While the Big Ten and the Pac-12 chose not to play college football this fall, the SEC and the Kentucky Wildcats are gearing up for a very difficult schedule. One that includes five preseason AP Top-25 teams.
What is the best way to gear up for the challenge ahead? Practice. Practice. Practice.
We caught up with the offensive side of the ball on Tuesday afternoon including offensive coordinator Eddie Gran, and key seniors Justin Rigg and Josh Ali.
“For Sure, We Want to Develop the Passing Game”
While Lynn Bowden and the Wildcats enjoyed much success with the running game last season, Gran wants to get back to a more balanced attack with a healthy Terry Wilson. For comparison, in 2018 Wilson threw for 1,889 yards alone, while Kentucky only threw for 1,478 yards last season.
“Since I’ve Been Here, This Is the Fastest We’ve Installed [an Offense]”
Gran emphasized how quickly this team has picked up the offense, five practices to be exact. This a feat that Gran explained has never happened in his time at Kentucky and is promising after missing practically all of spring practice.
Beau Allen Has Done Some “Really Special Things”
Accuracy, Ball Delivery, Understanding the offense. Three things that Gran complimented a freshman Beau Allen on. Gran emphasized that he “loves” what he has seen thus far, and that Allen is a “[football] junkie”. Sounds like good things are to come when Allen is given his chance.
Expect to See Two and Three Tight End Sets
Tight End has been one of Kentucky’s strongest positions in recent years, and this season does not appear to be much different. With proven players Justin Rigg and Keaton Upshaw, and top-20 recruit and now redshirt sophomore Brenden Bates, the offense will have a lot of versatility.
Justin Rigg Is Ready for Movies
For tight end Justin Rigg, one of the biggest consequences of the coronavirus has been the shutdown of movie theaters. While movie theaters are looking into opening back up, Rigg is does not think he will be able to go given the circumstances. However, he is hoping to be able to stream new movies from home and so are we!
Terry Wilson and Josh Ali Have Been Rekindling Their Connection Throughout Quarantine
In his interview, Gran said that Ali is “certainly is the number one guy out there right now”, and it is important for him and Terry to find that chemistry once again. Ali explained that they have just been “playing catch”, finding their timing and perfecting route since the start of summer.
Ali Claims His Is the Best Defensive Back Group in His Fours Years at UK
“I feel like out of all four years, this is the best (defensive back) group that I’ve had competition with. Brandin Echols, Fats — I don’t know his real name, we just call him Fats — Kelvin Joseph from LSU. He’s doing really great, he’s really physical. Vito (Tisdale) is doing really good right now, he’s really physical. Even the front four is crazy. Sometimes we don’t get off plays because of those guys. I feel like the defense all around is doing a great job.”
That’s a heck of a statement, when you consider that Ali has lined up against the likes of Mike Edwards, Lonnie Johnson, Derrick Baity, Chris Westry and Darius West in practice. Just WOW!
The product has yet to be truly seen on the field, but Stoops and company could very well have their most talented roster in his time at Lexington. Yet, early on it sounds like iron is sharpening iron at practice. It’s getting exciting in Lexington!