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UK has personnel Gran can use to run football

Kentucky has more yards rushing than passing this year. (Wade Upchuch Photo)

Kentucky has more yards rushing than passing this year. (Wade Upchuch Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

When  Neal Brown was offensive coordinator at Kentucky, he wanted to have a solid running game but it was hard to do with the personnel he had.

Brown is now head coach at Troy and his team is 6-1. The only loss came at Clemson.

So how has Brown, regarded as an “Air Raid guy” by many, handled the offense this year. Troy has rushed for 1,392 yards and 14 touchdowns while passing for 1,979 yards and 16 scores. Not exactly 50-50, but a nice balance.

Kentucky is 4-3 this year and offensive coordinator Eddie Gran was known for his high scoring offense at Cincinnati that included a lot of big pass plays.

But this season Kentucky has rushed for 1,379 yards and 12 scores and passed for 1,244 yards and nine touchdowns.

“What you see with Eddie right now is you see the talent that he has and the experience that he has. Because when I hired him from Cincinnati – him and Coach (Darrin) Hinshaw – they were super-fast and they were throwing the heck out of the football,” Stoops said.

“But I know Eddie’s roots. I know who he is. And he’s an experienced coach. We want to play with balance. If we can play fast, we’ll play fast. If we need to spread people out, we will. At Cincinnati they had five talented wide receivers and experienced quarterbacks. They threw the heck out of the ball.

“But he knows how to run the ball, he knows how to put stress on a defense. We set things up well and we’ve morphed into a team that has found a way to win games, however that may be. I think early in the game Saturday (against Mississippi State), it goes unnoticed, but when you start the game with four straight three-and-outs (by the defense) and you have a 15-play drive – even though you’d love to see it even with three, we can’t have that missed field goal, because you start with three-and-outs and you’re getting a 15-play drive. The three would’ve been big there because you’re controlling things, you’re setting things up for later in the game.

“So I think that helped even though it was 0-0, we ended up going down at half. We were still in good control with still some turnovers and the kickoff return in the second quarter.”

7 comments

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  1. Andy

    While the stats are good for Neal, he is not in the same conference as us. We are averaging nearly 200 rush yards per game. If we can keep this up, we certainly have chances to make a bowl. Here is to hoping we can beat Mizzou.

  2. Larry Pup

    Neal has done a great job at Troy so far. While they are not in the mighty SEC, and by the way, the SEC East is as weak as I have ever seen it in my day, Troy has played some common foes UK has already faced. They beat Southern Miss 37-31 in Hattiesburg, at the Rock, a tough place to play. They also beat NMS 52-6. They gave Clemson a good game, but lost. No shame there. Neal has them rolling. at 6-1.

  3. Norman Einstein

    Have no clue why UK is an underdog in this game but it makes great bulletin board material (if they still even have bulletin boards in locker rooms these days). Mizzou has had a tough time defending the run and don’t run the ball very well either. If we can keep their passing game in check and take care of the football, we should get the job done.

  4. RJ

    I look for Mizzou to block up the middle and make Johnson beat them with his arm. I can’t see them actually accomplishing that but that’s what they will try. If we can pass with some efficiency, I think we can come out of this a winner.

    1. Larry Vaught

      RJ. I am with you on what Missouri defense will try to do

  5. RJ

    BTW. While I think the cats are turning the corner in many areas, I would not want to go up against Troy State right now with this team. Troy has the big Mo going for it at present and our secondary is a bit thin. Talented but thin.

    1. Norman Einstein

      Yep. Neal is doing a great job at Troy.

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