Not protecting football “inexcusable”

Stephen Johnson (Larry Vaught/Verizon Photo)

Stephen Johnson (Larry Vaught/Verizon Photo)


Stephen Johnson got his first chance to play quarterback for Kentucky in last week’s loss at Florida  in relief of starter Drew Barker. Just like Barker, he had trouble with the Gator defense.

“He did some good things. The first quarterback run was really good by him. The second one, not so good,” offensive coordinator Eddie Gran said. “You’ve got to protect the football. And at the end of the day, that’s what we’ve got to do, that’s what we talk to all of our quarterbacks about is we can’t have any more turnovers.

“At the end of the day, we’ve got to protect the ball. That’s our baby. It’s inexcusable. But that’s everybody involved. It’s our offensive line protecting. It’s our running backs protecting. It’s the receivers getting off the line of scrimmage. It’s everybody. Everybody’s got their responsibility and that’s what we talked about. They saw it on film and that’s what they’re working on right now. And that’s what we have to have is an urgency.”

What about Barker? How does he get him back to playing like he did the first half against Southern Mississippi?

“Consistent is the key to this game. I talked about that, I think, all training camp. We can’t be up and down and we got to be able to sustain drives. We gotta be better on third down. That’s the bottom line. We’ve gotta find better throws for him, we got to get open, we got to protect, and again, it goes back to the execution of the offense and me putting him in a better situation,” Gran said.


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  1. Well at least he isn’t BS’ing anyone. Stating the obvious maybe but I’ll take that.

  2. There is a strong basis for this concern.


    Through two games, UK has turned the ball over at an alarming rate, once every 21.9 plays from scrimmage. To put that into context, the average rate for UK’s 2016 opponents has been once every 50.0 plays, and for the SEC, the average has been once every 50.7 plays.

    Only one UK opponent is even close to UK’s rate, UL has committed a turnover once every 28.5 plays. At the other end of the spectrum, Florida and New Mexico State have protected their possessions best, committing one turnover ever 83.6 and 83.0 plays respectively.

    One factor that has exacerbated UK’s turnover tendencies has been the minimal number of plays from scrimmage they have run this season so far.

    1. I’m surprised that we have run enough plays to use the “normal curve” or z distribution. It sort of makes the standard deviations a little close together, I would think! I guess mathematically it does not make sense to the t scale either. Too many events. I wonder if there is enough skew in the data to use the f scale? But you’re right – it is troubling.

  3. They have not run enough plays because the defense can’t get off the field. Look at UK’s time of possession in the first two games. Can’t run your offense if the defense is on the field all day. It’s real simple.

  4. chicken or egg? Can’t place it all on the defense when the offense can’t seem to get first downs and stay on the field when it has the chance.

    1. I agree with that.

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