I’m here on a personal errand, and imagine my surprise when the local TV announced at the bottom of the hour: “UK offensive coordinator Eddie Gran has turned down Georgia.” Because Kentucky offensive coordinators tend not to turn down anybody. They tend to get fired instead.
Gran announced that he’s staying at Kentucky the way everybody announces everything in these newfangled days -- he tweeted, “I’m all in, #BBN! Let’s do this!”
#BBN stands for Big Blue Nation. What “this” is, I’m as yet unclear. Win another 10 games next year? Not happenin.’ Before the season that just ended, the last time Kentucky won 10 games was in 1977, and they were being covered by a cub reporter for The Cats’ Pause. His fingers just typed that sentence.
The belief of this no-longer-cub is that Gran did very well with what he had. He maximized the battering ram Benny Snell and quarterback Terry Wilson. Not many OCs could have bled 10 wins out of that personnel. Unclear is what Bulldog Nation would have made of these numbers: The Wildcats were 116th nationally in passing yards, 10 spots ahead of Georgia Tech, and 103rd in total yardage.
I don’t want to speak for Georgia fans, but my impression is that they wouldn’t be averse to a new OC who’s a less buttoned-down than Jim Chaney. (Never mind that Chaney presided over an offense that produced four different 1,000-yard rushers the past two years on a team that went 24-5.) That man would not have been Gran.
Granted, Gran had run a much more open scheme at Cincinnati under Tommy Tuberville, but his latest work has been the antithesis of the much-in-vogue Air Raid. (Which, as practiced by Hal Mumme, also had its day at UK.) Would Gran’s hiring have been Kirby Smart’s way of doubling down on ground-and-pound? Would Georgia fans, who always come to hate their OC, have hated this one before he hit town?
Moot point now, and here I note that there’s disagreement as to whether Gran was actually offered the OC job. Chip Towers of DawgNation doesn’t believe he was. Mike Griffith of the same DN reports that Gran was approached not as a coordinator but as a position coach. But Matt Jones of Kentucky Sports Radio, who made the initial report of Georgia’s overture, tweeted: “If Georgia people say tonight Gran wasn’t offered, they’re wrong. He was.”
Whoa, Nellie. Whatever transpired (or didn’t), the Gran Man is now a hero to his home folks for spurning one of the big boys. Hey, I heard it on TV.