Buy or sell: Your hot takes on Kentucky football
In what has become something of a new Cats Illustrated tradition, I opened the floor for your hot takes on Kentucky football on Twitter following the latest UK game.
The takes will always be shaped by the game's outcome, so some negativity was to be expected.
How bout this? Neal Brown has Patrick Towels look like a future star against #1 MSU. Could Eddie Gran have done the same?— Jackson (@jackson__david) October 25, 2020
Not really a buy or sell question, but I'll say yes, he could have because Stephen Johnson played great in a one-game setting against Louisville in that big win against No. 9 on the road. Towles didn't really duplicate that often and if you look at his overall numbers the problems were still there. The offensive line is better now, but the backs are about the same (perhaps not as good) and the receivers are worse.
But if you keep reading you'll find out I'm not going to be speaking very highly of the offense.
The team was not there today mentally. Their minds were with John. I am sure that's not what any of them wanted, but they're kids. And this is a family type team.— 🏴☠️Antifa Weasel Wrangler Johnny Danger (@K_NoiseWaterMD) October 25, 2020
Buy. There's no question they lacked the energy and focus they've come out with in previous games. Stoops acknowledged that was probably a factor post-game, even if he hates admitting it.
I think this team is a Wandale Robinson and Danny Davis away from being really good.— Andrew Rogers (@andrewrogers3) October 25, 2020
Buy. One of those players would make a big difference. Someone like Rondale Moore would be even better. I don't think Wandale or Danny Davis makes Kentucky a competitor in the East this year, but they would probably be worth one extra win through the five UK has played. Having no real SEC-level WR1 is a problem. Josh Ali's a good player but there's next to no help there.
Eddie Gran is a mediocre OC who has had gifted athletes to save his ass (Boom, Benny, Lynn). Prior to them, I hated his playcalling. I'm back to that spot, since he obviously hates Chris Rodriguez carrying the ball 25+ times a game.— J.R. Simpson (@jrsimpson321) October 25, 2020
Sell, and let me explain. He's been a good coach in the past, at Cincinnati and at Kentucky, but right now they clearly need to find a way to reinvent things and rediscover the forward pass. He was not very good on Saturday in terms of the play calling. Ultimately, he does own what the passing game has become or how it has not developed. I think he is generally a pretty good play-caller for what his teams do well. The problem is his teams don't generally have the capacity to be balanced enough. So inasmuch as the development of system balance and passing proficiency falls on the OC, he has been mediocre. In every other respect -- executing what they do well -- he's been good.
Time to move on from Terry Wilson. The future is now.— MSM (@smcgohon21) October 24, 2020
Sell. But I'm not saying he should necessarily be the starter or the only quarterback who plays. I don't think anyone else has done anything to earn the job from him. Until that happens he should be one of the quarterbacks who plays. But until Wilson plays better, he should not be the only quarterback who plays.
SEC was the last conference to join the passing offensive movement and Kentucky is looking to be the last school in the conference to acclimate— Shaun Dunn (@Dunn30) October 25, 2020
Buy. For a while, this helped Kentucky. They were going against the trend. That gave opponents a little something different and more difficult to prepare for and compete against. It probably will still help sometimes moving forward, but when Nick Saban is saying great offense is beating great defense, you'd better be doing everything you can to get ahead with what those great offenses are doing. Right now it feels like Kentucky is trying to counter the national trend and get an edge that way. Today, it feels fair to wonder if they need to go in the opposite direction and move the way most other teams are going.
Can’t move forward without firing gran/hinshaw. The team might not have top shelf talent, but good offensive minds can get the most out of mediocre players.— Jackson (@jackson__david) October 24, 2020
What I will say is I think they need to consider starting from scratch and building a passing game from the ground up. I don't know what that looks like, entails, or requires. But Kentucky and passing have been allergic to one another for about a decade now.
