Following the Kentucky Wildcats’ win over South Carolina, KSR reported Sunday morning that offensive coordinator Eddie Gran and quarterbacks coach Darin Hinshaw have been relieved of their duties. A search will begin immediately for their replacements.
Gran and Hinshaw both came to Kentucky as a tandem from Cincinnati back in 2016. During their time in Lexington, the Wildcats have accomplished things that many never imagined were possible. Kentucky has had a 10-win season, beaten Florida in The Swamp, and took down Tennessee in Knoxville. Gran’s offensive scheme’s helped produce many record-setting performances.
In 2016, Boom Williams and Benny Snell became the first running back duo to each put up 1,000 yards in the same season. Snell went on to become Kentucky’s all-time leading rusher, and he is starting for the Pittsburgh Steelers this week.
Several team offensive records were broken in 2019 when Gran and Hinshaw redesigned the offensive with wide receiver Lynn Bowden taking snaps. That year produced the most rushing yards (3,624), rushing TDs (36) and yards per rushing attempt (6.32) in school history.
Their work in 2019 in changing everything on the fly and finding success in a one-dimensional scheme is one of the more impressive coaching jobs I have seen in a single season. Gran and Hinshaw showed creativity, utilized the team’s strength, and helped turn a quickly spiraling season into an eight-win year with a bowl victory over Virginia Tech.
When Gran came from the University of Cincinnati, the Bearcats had just set a school record for the most total yards in a season. Kentucky fans were pumped to have an aggressive offense when he came on board.
Hinshaw has also been a part of high-powered offenses throughout his career, including his work at Cincinnati and with Tennessee back when Tyler Bray was setting records back in 2011. As the co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, he has taken a lot of heat for the lack of perceived production in the passing game.
But when Gran and Hinshaw arrived in Lexington, to steal a basketball term, they took the air out of the ball. Kentucky has run a ground and pound attack consistently and without variation. This has caused Kentucky to lose several leads, and you could argue several games. After the Wildcats failed to capitalize on the expectations of a senior-led offense this season, the administration has apparently had enough.
Whether Mark Stoops is the reason for the conservative play calling or Gran is the sole coach to blame, we may never know. But a change had to be made, and the tandem of Gran and Hinshaw are taking the fall to the joy of many Kentucky fans on Twitter.