By LARRY VAUGHT
Consistency is what offensive coordinator Eddie Gran sees between quarterback Drew Barker and his receivers. But there’s also one more important thing he sees from the receivers.
“I just see guys not being selfish,” he said.
May not sound like a big deal, but that is.
Receivers tend to want the ball. When some don’t get it enough, they pout. That means they won’t run routes as hard at times or will not block. Gran wants none of that.
“There’s one football and there’s going to be a time when Juice (Garrett Johnson) and Jeff Badet catch two balls in a game and you know what? The next week they’re going to catch eight. How are they going to act after they catch two? How are they going to act after they catch one and we win the game?” Gran said.
“Then there’s going to be that time. Maybe you lose that game. What’s our reaction going to be. That’s what I’m looking forward to. You’ve got to move on. You’ve got to be able to have a short-term memory and go to the next game. I want to see them when they don’t get the ball, are they running? Are they sprinting? Are they helping out their partner?
“When we get — and that’s what’s happening right now — I’m really exciting. They have bought in. And Saturday night there’s going to be some times when it’s not going to be so fun. There’s going to be some ups and downs. That’s what I can’t wait for: How are we going to respond to the downs?”
You might also pay attention to how Gran tries to use UK’s taller receivers against smaller Southern Mississippi defensive backs Saturday night on ESPNU.
“You have to throw the deep post; you’ve got to throw the short posts. You’ve got to throw the slants. When you’re in the red zone, you’ve got to be able to catch a fade and absolutely. Those tall guys you can do that, use the inside guys for speed vertically down the field and stretch them horizontally, so love those big receivers out there, to try and bang them,” Gran said.
“Sometimes you can have a guy right on you with those big guys and they can basketball you and that, but you’ve got to catch them. You’ve got to compete. That’s what I think I’ve seen from them. They’ve made competitive catches and now they’ve got to do it when the lights are on.”