Kentucky’s best offensive gameplan this year would be the same exact one that they used last year.— Chris (@chwinburn) October 25, 2020
Buy ... If you're talking about Bowden doing it again. Not sure who would do it on this year's team. But without question I am 100% on board with the idea that Bowden would be the best quarterback for this team if he were on it (see my original tweet inviting hot takes; I think he was UK's best quarterback since Andre Woodson).
A good sign the OC needs to go is when you come out of a multiple game stretch thinking “well the offense can’t get much WORSE”— Adam Randolph (@adamran15) October 25, 2020
I'm not getting into the staff decisions stuff but it's obvious that during a stretch of offense like this the unit and the coordinator and the quarterback are all going to be subjects of conversation. Gran has been adaptable in some other circumstances; leaning more on Snell as a freshman, when Stephen Johnson took over for an injured Barker, putting Bowden behind center. But the offense has been bad this year. Just bad. They were good against Ole Miss but everybody is good against Ole Miss.
I would take joker's play calling with Hartline at QB and we would be 4-1.— Chris Frazier (@BigFellaFraz) October 25, 2020
Sell. Hartline only looked really good throwing to a couple of stud receivers. Kentucky hasn't had that since. Take those receivers with Hartline and yes, I'm buying that for sure.
Sell. The o-line is very good. They're really good at downhill blocking. They just didn't showcase them enough doing that. They were good enough in pass protection that if Kentucky could play throw and catch like good teams we'd be talking about the line like they're one of the nation's best (and I still think they are).
This team would love to have Dorian Baker or Blake Bone.— Andrew Daniel (@AndrewCDaniel) October 24, 2020
Buy. They would both start for this team. Not sure either would make a huge difference. Baker might, though, in a couple of games. Bone wasn't really a separation guy.
Eddie Gran has an old and stale approach. He has talent, weapons, an offensive line and yet he can't deliver anything consistently. I just don't know that it's a good fit— SouthernSassafrass ⭐🇺🇲🇺🇲🇺🇲⭐ (@WildcatFan178) October 24, 2020
I don't think he has talent or weapons. He has the offensive line. It's a throwback approach, I'll give you that. And it hasn't really been working too well this year.
We beat UGA.— sportsdangus (@sportsdangus) October 24, 2020
Sell. That's a bold pick after a game like this one. I said last week I'm not sure they score more than 10 points against UGA's defense and it's tough to feel differently today.
Also, Hartline is the most underrated QB in school history.— Billy Sewell (@GoCayts) October 24, 2020
Buy. Definitely in the modern era at least. Although the more some of us talk about it, the less it probably applies. He would make a difference on this team, though.
We need to recruit good wide receivers— Frazer (@IM4UKWildcats2) October 25, 2020
Buy. Absolutely true. Need to develop the ones they have as well.
I applaud the success we’ve had under Terry and appreciate his effort. With that said he isn’t even the 2018 Terry, it’s time to change it up. Give Gatewood the keys and don’t look back unless there is an injury. It’s a team sport and status quo isn’t working consistently.— Kelly Baker (@kellybakerUK) October 24, 2020
Buy in that ... They need to change it up. I wouldn't move beyond him altogether. As I said, it should be a true competition. I'd like to see Wilson, Gatewood, and Beau Allen all get opportunities.
I love Terry Wilson as much as anyone, he deserves all the accolades, and it’s less about Terry abs more about the future. UK isn’t competing for Atlanta this year, it may prudent to get the next guy in line ready for the future— Keith Garrett (@B3KeithG) October 25, 2020
I buy the thinking ... of preparing for the future while they give different quarterbacks opportunities. They needed to be at least 3-2 at this point in the season for it to probably end as successfully as people wanted. One thing I'd add is they have to find a way to set up the next guy for success.
Sell. He did get some teams to 5-1 or 4-2, but proved he wasn't the real answer there either. He lost his job too, remember.
There is no excuse to not have a serviceable passing game— Wes Cooper (@wgcoop) October 24, 2020
Buy. No doubt about it. I'm okay with being a better rushing team than passing team, but there aren't many teams that have had as many total passing game clunkers the last few years. They've survived it with physical play and defense, but it's a limiting approach.
