Jen Smith on UK Football

Practice report: Eddie Gran stresses third downs for good reason

Kayaune Ross believes he will play

Kayaune Ross, a junior college transfer wide receiver, believes he has earned playing time with his strong play in camp. Ross has caught three touchdown passes in UK's two scrimmages.
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Kayaune Ross, a junior college transfer wide receiver, believes he has earned playing time with his strong play in camp. Ross has caught three touchdown passes in UK's two scrimmages.

▪  Stressing consistency: After Saturday’s scrimmage, offensive coordinator Eddie Gran was displeased with things he saw from the first team offense. That was mostly an issue on third down. “We didn’t throw and catch on third down, bottom line,” he said, noting it was identical plays, identical throws and poor execution. “We made them the first one, didn’t the second one. That’s where it comes down to the consistency part.” Third-down percentages have been putrid for UK the past few seasons. Cincinnati, where Gran and Darin Hinshaw were running the offense last season, was second-best in the nation on third down, hitting on them 51 percent of the time. Kentucky’s offense was 85th nationally at 37.5 percent. UK hasn’t been better than that percentage wise since 2012. Most telling, in losses last season, the Cats’ third-down percentage dropped to 33.3 percent. In wins, they were hitting 43 percent.

▪  Following a script: In the past, Gran and Hinshaw have scripted a set number of plays to start a game. After the break, the two will get together and script the first two series to see what they can do to get their quarterback going or help the line get better protection. Part of the scripting before game days will involve asking quarterback Drew Barker which plays are his favorites. A lot of times I’ll text him on Thursday night and say, ‘Give me your top 10,’” Gran said. “Then that way I know when the crud is hitting the fan I know what he feels comfortable with.”

▪  Camp comes to a close: After a final two-a-day on Monday, Kentucky finished fall camp without much fanfare on Tuesday, will give the players the day off on Wednesday for the start of classes and start diving into Southern Miss. Gran admitted, he’s already gotten a jump on that. “Been watching tons of film already,” he said. “We’ve been ahead. … We’ve already been walking through, doing what we need to do for them. Getting a start, and a nice introduction.”

▪  Red shirts or blue jerseys: Gran said there have been no determinations on what players will sit this season and what players will be on the field, noting that it’s a decision that will be made now that camp is over. Gran, Mark Stoops and special teams coordinator Matt House will work together to make those decisions.

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