Stoops, Gran Asking Offense to Respond after Scrimmage

Mark Stoops has never been one to mince words in evaluating his team.

He proved it again on Saturday following Kentucky’s final scrimmage in Commonwealth Stadium before next weekend’s Blue-White Spring Game.

“I was disappointed for the first time all spring with just the mentality of our offense,” Stoops said. “I don’t know if it’s cold out here, windy, but it’s no excuse. Just was not up to par.”

While Stoops talked to assembled media about the performance, offensive coordinator Eddie Gran was behind him. He wasn’t mincing words either, delivering a stern address to his charges. And it was Gran’s turn in front of the cameras, he didn’t stop. 

“It was absolutely awful,” Gran said. “There was no juice.”

Gran has been consistently positive in public remarks about his offense, praising effort and energy throughout UK’s first 10 practices of the spring. For whatever reason, it just didn’t happen on Saturday.

“You’ve got to come out and you’ve got to be ready to play,” Gran said. “Coach talked about growing, growing and maturing, and we didn’t do that. It was awful. We lost up front. We didn’t convert. We were off target on throws. Just it wasn’t good. I didn’t have them ready to go and it has to be fixed.”

Though the subpar morning and early afternoon by the offense overshadowed it, the defense did perform well.

“I don’t want to take anything away defensively,” Stoops said, “because I thought we did have good juice, good energy and made some improvement in our run defense, which we needed to see and we saw that today.”

The other silver lining to Saturday’s scrimmage was the way the offense responded in situational drills late in the practice.

“At the end, we had two two-minute situations and we had two minutes with the one timeout and we had to score a touchdown and we scored a touchdown twice,” Gran said. “That was positive. It’s never as good as you think; it’s never as bad as you think. But for us to have to go down there and go to the end to have something positive happen is ridiculous. That’s not good enough.”

The good news is UK still has three practices and the Blue-White game to build some momentum. Gran is confident the Wildcats will do exactly that.

“Well, the last thing I said to them, I said, well, we talk about recovering,” Gran said. “We talk about having short-term memories. This is over with. We’ve got to correct it. Monday they’ve got to come to work like pros. We’ve got to get everything fixed, get it done, go to Tuesday, install nothing and whatever we do we execute it and take a step forward.

“The next four practices, we’ve got to get better. So it’s going to be no problem getting going into this summer getting better. We’re going to get better.”