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Mark Stoops can’t say enough good things about Eddie Gran — and the praise is well deserved

Lynn Bowden became UK’s ninth 1,000-yard rusher despite playing receiver the first five games this year. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

All Kentucky has done is win and go to bowl games since offensive coordinator Eddie Gran arrived. Yet how often has Gran been the brunt of intense criticism from Kentucky fans for his lack of creativity with his play calling.

However, former UK quarterback Dusty Bonner has called him a “genius” for how he reshaped UK’s offense this year due to quarterback injuries. Former UK running back Anthony White says he still can’t believe the way Gran has come up with different schemes to confuses defenses even when they know the Cats are going to run and run and run … and never pass.

The last three games, UK has rushed for over 400 yards — something it had never done before. Against Louisville, the Cats gained 564 yards Saturday and ran for six touchdowns behind a brilliant performance by receiver turned quarterback Lynn Bowden.

Kentucky is now 7-5 and headed to a nice bowl destination. Maybe Jacksonville for the Gator Bowl. Maybe Nashville for the Music City Bowl.  Maybe Charlotte for the Belk Bowl.

But for a team that was 2-3 and had its top three quarterbacks on the depth chart hurt before Gran made the bold decision to turn the offense over to Bowden, UK’s best receiver, it has been a remarkable finish and coach Mark Stoops gave a lot of the credit to Gran after Saturday’s win.

“You really can’t say enough about him. Again, I understand people, they always want to — again, OCs have the biggest target on them. They are an easy target,” Stoops said.  “Offensive coordinators, everywhere, everywhere, are easy targets.

“When a run doesn’t work, he should have passed. When he passed, he should have run, right. It’s just too easy.

”

Or it is after you see if a play does or does not work. Gran’s players swear by him. They don’t second-guess him. When he went all-in on Bowden at quarterback, so did the entire offense and suddenly a one-dimensional offense got really hard for anybody to stop. In seven games, Bowden himself went over 1,000 yards and explosive plays just kept coming.

“What he’s done, you know, an enormous amount of stress and pressure on him and all of us,” Stoops said.

The UK coach said remembered when Gran and quarterbacks coach Darin Hinshaw decided to go full-time with Bowden at quarterback and build a package for him. Stoops and his coaches met several times going over options before Gran opted for Bowden.

“I’m going to say this: He really made the right decision. He did not back off with Lynn. When he made that decision, he moved forward,” Stoops said. “He really helped me because I come back Monday morning, are you sure about this, and what do you want to do.

“He kept on coming back to it and was very strong on his conviction and so was Darin Hinshaw and the staff, and as you can see, Lynn gives you so many options. There’s a lot of creative things you can do. You know, it gave us the best opportunity to win.
”

32 comments

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  1. I guess I can eat Crow as much as anyone else. I have chewed on Gran many times and I still do not like the fact that UK did not have a QB ready to step up and take the place of Wilson, without having to go the Grad Transfer route. I do blame Gran and Stoops for Hoak and Clark both leaving UK.
    That said, Stoops, Gran, and Brad White, have done what UK fans have been crying about for many years; WIN.
    Pretty or Not, enjoyable or not, right or wrong, they have Won at UK on a regular basis.
    There have been many, many years UK fans would be thrilled with 7 wins.
    When you lose the players UK lost from last years team and then lose what they lost during the season, I have to admit that Stoops, Gran, and White have done an outstanding job of winning games.
    I would still like to replay some of the games we lost, but since that is not possible, I will take the 7 wins, be happy, and enjoy the Bowl Game.
    Also, I think UK will be a monster next year!

    1. I will let others compliment Gran because I can’t with his whole body of work while at UK. Is Sawyer really that bad? I don’t think so. A real good OC would have developed a short passing game by now. Even though it has been working, I still find constantly pounding the middle very boring.

      1. We know, you been saying that after every game Stoops/ Gran win. Most real UK football fans are just thankful for the wins. I love to see a UK back pound the middle. I also like to see wins and winning seasons.

      2. @Mike:
        Ditch the couch and the Cheetos and get a life.
        Perhaps then, you won’t be so easily bored.
        I can’t imagine why anyone with an ounce of interest in football would find UK’s thrashing of Louisville’s middle to be “boring”.
        I’m not a huge fan of football, but I thoroughly enjoyed the game.

        1. Many times during the year we pounded the middle and nothing there and it was very boring and predictable. You run your campaign and I will run mine. There have been more objective FB fans during the year down on Gran because of his non-existent creative play calling.

          1. UK is7-5, and bowl bound, but this guy is unhappy, go figure! He is never able to just enjoy a good year for Kentucky football. Just on here to stir up strife even after a UK blowout win against their instate rival. You can’t be a Kentucky fan, not really.

            So Mike, limp on back to Louisville and maybe Satterfield is more to your liking, he throws it around a lot. You were popping off before the big game kind of like he was. How did that work out? I predict you will get very lonely on this site in the days ahead. I don’t think Stoops and Gran are going anywhere but staying in Lexington. So bale out while you can and save face. It won’t be so boring for you. You blew it on this blog.

            • HORNET1 on December 2, 2019 at 12:58 pm

            @Mike:
            I didn’t know we were running “campaigns”.
            If there is a “campaign” it’s coming from your corner.
            I know I am simply voicing my personal support for UK.
            Considering recent events and your declining to accept challenges, it appears to me that your intention is merely to troll this site. What little credibility (emphasis on little) you may have had in the past has vanished with the winds that swept your trolling partner away in disgrace. No doubt, YOU will be the only one who misses him.

