Gran, offense prepare to face highly ranked Georgia defense


Kentucky Wildcats quarterback Lynn Bowden Jr. (1) hugs offensive coordinator Eddie Gran after the UK vs Arkansas football game on Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019, at Kroger Field in Lexington, Kentucky. UK won 24-20. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Mohammad Ahmad

Kentucky Football offensive coordinator Eddie Gran and select players met with the media after practice on Tuesday evening to discuss preparations for their upcoming matchup against the No. 10 ranked Georgia Bulldogs in Athens, GA this Saturday.

The Cats’ offense is not going up against any other defense. Georgia’s defense has only allowed 12.30 points per game – the sixth best scoring defense in the nation. That’s due in part to the disruptive play from Bulldogs’ outside linebacker Azeez Ojulari. Only a redshirt freshman, Ojulari leads the Bulldogs in sacks and tackles for loss with 3.5 of each.

Ojulari isn’t the only stalwart on that stout Bulldogs’ front. Defensive lineman Tyler Clark has bullied quarterbacks with his 1.5 sacks and is tied with Ojulari in tackles-for-loss. Inside linebacker Tae Crowder is third on the team in tackles and tackles for loss with 30 and three, respectively.

But you don’t need to explain that to Cats’ wide receiver Lynn Bowden.

“It’s a good team over there. We’re a good team too, so it’s a battle of the Titans I guess,” Bowden said after practice.

Speaking of Bowden, he told reporters that “he’s ready” if called to start at quarterback again. Meanwhile, Gran gave an update on quarterback Sawyer Smith’s status. Smith, who sat out last weekend to expedite his recovery process, “did well” In practice Tuesday, according to Gran.

“His reads were really good and he threw the ball well. I could see some zip on the ball for the first time, so the time off has helped,” Gran said.  

Short yardage has been another issue for the Cats. Despite rushing for 330 yards last weekend, there were several plays where UK was stuffed in short yardage situations. Gran says he’s making sure that that issue is corrected against a team that only allows 73.3 rushing yards per game.

“That’s a frustrating thing for Coach Schalrman and myself. They [Georgia] got a great front seven and secondary you have to work for every single yard. Not just first downs, but every yard,” Gran said.

But offensive tackle Landon Young says he’s optimistic about how his line’s potential.  

“That’s a good feeling knowing we’re doing what some of the best offensive lineman in the country are doing. There’s a good correlation for us. I’m thinking if we get big runs for every one out of five plays, that’s considers us as one of the best lines in the nation,” Young said.

Running back AJ Rose might certainly feel delighted at that news.

After slumping against South Carolina with just 33 rushing yards, Rose nearly tripled that production against Arkansas with 90 yards rushing. Rose says he knows he can carry that momentum going forward by “finishing all four quarters.” 

“We came together as a team after a first five weeks. We’re not quitting and our real fans know and we’ll keep fighting,” Rose said. 

With Georgia coming off of an upset loss, the Cats offense has a chance to give the Bulldogs’ defense a double dose this weekend.