Remember before the season started when fans were comparing UK TE CJ Conrad to New England Patriot TE Rob Gronkowski? How Conrad had the ability to follow in the footsteps of Jacob Tamme to become Kentucky’s next great tight end?
Through the second game of the season, CJ Conrad has managed just one reception for five yards on two targets. One reception. Two Targets.
The first name Eddie Gran mentioned upon arrival was Conrad, how Kentucky had impressive weapons like the 6’5, 25o lb. tight end out of LaGrange, Ohio to make something happen on offense.
Conrad has been invisible thus far, not even being sniffed by the quarterbacks or coaching staff. Half the time the guy doesn’t even make it out off the line of scrimmage, staying back and providing protection for the QB as an H-back or blocking on the line. The offensive line needs some help, and Conrad is definitely needed there for some support, but you can’t have a target as valuable as Conrad and not find a way to put the ball in his hands.
Nick went into detail several weeks ago about how Eddie Gran completely revamped Travis Kelsie’s career at Cincinnati, where his statistics managed to triple in all major receiving categories en route to becoming an extremely successful tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL. At UK, repeating this is still a work in progress, to say the least.
Following today’s game, Eddie Gran touched base on needing to reevaluate personnel, taking personal blame for the team’s offensive woes. As part of these offensive issues, he said Conrad’s usage needs to be looked at to incorporate him further in the offense. “That’s definitely something we need to look at going forward. We tried to get him the ball on the first play last week, went for him again later on in the game. But we definitely need to look at getting him the ball more, that falls back on me. CJ has the potential to be a major player for us going forward, and I need to do my part to make that happen.”
Sure, it’s week two. Sure, Drew Barker only threw the ball 10 times and ended up on his back more often than not against the Gators, but two targets for a player as valuable as Conrad, for a team in need of someone to step up and contribute just isn’t acceptable.
Gran said all the right things following the game in terms of getting Conrad the ball, but actions speak louder than words. This offense needs reliable guys to keep the sticks moving, and right now, the only person doing that is Boom Williams. If he has to continue carrying the weight for the entire offense, he’s going to be hurt by Week 5, and then we enter a whole new realm of problems.
Whatever it takes, put the ball in CJ Conrad’s hands.