By LARRY VAUGHT
Eddie Gran was a running backs coach in the Southeastern Conference from 1998-2009 at Mississippi, Auburn and Tennessee before spending three years as associate coach/offensive coordinator at Florida State where he got to know Mark Stoops.
The last three years, Gran was offensive coordinator for a productive offense at Cincinnati before Stoops managed to persuade him to join his staff at UK in December.
Gran said his three years at Cincinnati were the “best thing for me” in terms of learning. That’s one reason he was not interested in coming to Kentucky before.
“It was a lot of learning. I mean, I made a lot of mistakes, still going to make them, still going to make them, but it does, it feels more comfortable,” said Gran.
That’s why he felt he was ready to accept Stoops’ offer to come back to the SEC a few months ago.
“You learn a lot when you’re calling plays for the first time and the bullets start flying, you talk about your players, I’m going to tell you now, it’s something different. You’re in no huddle and you get a first down on the 18-yard line and you have to get a play called, I mean, it happens fast and some of them, I’ve done really good at and some of them, I’ve done really bad at,” Gran said.
“Hopefully I can learn from that and when that situation comes up again, man, I’m going to be ‘Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom.’”
Thursday’s practice did not go exactly that way. He said quarterback Drew Barker was “inconsistent” after having a superb scrimmage Saturday. Gran said he threw too many interceptions.
“I did see some good things, but we’re going to stay on him. Those guys have to be great. They just can’t be average. They can’t be inconsistent. If they’re inconsistent then we’re in trouble,” Gran said.
“We were inconsistent today. We weren’t as good as we need to be. There’s no excuse for that. On offense you have to be consistent. We have to be better on first down efficiency. We’re throwing on third downs, we’re on red zones, so we’re getting all of the situations. In the scrimmage last week we were really good on third down. Here, I think we were probably a little bit less today on third down. We’ll see when we go in there and we chart it.”
Gran said he has no problems with the team’s effort and likes how players are having fun. Now he wants the mental part to improve.
“It’s time for you to learn it and it’s time for you now—this is where technique takes place. If you want to win outside as a receiver, up front, it’s all about technique. Perfect steps, know where to go and do it fast,” Gran said.