By now it is no secret that fans are extremely dissatisfied with the play-calling efforts of offensive coordinator Eddie Gran. For weeks the frustration has been mounting upon UK’s inability to score points. This was only magnified following Kentucky’s 24-7 blowout-loss in Knoxville, where Kentucky looked dreadful on offense.
Lynn Bowden, who had 6 receptions for 57 yards and two rushes for 1 total yard against the Vols, was a non-factor. His longest catch of the day was for 16 yards.
The first quarter of the game was telling as Benny Snell touched the ball over 10 times, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing unless the entire stadium knows it’s coming. This type of “Snell or Bust” mentality will have to change if Kentucky wants to finish the season 9-3 and, potentially, get a major bowl victory.
It has become apparent that the Cats must find different ways to spread the ball around to their play-makers, including Bowden, if they want to finish this season on a high note. And Middle Tennessee State, who the Cats play this upcoming weekend, is bowl eligible and will be sure to put up a fight.
And here is what Eddie Gran had to say on Tuesday about getting his offense ready for the Blue Raiders.
“Really good football team,” Gran said of MTSU. “They really own that conference (Conference USA) and have done a heck of a job. We’re going to have to be detailed in what we do.”
And I would add that they need to get the ball to Lynn Bowden as much as possible.
On the season, Bowden leads all UK receivers with 55 catches for 566 yards and 3 touchdowns. However, a large portion of that production came during his break-out performance at Missouri when Bowden caught an insane 13 passes for 166 yards. That game alone should exemplify that his talents have been underutilized to this point.
Lynn Bowden needs the ball in his hands at every opportunity, including returning punts/kicks.
If you ask him yourself, he would tell you not to sleep on him.
Snooze if you won’t but not on me ♂️— Lynn Bowden (@H_Huncho) November 13, 2018
While there is still time for the offense to get back on track, Terry Wilson’s confidence will play a major role in that happening. Wilson has been scrutinized a lot this season for making bad decisions and being indecisive. I believe that he did a much better job in Knoxville, but there is still a lot of room for improvement. Working through his progressions and having time to throw the ball may be the most critical components for Wilson and this UK offense.
The Cats have tried some screen passes to get guys like Bowden involved, but it hasn’t really produced much. Opening up the playbook and effectively moving the ball downfield have to be a priority, as this team finishes up the last two games of the season.
A player like Lynn Bowden is too special to not make an impact on each and every game. He was brought here from the state of Ohio, specifically to be that big-time play-maker that Kentucky desperately needs. He has proven he has elite speed and the skills to take it to the house on any given play.
I hope Wilson finds a way to get him involved early in the game, which should finally open up some running room for Benny Snell and AJ Rose.
When asked if he thinks the UK offense will get back on track this week, Gran responded, “I think we do. I really do.”
I am not sure that is the most comforting message, but hopefully it bodes true. The return of Dorian Baker against MTSU might allow Bowden, Conrad, and others to find some space to do work.
Who do you think Kentucky needs to focus on getting the ball to in the final home game of 2018?