Offense Using Simplicity, Detail to Get in Gear
If you were expecting some of the air to be taken out of Eddie Gran’s balloon after an 0-2 start to the season, think again.
The first-year head coach of the offense/offensive coordinator is his usual high-energy self, intent on fixing what ails the Kentucky offense.
“You can't let up, and it's our job as an offensive staff – as it came down from Coach Stoops – offensively as a staff, we've got to be more detailed,” Gran said after practice on Tuesday. “If they’re not getting it done then it's on me, then it's on them.”
Taking responsibility for failure also means taking responsibility for turning that failure into success. To do that, Gran and the offense have taken to heart Mark Stoops’ message that the Wildcats must be more detailed.
“We had a great individual yesterday of just getting back to putting your foot in the ground on the boards and offensive line coming up with a square back, not being sideways,” Gran said. “Running backs being better pass protectors – being high, we were getting knocked back a little bit and those are the things that can't happen so those are the things we worked on. Our receivers, on a release stacking a DB."
While that work is going on, Gran is evaluating his entire playbook. The goal of that exercise is to put players in position to play fast. To do that, players have to know their assignments inside-out.
“It’s not necessarily going and trying to run 100 plays,” Gran said. “That’s not going to do anything if you can only have 25 that are detailed. If we have 50, 50 need to be detailed. If we have 75, then 75 need to be detailed.”
It’s still early in the week ahead of a Saturday matchup with New Mexico State, so Gran isn’t yet sure exactly what the game plan will look like. He does know what the expectations for players will be regardless.
“Don’t let anything faze you,” Gran said. “You’ve got a job to do. Don’t make stuff up. Don’t make it up. You can’t make crap up. That’s rule No. 4 in our room. If you have to get 10 yards, you go 10. If something doesn’t look right, don’t freak out. Just do your job. That’s it. It’s not hard. It’s not hard. Do your job.”
No one gets more attention for the job he does or doesn’t do than the quarterback, which means Drew Barker is hearing plenty of outside noise at the moment. He’s not letting it get to him.
“There definitely is a lot of negativity, but kind of staying off social media, those kind of things,” Barker said. “Just really only talking to your teammates, family, stuff like that. You can’t really worry about what students or outside people say because they haven’t been out here working with us and they don’t know how much time we’ve put in and how much hard work goes into it.”
This week is bringing more hard work, as well as another opportunity to play. Barker is eager for that chance.
“This is going to be a big week," Barker said. "We gotta go out there and get a win. If we play our game like we know we can and limit turnovers and sustain drives and be great on third down, I think we’ll have a great chance of winning.”
Barker isn’t alone in looking for some sustained drives.
“I want to see us go down and have a 12-play drive and finish, keep our defense – let them drink some dang Gatorade,” Gran said. “That’s what we need to do. You do that though offensively – I said at the beginning, you’ve got to execute all the time. You can’t just be three plays in a row. I really liked where they were today.”