Stoops Looks For More Balanced Offense After Firing Gran and Hinshaw

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Stoops Looks For More Balanced Offense After Firing Gran and Hinshaw

The University of Kentucky announced Sunday that offensive coordinator Eddie Gran and QB coach Darin Hinshaw were relieved of their duties following a disappointing 2020 season on that side of the ball.

“I want to thank President Eli Capilouto, Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart and, of course, Coach Stoops for the opportunity to be at Kentucky,” Eddie Gran said. “Coach Stoops has always treated me like family and our professional relationship is awesome. I appreciate the hard work and loyalty of the coaches who have coached with me. I appreciate the support of the Big Blue Nation for five awesome years.  And, thanks to the players for believing in me in good and bad times, I love you all and wish you nothing but the best.”

Since Gran and Hinshaw arrived five years ago, Kentucky has gone to a bowl game in every season, including the VRBO Citrus Bowl in which they defeated Penn State. UK Head Coach Mark Stoops acknowledged the successes they had here, and called it a mutual agreement to move on.

“Eddie and I pondered about this for weeks and mutually agreed that this was the way to move forward,” Stoops said. “I appreciate Eddie for the true professional and friend that he is. I also want to recognize the success we had, going to a bowl game every year since his arrival, with a reflection of our shared vision to do what was necessary to win games.”

While UK was absolutely dominant in the rushing attack under Eddie Gran, ranking third this season in the SEC with 187.40 rushing yards per game this year, they lacked balance. This past regular season, they ranked last in the SEC with 124.4 passing yards per game, and that led to an inability to move the ball consistently (11th with 21.70 points per game and last with 311.80 total yards per game).

UK coach Mark Stoops was adamant in his presser following the news yesterday that Kentucky would indeed be looking to become more balanced, as he said he grew frustrated watching that side of the ball fail time and time again at doing so.

“We want an offense that’s balanced. That’s what I envision,” Stoops said. “We did become one-dimensional and I can’t put that all on Eddie Gran or Darin Hinshaw or any one person. That’s a collective effort. Certainly as the head coach I share in that responsibility and that criticism because I’m the one that ultimately determines the culture of this program.”

“How the offense got so out of balance, we’re all frustrated with that. Trust me. Believe me — without throwing anyone under the bus because Eddie’s one of my dear friends, Darin’s one of my dear friends, I love those guys — I am responsible for the whole program and the culture of this program but I am very, very limited in what I am involved in as in what they play, what they plan, how they practice.”

Not much longer after that, Stoops made it clear that this does not mean flipping to the air raid offense similar to that of Mississippi State. He did say however that coaches with NFL experience are on the table and a hire could possibly be by the Dec. 16 recruiting period, but the UK coach also admitted their would be a wide search for the best candidate and no specific timetable has been set.

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