LEXINGTON, Ky. — Offensive coordinator Eddie Gran was confident in his own matter-of-fact manner after Tuesday’s practice as he glowed about the Wildcats progression in the pass game.
Sophomore quarterback Drew Barker appears poised in his role and the connections he’s made with his deep group of receivers.
“The level of play has definitely raised in that position group and I think the depth is really one of the main things I saw this whole camp,” Barker said. “Even when the (second-string) receivers had to go in there, they were making as many plays as the first team guys. Like I said, we just have to keep carrying that over into Saturdays and it definitely keeps those guys locked in because they know if they have a drop or mess up, their backups are going to be going right in.”
With Barker at quarterback, Boom Williams and company in the backfield and a talented group of pass catchers, Gran likes where his unit is.
“The receivers have bought into what we want to do,” Gran said. “The running backs, and as long as your quarterback’s progressing and there’s not too much conceptually, you can move on like that. I like where our bank is right now for that.”
What we know:
The Wildcats offense will give Barker the chance to make decisions with his feet: “I think it might just depend on what I guess the scheme is,” Barker said. “But pretty much on all our run plays it’s a zone read so I can run it based on any run play we have.”
Backup quarterback Stephen Johnson has impressed Barker so far in camp: “He had two good scrimmages this camp and he’s done really well,” Barker said. “He’s accurate, he’s got a good skillset when he can run too, he makes good decisions. He’s done a great job this camp. He’s a great addition to our team and he’s a really good guy too.”
Tight ends are expected to have a role in Gran’s offense and the coordinator is excited: “They’re getting up to 95 percent,” Gran said. “C.J. (Conrad) had a really great day, Greg (Hart) did, too. Justin (Rigg).
The Cats have got more from camp than expected, especially from the offensive line: “Got more in terms of capacity of the install,” Gran said. “These guys have done a great job, as I’ve talked about, they’ve got to be a sponge. But we’re really smart up front. Those guys really know what to do and they understand it.”
Gran said he “absolutely” scripts plays to start the game and has a pretty good idea of what he’s going to come out with in the second half.
Gran talks with Barker before the game to make sure he and the quarterback are in sync: “Yeah, we’ll talk,” Gran said. “We’ll talk before the week is up and say, ‘Hey, what do you love?’ A lot of times I’ll text him on Thursday night and say, ‘Give me your top 10.’ Then that way I know when the crud is hitting the fan I know what he feels comfortable with.”
Quote of the day:
Gran on changing the culture at Kentucky:
“I don’t think it’s me. I think it’s everybody collectively, with Coach Stoops and the culture. He’s said it’s time. It’s time to grow up. It’s time to finish. He’s had a buttload of not, and you got to be accountable. And we’ve held them accountable. We’re going right from the head football coach.”