of the day. With a young and indeterminable amount of talent at quarterback, Hinshaw’s experience at Tennessee and Cincinnati automatically becomes an immediate necessity for the Wildcat signal callers. Having a dedicated quarterback coach that is not the primary play caller will accentuate fundamental teaching and technical player development. This has been a missing element during Stoops’ tenure. From this aspect alone, expect to see improved quarterback decision making, footwork, and execution.
Chad Scott’s move from running back to receiver coach is a career boosting opportunity. Most, if not all SEC assistant coaches strive to be coordinators and/or head coaches. Diversifying his positional approach will enhance Scott’s resume and keep a proven recruiter in Lexington. There’s no way around it, Chad will have his hands full. Balancing egos and establishing a depth chart with several talented options at his disposal will be challenging. But now with Gran at the helm, he has a veteran offensive coordinator to mentor him through the transition. Vital. Scott’s ability to manage personalities to maximize performance will be an interesting 2016 subplot.
In terms of recruiting, Kentucky definitely improved its sales force. Both Gran and Hinshaw are former recruiting coordinators as well as accomplished evaluators that have inked elite talent at multiple locations. Today was a good day for tomorrow at the EJ Nutter Center.
Hiring Gran alone has to be considered a success. Hiring both Gran and Hinshaw is a major step in moving forward. The pair’s continuity, familiarity, in-game communication, and other factors are already in place. Kentucky will have an offensive identity and plan. The multiplicity of Gran’s scheme is a factor that I feel is its strength.
How will these hires translate to 2016 offensive success? Answer lies within results and is to be determined. The Cats will be tested early as Southern Miss will travel to Lexington with full intentions on winning the football game. The new offense will be on public display. With the Golden Eagles returning a record-breaking quarterback and a slew of skill players, UK may have to match TD for TD in order to exceed the visitors on the scoreboard. We shall see.
I asked for your Twitter questions and you Delivered
@draderukfan asked: How will players respond to new demand for maturity from shifts in staff?
-Great question and one that cannot be avoided. With a new coordinator and co-coordinator, players normally put forward their best performances to impress the new coaches. Any sense of entitlement should be thrown out of the window. Position competitions are looming and could lead to a refreshing effort increase.
@shelm63 asked: Do you think we will see anything from Jabari Greenwood this season?
-Yes, Jabari could have played in 15 but WR depth allowed him to redshirt. Eddie Gran likes big receivers, Greenwood fits that mold. Was extremely impressed with him coming out of DC.
@BBNtees1 asked: Why should the fan base believe anything will actually change?
-Another excellent question that I actually was asked when I walked through the door at home. I’d say 3.7 million reasons would be my best guess. Going into year four, Mark Stoops’ team has to show vast improvement from consecutive negative season endings. Regaining BBN confidence and mustering enthusiasm going into Southern Miss game are crucial for the university.
@willdawson77 asked: What are your realistic expectations for the 16 offense?
-An increase in total yards and scoring average. 24 points and 372 yards per game won’t cut it nor sell tickets. Realistically, I can foresee UK nearing the 30 points mark and 420 yards per game. However, much is dependent upon quarterback and offensive line play. As for wins and losses, coaching changes have lessened the severity of difficulty level. But 16 will be much more difficult. Excellent question by the way.
@juliamarie82 asked: What do you think will be the first thing Gran changes?
-Julie I’d say that’s already been done. Moving Chad Scott from RB coach to WR’s. I’d also expect Eddie Gran and Darin Hinshaw to examine everything from depth charts, personnel, practice schedules and so forth before making assessments on moving forward. Secondly; discipline, cohesion and offensive attitude will require a refurbishment. Simply, the Cats have to become more physical offense. An actual offensive plan and identity are also great starts to the process.
@theandrewjacobs asked: Will we see a difference in game planning and OL play?
-Yes, absolutely. Gran plays a high tempo offense which lessens offensive tackle strain by scheme. With 29 years of experience, planning shouldn’t be an issue.
@Donsquatch asked: Who do you foresee being the biggest benefactors of our skill players and why?
-Wow, have to limit this answer, could ramble for days. WR’s as a groups for starters. UC had multiple receivers with 70 catches last season to go along with three RB’s with 700 yards. QB’s will be asked to think less but produce more. I’ll expand in a later post.
@DJLETSGO asked: Why would RB coach get moved after it was the lone bright spot in the offense? RB coaching WRs?
-If Chad Scott wants to become a coordinator he needs to expand his positional horizons. Also, Gran’s inherited problem position is wide receiver. Scott’s familiarity with personnel accompanied by a veteran offensive coordinator’s supervision will make for a great combination for group improvement. Tommy Mainord instilled fundamentals and technique that can carry over. This move is also predicated on Gran being a RB coach and Hinshaw coaching quarterbacks. Scott was to be retained as he’s a proven recruiter and position coach. Win, win for all involved.