  2. I think every coach on this UK staff deserve a ton of credit for this 7-5 finish. The season could have easily gone off the rails.

    1. Amen !!!

    2. Pup…..your predictions have no value or relevancy just like you. You have got to be the most INSECURE poster or imposter on this site. It’s ok to let go of your being bullied in the past.

      1. Well let’s see, one prediction of mine did. One “TROLL” down and one to go it seems to me. You are easy to rattle, really the easiest. Feeling lonesome now Mike? Get ready for more. LOL.

        1. You continue to be so insecure, lonely, and immature. Can’t you find some other pursuit to occupy your time? You may even be more boring than Gran up the middle. It is very obvious that I still own you. Ha Ha and Rah Rah!

          1. The only thing you own is calling the big UK win against Louisville boring. Hard days ahead for you Mike on this site. Better find a new site to push your BS. You are a marked man. LOL.

  3. I myself have been critical of Gran calling plays. But hey what the staff and players have went through I can’t complain. Go Cats!!!

  4. Pup regardless the cats win or lose there always be a troll on here. I really think there not a truly CAT fans. That what puzzle me.

  5. H1….time for you 2 sisters to move on to something more meaningful. Have you considered volunteering your time? They probably wouldn’t want it either.

  6. Weak comment there Mr. Cardinal, sort of like you. Like I said, you are busted on this UK site. No future for you here now boy. Especially without your Troll partner to back your nonsense. Also, Lynn Bowden running through and over Louisville Cardinals up the middle of gaping holes in the Louisville D Line, is anything but boring to a real UK fan. You are history. Listen…… Stoops 45…….. Satterfield 13. Is he coach of the year in ACC like you brought up before the football game? LOL

    1. Facts and truth reign supreme….you are still mine…back to your playground.

  7. Tell me TROLL, what facts and what truth do you speak of? You are history here and don’t even know it. I just want to remind you of the final score every chance I get. I can assure you Mr. Spartan Catmandoo1000 knows what it was. This is fact, and truth you didn’t expect. It was UK 45, Louisville 13. Gran’s offense racking up 517 yards in a punishing ground attack, with 284 yards going via Bowden up the middle. With only having to throw the football one time to Ali in the flat. Oh and let me add, you were bored. But I say instead of bored, you were devastated. Mainly because your weak side defense (CATMANDOO1000) got booted off this site and didn’t finish strong liked you begged him to do. I can see that little frowning, round red face of yours from here, and see the tears. History you are. GO CATS LOL

    1. Do you ever shut-up and stop spewing nonsense? You might be the most immature, insecure, lonely guy I know. Has family shut you off as well? UL now
      the real #1 in BB!!

      1. That was one of my former lines you copied “spewing nonsence” and you still are, lol. See what I mean Cat fans? This guy is a Cardinal for sure. Lonely ain’t it?

        1. Do you ever think of the fellow readers that have to put up with this? You idiot….just to show how stupid you are…I am a UK alum and continue to tell it like it is whether you like it or not.
          Feel free to disappear for awhile.

          1. Well pin a rose on your nose. Ain’t you a big shot!! I don’t care about your alumni status, could really care less. I still believe you are Cardinal fan. Fess up now, spill the beans. Oh, you tell it like it is do you? Well you missed some facts along the way. Last we heard out of you before the football game was how great Satterfield is. Gonna be hard jogging on this site for you boy. You are an easy to rattle target now. Talking about owning somebody, you are the Pupster’s lacky now. I say jump in one of my posts and you comply with a whimpy little retort that is so self serving and dull. You still think Bowden is boring? Come on let’s hear some more negative UK bashing, of our coaches and players. You are a TROLL hoss. LOL

          2. I sure wish you guys could just ignore each other

          3. OK Larry V. I will try and cut him some slack. He has suffered enough. I have said my piece. Sports, and sports talk, can many times be passionate, if you are a die hard. I will let hem be wrong if he wants to be, just kidding….LOL.

  8. Pup….Satterfield is great you idiot!…he is winningest 1st yr. coach ever at UL. Stoops ever lay claim to that?…you are as easy of a target as I have ever seen. You have got to walk around the playground with same on your back.

    1. I never said he wasn’t a good coach, he is. But he lost to Stoops in his first outing against him. As I recall going in, you didn’t give UK, of which you claim to be an alum (why don’t you act like one then?) had much of a chance. Hey Mike, a 45-13 UK win, NO, A ROUT! So, that makes Stoops 1-0 against Satterfield. I got another” CHALLENGE” for YOU, you want to hear it? By the way, where is your partner? LOL

      1. Truth and facts always prevail. Alums are not necessarily immune from divergent opinions, but they could very possibly trump your GED.

  9. You mean truth and facts like Stoops is now 1-0 against Satterfield, and that most UK Alums support their team. I was thinking more along the lines that UofL was your alma mater the way you talk about Satterfield, and Mack. You sure you got the right school?

    1. Are you really this lonely and insecure? I knew you would trip on your ego and not cut any slack. Go Mack Rah Rah!

      1. Mike, you appear to have learned well at the feet of your protege.
        Catmandoodoo taught you well.

        1. Your sister is trying to inculcate you.

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