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Nick Haynes: “With those running backs, why wouldn’t you (run the ball).”

JoJo Kemp talks to media members, including Samantha Stallings. (Vicky Graff Photo)

JoJo Kemp talks to media members, including Samantha Stallings. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

If junior guard Nick Haynes is right, Kentucky’s veteran offensive line has learned a lot of lessons.

“I think you can see from the Missouri and EKU games (last year) that we had a lot of continuity with the redshirts. Just the experience. We all knew this should be the year we play together. We are redshirt juniors and have been playing since our freshmen year,” said Haynes

“We should be able to do better things on the field and you can see it out here. We are putting a lot of stress on our defense right now, and they need that.”

Many speculate that new offensive coordinator Eddie Gran — and head coach Mark Stoops — wants to run the ball more this year.

“We have a balanced attack, but coach Gran has a heavy emphasis on running the ball, which is good for offensive linemen,” Haynes said. “We love that. The run game slows the pass rush down. Eddie Gran does love running the ball, so we probably will hand it off a lot. With those running backs, why wouldn’t you.”

Those running backs include Boom Williams and JoJo Kemp who have had some football analysts rank UK’s back as the fourth best in the SEC.

“I really don’t try to pay attention to what media puts out because anything can happen. No disrespect to anybody, but anything can be misconstrued,” tackle Kyle Meadows said. “We might be No. 4 or whatever. We could be No. 1. It just depends on how the team plays and that is how we get our ratings. I don’t believe in best running back or best lineman. It’s about how we come together as a team.

“But I love all our running backs from the old guys to the freshmen because they all put in work.”

So will  UK run more this year?

“Right now it is looking like a possibility. We are just keeping an open mind to what coach Gran wants from us. We are just going with that. We are focusing on getting better no matter what the defense can throw at us,” Meadows said.

2 comments

  1. TheProfessor

    Balanced Attack: We hear it every year. Last year, UK ran the ball on 51.3% of snaps. Of the other 13 SEC teams and UL, only 3 ran the ball less than UK last year. The three that ran the ball less often are Miss. St (46.1%), Mississippi (48.6%), and TAMU (51.2%). The average run percentage for these 15 teams was 56.0%. The maximum running occurred at Auburn (65.7%), LSU (64.5%), and Tennessee (62.4%).

    The title of this piece suggests UK should want to run the ball more. I believe that is a correct premise. However, success depends on the ability to actually do it. When running the ball is problematic, there is a tendency to shift to more passing, which puts more pressure on the passing game than would exist if the run game is successful and can set up the pass option.

    I hope that this season sees UK with a run attack that represents about 55% of the plays from scrimmage.

    Here is the data:

    Team Run Pass
    Kentucky 51.3% 48.7%
    02@FLA 55.7% 44.3%
    04USC 54.7% 45.3%
    05@ALA 59.0% 41.0%
    06VANDY 56.8% 43.2%
    07MSU 46.1% 53.9%
    08@MIZZOU 51.6% 48.4%
    09UGA 59.8% 40.2%
    10@TENN 62.4% 37.6%
    12@UL 54.6% 45.4%
    AUBURN 65.7% 34.3%
    ARKANSAS 57.8% 42.2%
    LSU 64.5% 35.5%
    MISS 48.6% 51.4%
    TAMIU 51.2% 48.8%

    Average 56.0% 43.9%
    Maximum 65.7% 53.9%
    Minimum 46.1% 34.3%
    Std Dev 5.7% 5.9%

    1. Larry Pup

      Good RB’s matter, no doubt, I agree, but the Oline has much to do with how well you run the football in the league UK plays in. No holes to run through, little success. The trick is to have as good or better athletes as your opponent does. UK has not had that, but maybe that is changing.

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