By LARRY VAUGHT
Ryan Simmons seems to have been rejuvenated by the arrival of offensive coordinator Eddie Gran and coaches Darin Hinshaw and Lamar Thomas.
So what has happened to the former Franklin County star who had an impressive freshman season but has not had the same production the last two years?
“No. 1 being a senior, he’s been around a long time. And I’ll tell you this: He’s playing with great energy, great leadership, and he’s leading by example on the field, which is exactly what you want a senior doing. So that’s going to bring a lot,” Hinshaw said. “We still have a ways to go, but Timmons is definitely leading and doing a great job and we like that.”
Hinshaw said the offense empowers receivers but also expects results.
“We let them get invested in the offense. So not only do they know their route, but how can they help themselves? Also, how can they help their buddy? How can they help the guy next to them? It’s not just about me, it’s about the team,” Hinshaw said. “And then playing with tons of effort. And again, we’re going to roll a lot of guys in the game – we’re going to play with multiple guys – so yes, we want them to be invested and be able to create.”
Kentucky coach Mark Stoops recently joked that he told Timmons not to “make me regret complementing you” and that he needs to stay consistent.
“I just hope he finds that niche that he needs and just settles in, because I don’t know whether he was pressing too much or not pressing enough. I’m not sure, but he needs to continue to fundamentally learn to play wide receiver and then do what he does,” Stoops said. “That’s make some yards after catch. He’s got some talent, he can run the football and he’s dynamic after he catches the ball.”
Stoops said players have to find a “niche” and coaches have to find ways to help players like Timmons do that.
“I talked about him going into last season, that I thought he would have a breakout year and have a really good year. It was disappointing for him and it was disappointing for us. So, he knows that,” Stoops said. “We have end-of-season meetings, and we’re very clear on the progress that our players make. So he knew where he stood with us, and he needs to make a giant step.”