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Nick Saban after win over UK: “You get nothing for time of possession”

(Kent Gidley/Getty Images)

(Kent Gidley/Getty Images)

Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops has established a ground-and-pound style of play in Lexington, one he has rarely gone away from, regardless of circumstances. Stoops experimented with the approach in his early days with the likes of Jojo Kemp and Boom Williams in the backfield, but really established a run-heavy offense when Benny Snell broke through as a superstar in 2017 and 2018. And then last year, Kentucky was forced to implement a near run-only attack when Lynn Bowden Jr. took over as the team’s starting quarterback midway through the 2019 season.

The production has backed up the approach, as Kentucky has shattered nearly every rushing record the school had to offer in recent years, and the wins have racked up as a result. Stoops did just pass Paul “Bear” Bryant on Kentucky’s career home wins list following the team’s victory over Vanderbilt last week, after all.

This year, though, the run-heavy approach has resulted in a completely one-dimensional offense, as Kentucky has failed to showcase any semblance of a passing attack. As a result, teams are focusing exclusively on stopping the run, and it’s working. Heading into the week, Kentucky was tied for No. 96 in the nation in scoring offense at 23.3 points per game, No. 115 in the nation with 318.0 total yards per game, and No. 116 in the country in passing offense.

The team is ranked No. 37 in rushing yards with 195.0 per game, but a slightly-above-average rushing attack combined with an atrocious passing attack has been a disaster for the Kentucky offense.

To add insult to injury, Alabama head coach Nick Saban threw a wet blanket on Kentucky’s go-to offensive plan of attack, noting that winning the time of possession battle means absolutely nothing if you can’t score points in this league.

And as Kentucky proved again Saturday afternoon, they simply can’t right now, especially against elite competition.

“The last time I checked, you get nothing for time of possession,” Saban said following Alabama’s 63-3 massacre of the Wildcats. “If you score fast on offense, you don’t have very much time of possession.

“If you keep the ball for six minutes and you don’t score, what do you get for that? You get zero.”

Kentucky would end the day losing the time of possession battle by just over two minutes (31:05 to 28:55), the only statistic relatively close to that of the Crimson Tide. Beyond that, Kentucky was destroyed in total yards (509 to 179), passing yards (283 to 120), rushing yards (226 to 59), first downs (29 to 12), and average yards per play (7.7 to 3.1), among other numbers.

UK’s grind-it-out approach has worked in recent years with elite offensive pieces at its disposal, but this season, the system has been nothing short of a disaster.

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

36 Comments for Nick Saban after win over UK: “You get nothing for time of possession”

  1. GoCatz
    10:50 pm November 21, 2020 Permalink

    TOP has always been a bogus stat

    • Bluenblood
      9:16 am November 22, 2020 Permalink

      LSU Coach O stated yesterday “……..the biggest thing as yall know is time of possession…..”. Huh. Yeah they scored TDs but Nick Saban has officially taken the batan from the OlBall Coach as the Biggest AssWipe coach in the league. I will be cheering against them in the future

    • 4everUKBlue
      10:07 am November 22, 2020 Permalink

      The truth hurts doesn’t it? If he was asked about time of possession he gave the correct answer, but I guess if you’re ultra sensitive it offends you.

  2. itsfootballtimeinthebluegrass
    11:06 pm November 21, 2020 Permalink

    And it will continue to be a disaster if Stoops refuses to adapt offensively. It will eventually cost him his job if he refuses to change.

    • kjd
      11:31 pm November 21, 2020 Permalink

      Cost him in recruiting too.

    • Park
      1:25 am November 22, 2020 Permalink

      I like Stoops, he has taken the program to a level it has not seen in quite some time. He does need to turn Gran loose though. Gran had prolific passing teams at UC. I know we don’t have the personnel for it now but, each year that passes it will be harder to attract quality receivers. And I’m not saying we need to pass 90% of the time, there just needs to be some type of balance.

    • Pensacola_Cat_Fan
      9:46 am November 22, 2020 Permalink

      Tired of hearing of Gran’s prolific offenses. Wasn’t he only an OC for two years with mix results against poor competition? Sometimes folks repeat stuff in here without knowledge of the facts.

    • nocode96
      11:46 am November 22, 2020 Permalink

      Pensacola a really quick google search tells me Gran was an OC starting in 2010 at FSU and leaving the oc job in Cincinnati in 2015, so that’s 5 years before he came here. I wouldn’t call the FSU schedule “poor competition”. Maybe Cincinnati’s competition, but his offense looked pretty prolific on paper when looking at the stats, until of course, he came here. I’ll state again for the record that I know jack about football nor do I care, but it’s pretty obvious to people like me with no emotional stake in our football program that the problem doesn’t seem to be the oc’s. Seems it’s pretty glaringly stoops, and I like stoops and don’t want him gone or anything, he seems to have brought us relative success.

    • Park
      9:20 pm November 22, 2020 Permalink

      In  three years under Gran, UC posted the program’s three highest marks for total offense: 6,137 yards in 2013; 5,982 yards in 2014; and a school-record 6,990 yards in 2015.

      There’s your facts.

    • satcheluk
      8:41 am November 23, 2020 Permalink

      Or you take 2 min and do the research yourself and fix your narrative before you comment.

