UK’s offense prepping for loud environment against Mississippi State


Kentucky quarterback Stephen Johnson in action during the game against Mississippi State on Saturday, October 22, 2016 in Lexington, Ky. Photo by Quinn Foster | Staff

The SEC is full of loud college football stadiums, and Mississippi State’s home stadium is among the loudest because of their cowbells.

At Tuesday’s practice, UK football practiced with the sound of simulated crowd noise and cowbells blasting in the background. It has been a while since offensive coordinated Eddie Gran has been in that environment, but he has past experience in it when he was the special teams coordinator at Ole Miss.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve been there but we had the cowbells going today,” Gran said. “It brought back a lot of memories, the four years at Ole Miss. It’s a great venue to play at, it’s loud and their fans are passionate.”

Since Gran has been through that environment before, he knows what his team has to do in order to combat the noise from the crowd.

“You really got to communicate, if you can’t communicate on the road, you got no chance,” Gran said. “That’s what today was about, today was about communicating and making sure, seeing the formation changes, and guys getting on and off the field in a good time and I really liked what I saw today.”

However, that can be really difficult when you have receivers spread all over the field. Gran said he couldn’t hear himself with the simulated noise, meaning that communicating with the outside receivers during the live game will be near impossible.

Despite the challenge, quarterback Stephen Johnson thinks that practicing with simulated noise will help the Cats in Starkville, Mississippi, and will help limit communication mistakes.

“As long as the outside receivers know the play, it’s really just communicating with the o-line and with the running back on where we need to go, what we need to do,” Johnson said.

As for the offensive line, they have an advantage since all five guys lineup next to each other. Even with the advantage, the offensive line still has to be louder than the crowd noise.

“You do have to out scream the cowbells, but not to a wide receiver, I’m just talking to the guy next week,” center Drake Jackson said.

Even with the advantage that the simulated noise brings, that doesn’t mean that Jackson is a big fan of hearing the noise in his head when he leaves practice.

“It is hard because it’s 20 minutes straight of those big speakers, and that’s our sidelines,” Jackson said. “It’s in our ears the whole day.”