Eddie Gran’s offense did not have its best scrimmage Saturday at Kroger Field. In spite of their slow start, the offense finished with a few explosive plays. It accurately reflects the offense’s up and down spring.
“They gotta know that when you come out, you gotta be ready to go and gotta have an attitude. We didn’t have it and they (the defense) did, so it was good,” UK’s offensive coordinator said. “You gotta learn from it.”
The problem is, they’re only learning from it some of the time, especially the wide receivers. The pass-catchers came back with a good practice, but there’s a “but.”
“We had a chance to finish with an unbelievable play at the end of practice right here and we get a drop instead of being a touchdown on third down and eight. We gotta continue to be more consistent there,” Gran said.
“Consistent” is Gran’s favorite word this spring. Just how often does he use it around his wide receivers?
“Every day, every couple seconds of every play,” said rising junior wide receiver Josh Ali. “That’s his thing. We gotta be consistent. Everything has to be on beat, on tempo with the right timing.”
Ali has emerged as Terry Wilson’s most reliable target outside of Lynn Bowden, but even Ali has his moments of weakness.
“They gotta frickin’ battle and compete,” said Gran. “We gotta start executing. There is no learning curve anymore. Game, set, match. That was a long time ago. We’re not young players anymore. You gotta make a play.”
When the offense sputtered at the start of the scrimmage, the group turned to Terry Wilson. He explained how he’s become more comfortable being “the guy” for the offense when things aren’t going their way. Friday’s goal is simple: move the ball down the field.
This line from Ahmad Wagner speaks volumes: “He just looks like a completely different player. I’m proud of the guy.”
When Eddie Gran was asked what he wants to see in the spring game, he immediately responded, “No. 1, nobody get hurt. Spring games, they’re a necessary evil.”
Keeping a clean bill of health is a priority. That’s why you will not likely see Keaton Upshaw suited up. The highly touted redshirt freshman tight end tweaked his hamstring in the second spring scrimmage. Rather than risk delaying his recovery, they won’t trot him onto the field Friday evening.
The good news is Kavosiey Smoke will be able to go this Friday. The freshman running back has the potential to be one of the game’s most exciting playmakers.
Chris Rodriguez Brings the Boom
Smoke is a nice slasher, A.J. Rose is a home run hitter and Chris Rodriguez lowers his shoulder. He brought out the truck-stick for one play on Saturday that impressed everyone in attendance.
“He ran over a couple of guys. He near-legged, near-shouldered one guy and took him off his legs. It was a violent hit and he got the best of it.” Gran said that’s not all he can do. “The scrimmage before he had a 58-yard run and got up to 20 miles per hour on the GPS, which is pretty good for a 225-pound back.”