  3. michaelb
    2:02 am November 22, 2020 Permalink

    Aj rose look to be Bamas kryptonite in the first 2/3 drives … of course we quit doing that lol

  4. BigBlueFoo42777
    2:51 am November 22, 2020 Permalink

    I recall alot of yapping about how this was the best team stoops has had so far and we were going to compete for the sec east. If we expect to ever legititmently compete in the sec we can not go backwards when we are 20 plus years behind on recruiting talent.

  5. Thetruthshallsetbennyfree
    3:02 am November 22, 2020 Permalink

    Damn Saban that was so cold it burned.

    • lecantrell
      5:04 pm November 22, 2020 Permalink

      But so TRUE!

  6. eyebleedblue
    6:44 am November 22, 2020 Permalink

    Not running the ball enough has been the problem all season, along with costly turnovers in the winnable games. 10 players short after a team mentor and coach dies was always a recipe for disaster on the road against Bama. Only a handful of teams are in their class, this season. Just show up next week and people will forget this one.

  7. just a guy
    8:01 am November 22, 2020 Permalink

    Tell me a legit QB or WR or TE that would want to play for Stoops/Gran. How many years has Stoops been here? No semblance of a real offense, still don’t have a QB that can throw over 10yds down the field, and if we did there’s no one to catch it. That one play where Jones (a former UK commit) three a rope to back of end zone, and his WR caught it with a DB right on him. We don’t have either the QB or the WR to make that play.
    Don’t forget we had Neal Brown here and LINCOLN RILEY interviewed for the job and Stoops chose Shannon Dawson

  8. CatfaninCinci
    8:23 am November 22, 2020 Permalink

    This is usually the time when this site and the ‘know it all’ fans would try calling out the negative fans as being ‘the problem’.

    Looks like they’ve finally opened their eyes now. Gran is awful. Has always been awful. And will be awful for the foreseeable future. If I’m a WR recruit parent, I’d advise against UK, and I’m a UK fan. It’s that freaking bad.

    • Bigcat Jack
      8:33 am November 22, 2020 Permalink

      It is not just Eddie Gran….the fish stinks from the head down. Mark Stoops is the problem. He’s gotten too fat and complacent in Lexington. A guy with a losing record and who has lost 2/3 of his conference games should not be “untouchable” and is definitely on the hot seat.

  9. Aar
    8:30 am November 22, 2020 Permalink

    The big dogs sometimes flat out tell you what you need in order to become a bigger dog

    I will counter Saban by suggesting that UK’s high TOP kept Bama out of triple digits

    • Bluebloodtoo
      9:32 am November 22, 2020 Permalink

      But to his point, what did that get us?

    • Bluebloodtoo
      10:33 am November 22, 2020 Permalink

      That’s playing not to lose, in my opinion.

  10. millertim
    8:48 am November 22, 2020 Permalink

    What about our overhyped “Big Blue Wall”? These guys are decent at run blocking but HORRIBLE at pass protection and that’s where football has been heading for years now… YOU MUST PASS BLOCK!!

    • Dr. Tom
      10:10 am November 22, 2020 Permalink

      Millertim you are exactly right. The real testament to how good an offensive line is, is how clean the qb’s uniform is at the end of the game!! Jimbo at A&M has that kind of pass blocking line!!

  11. Ryan Lemonds Toupee
    8:51 am November 22, 2020 Permalink

    He ain’t lying

  12. Headhurts
    9:19 am November 22, 2020 Permalink

    The Ky D played well early but when the offense delivers goose eggs time after time the Defense begins to crumble because A. Their on the field too much and B.there’s no payoff on the scoreboard for their hard work.

  13. CALfacts
    9:21 am November 22, 2020 Permalink

    Bottom line, we now don’t play SEC football

  14. Middy
    10:24 am November 22, 2020 Permalink

    Why does everyone say we don’t have the personnel? That an assumption. Vandy has been throwing the ball all over the place lately against SEC competition. They don’t have better athletes at any position. They have just done a much better job positioning those athletes for success. Better training, better schemes.

  15. Bluehender
    11:46 am November 22, 2020 Permalink

    I love it. Saban is exactly right. If you keep the ball for 6 minutes and come away with nothing…which is exactly what we did. Stoops needs to rethink his offensive stratagies.

  16. kuhlkat
    1:21 pm November 22, 2020 Permalink

    It is harder to run the closer we get to the goal line. Yet we have never attempted to establish a passing game. When it is 3rd and 8 and we run up the middle you know we have a problem

  17. makeitstop
    1:29 pm November 22, 2020 Permalink

    Crazy. What does Nick Saban know? U think just bc u got a few rings u can make an observation like that? No no no – it’s ALL ToP. This year the playoffs will charge scoring to award points based on ToP. Then he’ll be sorry he didn’t hire Eddie Gran!

  18. east-ky-boy
    7:06 pm November 22, 2020 Permalink

    But it’s true. If we score every time we have those longs drives then that’s one thing. But we ….don’t lol

  19. 77CatFan
    8:51 pm November 22, 2020 Permalink

    Who was Bob Stoops OC? Hal Mumme, that’s who.

  20. 77CatFan
    8:55 pm November 22, 2020 Permalink

    Mark Stoops is back to Bill Curry…..sad, sad, sad. Beau Allen should enter the portal, he’ll never start under Stops.