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Could Ahmad Wagner be big-play option that Kentucky offense needs?

By LARRY VAUGHT

Could 6-5 receiver Ahmad Wagner be a possible catalyst for the Kentucky offense?

You remember Wagner. He’s the former Ohio high school football standout had 58 passes for 1,028 yards and 17 touchdowns as a senior and returned a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown in the Ohio Division I state championship game the only year he played football.

He opted to play college basketball at Iowa but after three seasons, he decided to make a dramatic switch and transferred to UK to play football. He has two years of eligibility and hoped to literally be a “big” target for UK’s passing game.

However, he’s still waiting to his chance to help make plays for an offense that could use a big-play receiver.

“He is a guy that is intriguing in that way who could step up as well. As you know, when you’re not getting that many plays it’s hard to rotate. When you’re not out there just pitching and catching it’s hard to rotate guys in that type of game,” UK coach Mark Stoops said.

“But he is a guy that you think about. We’ve been working with him and as we go good against good, he has that great size and he can go up over people at times and create that play that we’re looking for.”

That’s the type of play Kentucky has not had that successful programs need.

“Again, if you look at Texas A&M going into that game, Clemson was in the same situation we are. They just went up at two different times and simply went up over them and made great individual plays,” Stoops said. “Otherwise they had the same problems with three-and-outs. And we know how good they are offensively.

“But we do got to look for options. Ahmad is one of them. And Zy’Aire (Hughes) may be another one with the speed that he has.”

Sophomore Tavin Richardson is another player that Stoops would like to “get going” more.

“We definitely do, and there’s things that we can do within the offense to be intentional about getting him the ball and getting that position the ball, but there’s also things that all players can do better as well. So, that’s mutual,” Stoops said.

 

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  1. Wagner just might if Stoops/Gran would give him playing time and then try and throw the ball his way to see if he can produce in a game with all that size. I look at a great receiver on UK’s roster like Dorian Baker, who through six games in 2018 UK has thrown the ball to him a mere 9 times for 100 yards. He had a great year in 2015 when he had 55 receptions for 608 yards. I don’t think UK is trying real hard now to involve these receivers like they should, and it shows.

  2. Do you think Wagner might really be an option for us? Do you feel the same way about Richardson, Conrad, Baker, Bouvier, Bowden and a few others? Did you forget that we have Gran as an OC and he has proven incapable of recognizing, developing, and targeting these assets into meaningful playing time because he is consumed by his own stubborness and arrogance and saddled with a very high level of incompetence. Then we have to find someone that can efficiently and accurately throw to these assets and that person is very possibly still on the bench.

    1. Mike I wonder how much UK throws to these guys in practice? The passing threat at game time for UK in 2018 is lacking productive numbers across the roster for a reason. Because of that, I agree with the your statement on the QB option too. I am still not sold on Wilson from what I have seen as far as his passing efficiency. You must have a QB that is capable and accurate with throwing the football. In his defense, I will say this year it seems, UK receivers are always covered. Maybe UK is not as talented in the WR department as we thought. Something ain’t right for sure. UK needs a lot more balance in their offense. right now especially.

  3. Pup…The guys must have daily passing routines that they go through. Stoops needs to take more ownership of this flawed part of our offense even if that means over ruling Gran or Gran/Hinshaw. We apparently have the talent and the speed, and I am not sure even Joker Phillips could screw this up. We should be experimenting with 2 quarterbacks. We have one that can run and one or two that can pass. As Trump says…..what do we have to lose?

    1. The team UK is chasing in the SEC East, UGA, has racked up 113 first downs through 6 games. They have 60 rushing and 53 passing . They average 220 yards per game passing the football, and 250 yards rushing the football per game, and they are averaging 43 points a game. That is balance my friend. I still say if UK could have had any decent passing attack at A&M they could have won the game and be 6-0 right now. A total of 8 first downs won’t cut it in this league. That does not mean you abandon the running game and Benny Snell either.

  4. Before any receiver can help UK, you have to throw the ball. To throw the ball, you must have a qb that is accurate and a line that can give him time. From what I have seen, Wilson is very slow in making a decision in the passing game. Several times against A&M, receivers were open for a few steps, but by the time Wilson either saw them or thought about the pass, it was too late. Either they were covered or he was running for his life. A dual threat qb must be able to throw the ball on the run, and Wilson does not have that ability. I keep seeing UK recruit these pocket passing qbs, and I have to wonder why. They have one now, and he doesn’t know what the field looks like. They also try to recruit these top receivers, and again, I have to ask why. Any receiver can learn to block down field and that is about all we use ours for. Gran and Stoops both raved about how good our receivers would be this year, but I think someone needs to introduce that part of the team to Gran.

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