LEXINGTON, Ky. — Eddie Gran held nothing back in his message to the offense after Kentucky’s spring scrimmage on Saturday.
“I told them that I was very disappointed and that they were awful,” the offensive coordinator said.
Gran was later asked if anyone on offense managed to impress him.
“No,” he said. “It was not good enough. We got no chance if we practice like that last 20 minutes.”
Kentucky held an open practice to the media for the first time this spring. Gran said he was happy with the first hour and a half of the morning practice, but everything fell apart in the final scrimmage session, he said. The first-team defense was stingy against the first-team offense.
Stephen Johnson, Benny Snell and company were stuffed for short gain after short gain.
“Today we had a really good beginning of the practice but offensively at the end we just — we sucked, to put it bluntly,” Johnson said.
And Johnson, entering the 2017 season as the leader of the offense, blamed himself.
“It’s all on me,” Johnson said. “This is my offense, this is my team. I have to be able to bring our guys up when we’re in a little lull like that. That’s really all on me for me not being able to pick those guys up.”
But the offensive miscues also represented defensive improvement. A few standouts, according to defensive coordinator Matt House, were linebackers Josh Allen, Jordan Jones and defensive tackle Adrian Middleton. Redshirt freshman defensive back Tobias Gilliam also made a few plays, including a pick six off quarterback Gunnar Hoak.
Johnson said sophomore defensive back Jordan Griffin has impressed him. Griffin is learning the nickel position as projected starter Kendall Randolph is out after ankle surgery.
“He’s a guy that has an unbelievable work ethic,” Mark Stoops said of Griffin. “Just a quality kid and he’s very talented. But things that happen in there, it is experience. It’s trial and error at that position.”
But things were working for Griffin and his defensive teammates Saturday morning. Junior cornerback Chris Westry said the defense increased its intensity once the scrimmage portion started.
“It’s really nothing to describe it, Westry said. “When you’re in the moment, they have a saying that it’s 11 one-on-ones. ‘Are you gonna win or are you gonna get beat?'”
The defense won and the offense got beat.
“I think they’re drinking some Kool-Aid and it’s bad Kool-Aid and I’ve got to get them to quit drinking,” Gran said of his offense. “We’ll get that fixed. It was an absolute joke.”