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Mark Stoops & Eddie Gran talk offensive struggles, leaders, more

A recap of everything Gran and Stoops said Saturday as they were not happy with UK's offensive performance during their latest scrimmage.

The Kentucky Wildcats have just one more week of spring football before heading off into the offseason.

Once next Saturday's spring game finishes, the cats won't be back on the practice field until summer camp begins, so it's imperative they finish the spring on a high note, especially on offense with a new coordinator in Eddie Gran.

Well, they're not on pace to do that after a poor showing during today's scrimmage. Judging by what Gran and Mark Stoops had to say, it was easily one of, if not the worst performance the offense has had this spring.

And here's a recap of what Gran had to say today:

On offense struggling today
"It was absolutely awful. There was no juice. That's coaches' fault. That's everybody on our side of the ball: You've got to get them ready to come out. We've had 10 practices in a row where we've had a lot of juice and enthusiasm. I talked about that on Thursday. D.J. (Eliot) talked about that, the enthusiasm coming out.

"You've got to come out and you've got to be ready to play. Coach talked about growing, growing and maturing, and we didn't do that. It was awful. We lost up front. We didn't convert. We were off targets on throws. Just it wasn't good. I didn't have them ready to go and it has to be fixed."

On if this was that wall he predicted they'd hit
"We've got it all in. There's no excuse for that. The wall should've happened two or three days ago. It shouldn't have happened today. Not on a scrimmage. Not in the stadium. That should not have happened."

On no leaders on field
"Leaders. The one thing we talked about. Talked about who's going to be the leader on this offense. When things go down, you can't be up, down, up, down. Once something goes down, get them back consistent and be a leader. Who was that guy. I didn't hear a soul out there. So absolutely. We've got to find those leaders and we've got to find them fast."

On players this spring who have shown potential to be leaders
"Yeah. They've got the potential. But everybody worries about what are they going to think of me and their peers and all that, and that's horse crud. We've got to make sure we get that fixed. We'll bring some guys in and we'll talk about it and make sure we come to work on Tuesday with some guys not only guys with enthusiasm, but guys who are going to lead.

"And it's going to be real leading, it's not going to be fake. It's going to be guys who have earned that leadership, they come out every day and the work. Guys that can be respected. I've talked to a couple of them about it, but it wasn't good enough today. At the end of the day, it's on me. They weren't ready to go and we'll get that fixed."

On if he saw anything positive situationally
"I did. Yeah. I did. At the end, we had two two-minute situations and we had two minutes with the one timeout and we had to score a touchdown and we scored a touchdown twice. That was positive. It's never as good as you think; it's never as bad as you think.

"But for us to have to go down there and go to the end to have something positive happen is ridiculous. That's not good enough."

On putting this behind them going into last week of spring
"Well, the last thing I said to them, I said, well, we talk about recovering. We talk about having short-term memories. This is over with. We've got to correct it. Monday they've got to come to work like pros. We've got to get everything fixed, get it done, go to Tuesday, install nothing and whatever we do we execute it and take a step forward.

"The next four practices, we've got to get better. So it's going to be no problem getting going into this summer getting better. We're going to get better."

On if they saw a new side of him today
"No. We went. We called. We tried to get them in a good situations, get them short, easy throws quickly when things weren't going well. And we just didn't execute it. So like I said, we score 10 times in a row or we don't I'm going to try to keep even keel and make sure that they know we have to, at the end of the day, if we go three and out, that the next series we've got to go and put that behind and go score a touchdown.

"They won't be like that on Tuesday. I can guarantee you that. They're going to come and we're going to go to work. As long as there's competitive stuff going on. If they break up a pass and a guy and then the next one, we make a great catch, that's what I didn't see today. I didn't see that competitiveness.

"I didn't see that contested stuff that's been going on. We've got to get that going on Tuesday."

And here's a recap of what Stoops had to say.

On what UK accomplished
"I thought we made some improvement defensively today. Certainly the defense came out with more energy. I was disappointed for the first time all spring with just the mentality of our offense. I don't know if it's cold out here, windy, but it's not excuse. Just was not up to par. I was pleased they did some situations very well.

"We did quite a bit of situational work in third downs. We did some third-and-shorts, we did some goal-line and we did some two-minute, and they executed in some situations well. But overall it just was not good enough offensively. Defensively I'll have to see the tape, whether it was defensively making big gains or just the offense not executing and playing very well.

"So, I don't want to take anything away defensively, because I thought we did have good juice, good energy and made some improvement in our run defense, which we needed to see and we saw that today. But overall, just in my opinion, just not good enough. It didn't feel good enough, it didn't feel like we had the right passion and energy out here.

"That was the first time all spring. It's not good enough and not acceptable, and we'll continue to push them.

On Eddie Gran was getting on players
"Sounds like he is, but they need it. It's hard. That's just it: You know that's been our story. We've been too much hot and cold, and we need to be consistent. We've harped on that all along."

On if he thinks they've developed the leaders on offense needed to respond to a day like this
"It is. As I've said before, every day is a learning opportunity and today we have to learn from this, what's not acceptable and where we do need the leadership. Like I said, I do want to credit Drew (Barker) and some of our receivers in they threw the ball in some great spots in two-minute and in some situational drills. They did respond, which was good to see, instead of just laying an egg all day. So, that was definitely a positive."

On what he liked about the defense
"It just seemed like - Mike Edwards made a fantastic play, the first play of the scrimmage. Overall up front we were definitely more stout up front and the pass rush was improved as well. Josh Allen had some nice rushes."

On saying this week he was actually pretty pleased with the defensive line
"Well, I just think we know we have some work to do, but I know we'll improve. I knew early on there were some things that we could get corrected. That's why you've got to go live and scrimmage and do those things, but today you saw that improvement."