Gran’s loyalty to Rose will cost him his job.— John Lopez (@UKPez) October 24, 2020
Sell. Agree that Rodriguez needs more of the carries, but the problem today was that the backs didn't get more opportunities period. And I think the passing game is probably the bigger issue than the running back rotation.
Stoops is holding back Gran from opening up the Offense.— Jason Winchester (@jlwinchester81) October 25, 2020
Buy, sort of. I think Gran is on board with it. There doesn't seem to be much of a disagreement but only they would know. UK has tried to open it up and the results have been mixed to put it mildly. I do think Stoops has wanted the conservative approach, though.
Every sports talking head and every fan knows what we need to do: Run the ball with C Rod as lead back. Eddie Gran does the opposite. Throw and run AJ. Always game plans opposite of what needs to be done.— John Harralson (@WalkemJohnny) October 24, 2020
Buy. Kentucky's best asset as a program in recent years was having an identity. They've gotten away from it and appear lost.
Stoops is as good as we will get.— Bullysbelly (@bullysbelly) October 25, 2020
On the one hand, he's the best they've had for a really, really long time. But there are too many examples of some really good play and turnarounds nationally for me to believe in really hard ceilings anymore. Maybe nobody else will win the SEC as long as guys like Saban and Kirby are around, but I think the lasting impact of the Stoops era is proof that Kentucky can field a program with a narrowed talent gap. He gets credit for that, but others can do it. Agree that nobody should be questioning whether Stoops deserves the job. He clearly does and has earned it.
I love Terry, but he seems to lack the confidence he had pre-injury. It might be time to move on for the future with Gatewood. He has the look of an SEC quarterback physically. Needs to get some experience. Would love for him to have 5 starts under his belt for next year.— JJ Hawkins (@JamesJay2) October 25, 2020
Sell. But only because I think he's pretty much the same player he was in 2018. Some good games, some bad games. Not enough consistency. Not sure how much I would put that on the injury. He hasn't taken a big step forward this year, though.
Offensive game plan needs to be shelved. CRod needs 30 carries per game.— JDlone42 (@JDlone42) October 24, 2020
Buy. Ground and pound to find that old identity this year, but in the offseason they have to work on the passing game.
This is the best result for the future of the program— Chicken Chips (@Chickenchips_) October 24, 2020
Sell. But laughing because it's similar to what I said about those '14 and '15 collapses being good for the program in that it kept Stoops around when he might have otherwise become too hot a commodity. Can't tell if you're poking me about that (if so, well done).
Randall Cobb was the last good receiver for Kentucky— Kyle Lewis (@_kylelewis1) October 25, 2020
Buy. In that he and Matthews were the last "really" good receivers for Kentucky. Juice Johnson, Jeff Badet, and Javess Blue were all good.
Questioning the drive...hate to do that...but we are way more talented and better than Mizzou.— Rich Jones (@jonesyUK) October 25, 2020
More talented top to bottom? Yes.
Better? Sell. It's close. UK could definitely win if the game were played next week, but right now Mizzou has a quarterback and an increasingly impressive offense.
There are a lot of teams that are similar in the middle of the SEC.
This is the most talent that Gran has had across the entirety of the offense since he got to UK and he has produced the least.— Billy Sewell (@GoCayts) October 24, 2020
Sell. I like the talent on that 2016 offense. The receivers. Boom and Snell. Conrad. The line wasn't quite as good but it definitely wasn't bad. They also had Snell and Bowden in '18.
Good QBS make a team.— Blue Owen (@BlueOwen2) October 24, 2020
Is our issue coaching or recruiting?
Either way, the coaches own the product. They've done a great job with the line and the defense, and the special teams is much improved over a few years ago. But yeah, they own the recruiting, development, and system on offense.
