By LARRY VAUGHT
Quarterback Stephen Johnson had what offensive coordinator Eddie Gran had a “really good day” of practice Tuesday as Kentucky gets ready to play at Louisville on Saturday.
“They do a great job on defense. They’re multiple, they’re athletic, they’re hard to move up front. They’re fourth in the country, I think, in run defense and they’re one of the top defenses in the country. So, we’ve got our hands full,” Gran said Tuesday.
“We’ve got to do a great job. We’ve got to sustain blocks. We’ve got to get to the second level. I think they’re safeties tackle well. We’re going to have to do a really good job.”
Gran said the Cardinals are good against the run because they understand blocks and have strength in the defensive front.
“When you down block they are going to try to play over. When you zone block they understand how to press. They get it. They’re coached very well,” Gran said.
While Louisville’s run defense ranks among the nation’s best, Gran said it should not overwhelm UK’s line that has been named a semifinalist for the Joe Moore Award that recognizes the nation’s top offensive line. Kentucky is averaging 242 yards per game rushing and 5.5 yards per attempt.
In the last nine games when UK has gone 6-3, the Cats are averaging 275 yards rushing per game.
‘Vanderbilt had a good defense, Florida, Alabama. Every defense that we’ve faced this year has been pretty good up front. At the end of the day it does become about us, our technique, our footwork, how we communicate. That’s what we’ve done a great job of,” Gran said. “We’ve done a really good job of just communicating and guys knowing and seeing indicators so when you do have that movement we’re able to pick it up.”
Gran noticed the entire offense having more energy at Tuesday’s practice during rivalry week.
“They know what this game means, but like coach said at the beginning of the week it’s about us. We’ve got to go play our best game, especially on the road. But I did like their energy today when they were out there. I thought our execution was really good today,” Gran said.