Jen Smith on UK Football

Q&A: Gran on line consistency, offensive identity and Georgia run defense

EDDIE GRAN

On how important Jon Toth’s consistency has been at center as other guys have rotated around him: “He’s gotten a lot of reps. He’s really done a good job. As a matter of fact, we used some other centers today just to get them some more reps today because we’ve talked about that. Bunchy (Stallings) got some center reps today just to get him a little break because he has had a lot of reps. He’s the quarterback, he’s the one who gets it done and he’s done a fantastic job for us.”

On if the offensive line is now getting the credit they deserve: “Yeah I think it’s pretty awesome, you know. They’ve worked really hard at the stuff we talked about this summer. It’s like I told them today, you know, when we talked about our message from Coach Stoops: If they think they’ve arrived then we’re in trouble. And we got to keep that edge. But yes, I am proud of them and their success. But we’ve got a long way to go.”

On how Sihiem King has progressed: “He’s been unbelievable. The one guy who hasn’t gotten any reps. He’s making a huge impact on special teams and he’s come out and worked his tail off. Like I tell him, you’ve got to be ready every week. You’ve gotta be, when we call your name, you’ve gotta be ready to go. And I thought he was ready to go this week and thought he was the week before that. So, when he gets his opportunity, we assume he’s going to do the right things.”

On if there’s any fear that Boom and Benny will wear down with their number of carries: “I think because we’ve been able to have three go, I think to this point right now, it’s the finish line. That’s part of being at that position. I don’t, hopefully knock on wood nothing happens and we’re still gonna be healthy and keep rolling. Sihiem’s ready if he’s gotta go. Jojo’s ready if he’s gotta go. We still have four backs who can get it done.”

On the offense finding its identity and if defenses are responding to it: “I think every week people change. You know, I really do. I think that’s helped us in some of the wrinkles that we’ve done as we’ve grown. I think you’ve gotta be prepared at halftime when people are doing something different to you. But, at the end of the day, defenses are going to do what they do and offenses are going to do what they do. We’ve got a package. They know what our base stuff is every week. It’s about executing then, and that’s what good defenses do. They run the same thing a lot and they’re really effective at it.”

On what makes Georgia’s run defense so good: “Coach Smart, those guys do a great job. They’re big, they’re fast, they’re talented, they understand what gaps to fill, they’re hard to move. And they understand schemes and where to go. They know how to two gap, and block down and play off blocks. So, it’s going to be a huge challenge for us. I’m really excited about it for Saturday.”

On if he’s had a lot of quarterbacks improve as much as Stephen has this season: “No, I think he really has. I think part of that growing process, he took a huge step in the game. We still got some things to clean up but he really threw the long ball well and made some big plays and they were explosive plays which obviously helps the run game. But yeah, I think in all my years of coaching, for a guy that really wasn’t planning on coming in and having this much, being our starter, he has really improved a lot.”

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