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Mark Stoops needs to make offensive changes

Saturday continued to drive that point home.

Scangarello Dylan Ballard - Sea of Blue

After Saturday’s performance at Kroger Field, I don’t think this is a bold take, but Mark Stoops must make some offensive changes for the Kentucky Football program to not only continue moving forward, but even just maintain the level of success over the last couple years.

Going up against a Vanderbilt defense that has been among the nation’s worst, the Kentucky offense looked anemic at best outside of Chris Rodriguez trying to single-handedly will Kentucky to a win.

I mean, I think this says a lot...

In a year where Kentucky has a first-round NFL Draft caliber quarterback, one of the best running backs in the SEC (and one of the best to ever play at the school), and one of the best groups of pass-catchers assembled in the Mark Stoops era, the Kentucky offense should not be this bad.

I get it, the offensive line has been bad. That’s not news to anyone. But I don’t think you can pin everything on the offensive line, although some blame should probably be placed there.

Kentucky’s offensive numbers tell the story. The Cats are last in the SEC in total offense, and rank 107th nationally out of 131 teams in that category at 339.5 yards per game.

For perspective, that’s fewer yards per game than 2013, the first season for Mark Stoops when Kentucky averaged 341 yards per game. It’s the second-worst in the Stoops era, only better than the 2020 COVID season which included an all-SEC schedule.

Kentucky’s offense ranks 11th of 14 in the conference in scoring at 23.3 points per game, which also ranks 94th nationally and is only better than the 2013 and 2020 teams.

Not to mention the red zone struggles where Kentucky is 13th in red zone touchdown percentage and 95th nationally.

Kentucky’s offense has just simply regressed over the season, and the play-calling has become so bland and predictable that if you’ve paid any attention over the season, you can almost call out the plays before they happen and opposing defensive coordinators have to be taking notice.

Kentucky’s offense looked anemic against a Tennessee defense that has had no problem surrendering yards all season, not to mention the struggles against a Vanderbilt defense that has been among the worst pass defense units in the league.

Going to your third offensive coordinator in three seasons is not ideal for a program, and I’m not here to deny that.

However, I also believe a second consecutive season with a lifeless offense does a lot of harm in recruiting and the transfer portal, and damages your long-term success.

Maybe Rich Scangarello can turn it around, but I haven’t seen evidence to believe that’s going to happen.

Ultimately, the decision will come down to Mark Stoops and he’ll have to decide whether to give Scangarello a chance to turn this around or cut ties and shake things up.

That decision could have significant implications for the future of the Kentucky Football program.