Watching Kentucky football has been an absolute blast these past few years (no sarcasm). Knowing we have talent, always have a chance to win, and seeing us move up the rankings in multiple categories...best stretch of UK football in decades.— Kevin Minke (@minkekj) October 25, 2020
Buy. Late drama and game winners against Mississippi State, Louisville, and Missouri. Citrus Bowl and Belk Bowl wins. Four straight bowls. Doing well by history in conference. No question about it.
We have no sec level receivers that can separate— 😳 (@theandrewjacobs) October 25, 2020
None is strong, but I think Ali should be a No. 2 rather than a No. 1 and they don't have a legit No. 2 or 3 compared to other teams in the league.
Seems like the offense needs to start from scratch. I don’t have a strong opinion on what that answer is but something has to give. Coaching change? QB change? Feature a young guy like we did Bennys freshman year? We gotta make a move.— Austin Miller (@amill95) October 24, 2020
Buy ... After the season. They lose almost the whole line, their starting QB, their starting tight end. They're starting from scratch anyway. No better time than this offseason to build something new.
No QB can be good under Gran— Chaz Waters (@ChazWaters5) October 25, 2020
Sell. They were at Cincinnati. The question is whether they can be at Kentucky given their offseason and practice emphasis and how they're preparing to play.
The majority of Eddie Gran's positive contributions to UK have come when he had to toss the plan he actually wanted to use and go in another direction.— Michael Hash (@MGH859) October 24, 2020
Buy. And kudos. Had never thought about it like that.
Terry is an above average qb hindered chained down by poor wr play and bad play calling— Timothy Braden (@Timbdn14) October 25, 2020
Sell. He's not above average. I watch too much college football to say with any confidence he's better than the average quarterback I watch.
Eddie Gran is a worse play caller than Neal Brown. “We’re going to AIR it out this year” was the direct quote I think...— Ansley Moneymaker (@Anslar) October 25, 2020
Not quite sure how to respond to this. As I've said, I think his play calling is "usually" pretty good based on the limitations of his own offense, but was Neal Brown a bad play caller? He's a Power Five head coach for a reason.
It’s not shocking why players like Jeff Badet decided to transfer— Tyler Haertzen (@thrtzn) October 24, 2020
Buy. Receivers haven't succeeded lately, that is true. Oklahoma is also a really awesome opportunity for any receiver right now, though.
Days like today are why we’re never taken seriously!— Pierce B. (@jpb1118) October 24, 2020
Sell. They are definitely taken seriously. Before the season people were talking about Kentucky-Auburn as an interesting opener before we learned Auburn was very average. UK was right outside the top 25. The folks on the SEC Network and elsewhere talk about them very differently. Missouri's players and fans were thrilled to beat them. People don't think about Kentucky like they shouldn't be in the SEC anymore. Stoops gets to take credit for that one.
Nobody plays down to the competition like Kentucky.— Jackson Latta (@JacksonLatta) October 25, 2020
Sell. The main reason Kentucky has won a lot more games in recent years is they have dominated series against teams they should have beat. Saturday was an emotional letdown for sure though.
The combination of apocalyptic rain storms and Bowden under center gave us a false sense of the level the program had risen to.— Blake Spires (@RealFakeBlake) October 24, 2020
Buy. Especially the offense, though. The defense really is pretty good. I said all offseason, I thought people were underestimating the significance of having the Paul Hornung winner touch the ball every snap. It was unconventional and unbalanced but it worked. It was also like freezing the program in time, because the receivers were just blocking, the o-line was basically blocking for backyard football, etc.
Kentucky has failed at recruiting and developing both the QB and WR position in the last 10years— ryan d (@BruNponcho) October 25, 2020
Buy. They've done most everything else right, but I don't see how someone can object to that.
Stoops should have taken over offensive okay calling in the 2nd quarter. Then he should have sent Gran home at halftime.— Brad Deason (@braddeason) October 25, 2020
Sell. Why would a former defensive coordinator who has given his OC the keys to the offense want to call offensive plays?