When Terry Wilson was named starting quarterback, fans prepared for an offensive attack filled with run-pass option. The latest game-changing development in college football offenses favors dynamic quarterbacks, but it’s always been a part of Eddie Gran’s offense at Kentucky.
“The good part about our offense I think where you put a little pressure on the defense is that every single one of our runs is a read,” said Gran. “It was like that with Drew Barker. It was like that with Stephen, all of them. We’ve got to be able to read.”
As you see in the picture above, Gunnar Hoak’s eyes are downfield during the mesh handoff with A.J. Rose. Hoak is reading the defensive end to see if he should hand it off, keep it for a QB run or throw the ball downfield.
The RPO is filled with complex nuances, but at its core, all of the pressure is on the quarterback to take whatever the defense gives Kentucky’s offense. Even though Wilson has incredible speed, the coaches aren’t telling him to run the ball. They are telling him to make the defense pay every play.
“Our quarterbacks are going to run the ball,” said quarterbacks coach Darin Hinshaw. “Everybody that watches our offense knows. Now we don’t run our quarterbacks, we read our quarterbacks, which means that if the defense allows us to be able to pull the ball and we can take advantage of the defense, we’re going to do that.”
When the play is called, the coaches probably anticipate that Benny Snell or Wilson will run the ball, but if the pass is open, Wilson has the option to let it fly.
“We’re going to pull the ball and we’re going to throw the ball downfield, if the defense allows us to do that. That keeps the perimeter on check the whole game, even though we’re running the ball. Again, 95 percent our runs, we can throw the ball. That keeps the defense on check,” Hinshaw said.
Ultimately, the offense’s success will fall on the shoulders of Wilson to make the correct read.
“If you’re not making good decisions, that’s the bad part of it,” said Hinshaw. “The good things is we’ve gotten better and better at it. We’ve got to continue to do that.”