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Mark Stoops on UK offense: “Whatever we need to do.”

Terry Wilson was all smiles at Media Day on Friday. (Vicky Graff Photo)


Remember earlier this week when Darin Hinshaw said quarterback Terry Wilson might throw 40 times per game — twice the amount he did last season — for Kentucky this year.

Many wondered then how defensive-minded Mark Stoops might go along with that.

During Kentucky’s Media Day on Friday, Stoops again emphasized his belief in a strong running game.

“You’ve heard me tell you the statistics.  We do all the data.  That’s not going to change.  When you’re out-rushing your opponent by one yard, it gives you a big advantage.  Playing good run defense, being able to run the ball is critically important.  That’s a proven fact certainly in our league,” Stoops said.

“But every year, you’ve heard me talk about that this year, every team is different.  You have to find the best way you can to help them win.  If that is throwing the ball, however many times that is, if we have to do that to give us the best opportunity to win, then we’ll do that.  We’ll see how it plays out.”

Stoops said he thought Hinshaw was just “piggybanking my comments” when he talked about throwing 40 times per game.

“That’s what I’ve said.  Whatever we need to do,” Stoops said. “Every team is different.  We’re a different football team this year than we were last year. 

“We’re going to be improved in certain areas and maybe not as good.  We’re never going to give our kids an out.  We’re always looking to continue to build and improve in all years.”

Offensive coordinator Eddie Gran said he didn’t expect Kentucky to play at a faster tempo this season to help generate more offense.

“What we have to do is we have to be efficient on first down so we can have more plays. That efficiency in our first couple years was really good. Four yards or more on first down. Now you’re creating more first downs,” Gran said.

“In Cincinnati, even running the ball at 280 yards a game, 250 yards a game there. We were number one in the country in first downs. We weren’t just playing lightning fast. It was about the efficiency of first downs. If you get more first downs, you’ve got more plays, therefore you have more chances at being explosive.”

1 comment

  1. “Whatever we need to do” A bunch of mumbo-jumbo because what UK and any other team in the SEC “needs to do” is run the football and stop the run.

    I posted the following in the “Hinshaw says UK may pass 35 to 40 times per game” thread, and it is appropriate here as well.

    Well, it appears that the grown up in the group has stepped forward and cleared up any misconception that UK will pass the ball 35 to 40 times this season (or any season for which Stoops/Gran are the leadership team).

    Gran said yesterday, “Everybody says we’re going to throw the ball a lot more this year. So I’ll get this out of the way right now, OK? Everything starts up front in this league. It’s about the physicality. Big men lead the way. If you cannot run the ball, you’re going to have a hard time winning in this league. We want to be balanced. We want to be a little bit more balanced this year. If you had 80 plays, 40 throws, 40 runs, that would be perfect. That’s the perfect scenario. What we have to do is be more efficient in the passing game and more explosive. As you talked about AJ, maybe some of these backs, we could maybe have some more explosive runs as well.”

    80 plays per game. That is pulled from thin air to put a conversation in the range of 40 passes per game, probably to avoid completely stomping on the coach that spoke in those terms earlier, but the facts are clear that Stoops/Gran teams are going to run between 63 and 67 plays per game. The last 3 years, they have run the ball 60 to 65% of all plays. Last year was 64%. I think they will reduce that to about 60% this season, but they will not get anywhere close to 80 plays per game.

    64 plays per game, 60% running would be 38 runs and 26 passes per game.

    Check back in November and see where it actually is.

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