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Taking care of the football was big plus for offense in UK’s first scrimmage

 

“That was really good,” Kentucky offensive coordinator Eddie Gran said Tuesday. “… First two groups, no interceptions, no fumbles. If we can go into a game and not have any turnovers that’s huge. That was good. We’ve gotta do a really good job with making sure we stay, on first and 10, long-yardage situations or a penalty getting us backed up and being able to overcome that.

 

“We overcame, I think, one of them where we did get a penalty and then we ended up getting a first down. But a couple of them we didn’t. Those are the things we were trying to stay out of.”

 

Returning starting quarterback Terry Wilson completed 16 of 20 passes in last weekend’s scrimmage and also has been productive this fall. Gran said Wilson is “night and day right now.”

“He’s making quicker decisions going through his reads, getting the ball out,” he said. “He had one where he took a sack. If we can eliminate that to zero we’ll be in pretty good shape. For his first scrimmage and to only have one mistake like that is pretty good… getting a lot better. (He’s) really gaining confidence each day.”

Kentucky offensive lineman Landon Young said the offense often faces a “danged if you do, danged if you don’t” scenario because of Mark Stoops’ background as a defensive-minded coach.

“We have a really good practice and beat the defense we’re going to be out there longer because he’s a defensive-minded coach anyway,” Young said. “He’s always back there coaching them up and he just gets so mad when we run it down their throat, especially. On the other side they have things to work on so they’re going to make practice longer just because they want the defense to have extra work.”

According to Gran, the rotation on the offensive line has been established and the unit has been productive since fall workouts began more than two weeks ago.

“I think we have eight right now that are playing winning football,” he said. “We’ve got a couple of others that we feel like by week five or six, they got to jump in that role. But it’s been pretty cohesive. “

Stoops said being physical on both sides of the ball is crucial to the team’s success.

“It’s a line of scrimmage game,” he said. “You better be good in the offensive line, better be going in the defensive line. Sure, we all know you want to be good at all positions. You have to be to win at the highest level. But if you’re not physical, you don’t have much of a chance. All in all, you know what I mean, throw it all in a bucket, come out the end. I don’t like our chances if you’re not physical.”

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Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at keith.taylor@kentuckytoday.com or twitter @keithtaylor21.

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  1. Turnovers in football come with a huge statistical price. On average, a turnover costs the team points and field position. My tracking indicates about 3 points and 30 to 40 yards in field position on average. I treat a failed 4th down attempt as a turnover since it relinquishes field position and ends a possession with the same impact as a fumble or interception.

    A positive turnover ratio, say +1 per game, can be the difference between winning and losing in the SEC. From 2009 through 2016, UK averaged over 2 turnovers per game, and in 6 of those 8 seasons, UK turned the ball over more than its opponents, hitting a low water mark of -1.25 turns per game in 2010 and -1.00 turns per game in 2012 (Joker’s last season). Coach Stoops’ teams remained in negative territory, but improved from the 3 Joker years from 2013 through 2016, with the lone exception being 2015 (+0.08 turns per game).

    However, the last two UK teams have turned that tide, with +0.77 turns per game in 2017 and +0.62 turns per game in 2018.

    For 2019 to be the kind of season that builds on the recent improvements, it must continue to protect its possessions and force opponents to give up the ball.

    The data is below:

    Year Turns/Gm Turns/Gm Turns/Gm
    UK Opp Net
    2018 1.85 2.46 0.62
    2017 1.46 2.23 0.77
    2016 2.46 2.08 -0.38
    2015 2.33 2.42 0.08
    2014 2.42 2.33 -0.08
    2013 2.17 1.67 -0.50
    2012 2.92 1.92 -1.00
    2011 3.17 2.83 -0.33
    2010 2.67 1.42 -1.25
    2009 2.00 2.38 0.38

  2. http://bigbluefans4uk.com/UK_Football/2019_Season/2019_Data_Tracking_Images/50_Turnover_Rates_2009-18.png

    Here is the data in graphical form. The trends on both sides of the ball and NET are easier to understand this way.

  3. One final note about turnover rates in 2018. In 2018, UK’s 2019 opponents’ NET turnover rate ranged from +1.6 to -1.6 NET turnovers per game with an average of +0.1. Only 3 of UK’s 2019 opponents had a higher NET turnover rate than UK’s +0.6, Eastern Michigan (+1.0), Georgia (+1.6), and Tennessee (+0.8).

    In the SEC, UK’s +0.6 was 5th best, behind Georgia (+1.6), Mississippi (+1.2), LSU (+1.1), and Tennessee (+0.8). The SEC average NET turnover rate was +0.2.

    I would like to see UK climb that mountain a little higher this season, reaching +1 or higher NET turnover rate.

  4. Yeah I agree, UK can not have many TO’s. If they do, bye bye season. My concern is UK scoring in the red zone. When they get inside the opponent’s 25 yard line they must score, every time. On the other side, the defense must rise up in 2019 and be the most feared defense in the SEC inside the red zone.

  5. I feel it important to acknowledge the time and effort that you put into your research, so thanks again Professor. I really enjoy your incite.

    1. So do I. Professor’s research is amazing

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