Jen Smith on UK Football

Q&A: Eddie Gran on Kentucky’s success running ball, Johnson reset

EDDIE GRAN

On what the offense got out of the bye week: “We got a lot better. Just techniques, fundamentals. I know it’s a cliché, but that’s what you have to do on a bye week. Really excited. Can’t wait for Saturday. Cannot wait to get out there and play again. It’s hard. It’s great for taking a week off, but when you get in a rhythm and you go week to week it’s great for the mental part, it’s great for the physical part but now we’ve got to come out, we’ve got to make sure we stay on track.”

On if he saw Stephen Johnson get a chance to mentally reset over the weekend: “I did. He did a nice job today. We’re still missing on a couple things, but that’s going to happen. I think our target throws are a lot better. The receivers had a really good practice today, and really excited about it. Excited for him to get back on the field too and get better.”

On any similarities between Mississippi State’s defense and Vanderbilt: “You know, Mississippi State, they do a great job. They mix it up, a lot of multiple coverages, but this is about us. This thing is going to totally be about us. We’ve got to take care of the football, we’ve got to make sure that we stay ahead of the chains. This will be about Kentucky football, that’s it.”

On what he attributes rushing success to: “Well, in any offense you’ve got to run the ball first. You preach it, and I think our offensive line has done a really good job over the summer when we talked about the movement. I think they’re handling the movement better, and I think the backs are hitting it up in there. Benny (Snell) has done a good job in bringing some physicality along with Jojo (Kemp). I think the last three week’s he’s gotten better and he looks healthy. Then you’ve got Boom (Williams) who’s got the explosiveness and that really helps. You can do a lot of things formationally, you can do a lot of things to help the run game. So, with our RPOs and everything else, our run-pass option stuff, we’ve got to be really good at that when we have our opportunities, and I think that helps all of your run game.”

On if he takes noticed when Vanderbilt shuts down Florida and Georgia run game but they have so much success in that area: “No. I mean, we’ve got to do whatever it takes to win the game. It’s great because we have run the ball, but you can get in that situation where you don’t run it very well and you’ve got to throw it to be successful. So, we’re trying to take whatever they give us. We want to run the ball, but we also want to pass the ball and we’ve got to be successful and we’ve got to be efficient when we do that.”

On what Bunchy Stallings showed to earn a starting job: “His athleticism. He really does a good job of when he sticks on people, moving his feet. He brings some physicality to, so you’ve got those two guy going in there (Stallings and Logan Stenberg) and then Ramsey (Meyers). It gives us – the stuff we’re doing with our offensive line, John (Schlarman) has really done a good job of managing those guys. And they’re healthy. When you play 60, 70, 80 snaps, they’re pretty much splitting them. I think that’s been huge. We talked about that earlier: When you get to game six through 12, 13, that’s when this is really going to help us.”

On if Stallings and Meyers will continue to split snaps: “Yes. Yeah, yeah. And, you know, John, he’s going to see how it goes. I think that’s been really good for us, for them to get series off and then to come back in. I think it keeps them hungry too.”

On if Boom Williams has carries over his good bye week: “Yeah. He’s had three great days last week. I can’t wait to watch him. I’m excited about him. He’s excited to get back on the field and go. We’re right on track with that.”

On how he keeps wide receivers motivated when they aren’t getting many catches: “Again, it’s a team sport. Sometimes there’s going to be a game where they get a lot of catches. It might be this week. It might be the next week. They just want to win. They’ve been really good. There’s some times where there’s some pouting, but I think they’ve done a great job and they’ve been really good on the sideline. So, they just want to win.”

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