It’s no surprise Eddie Gran was reportedly in the running to become the offensive coordinator at Georgia this week. As expected, Gran listened and pondered before making a final decision to remain at the University of Kentucky.
That’s good news for the Wildcats, who have employed three different offensive coordinators in Mark Stoops’ tenure as coach of the Wildcats. Under Gran, the Wildcats have won 24 games in a three-year period, including 10 this past season, a feat the program hasn’t accomplished in more than four decades.
Although nothing official was released this week and mostly based on numerous sources reporting the Bulldogs’ interest in Gran, he announced his intentions of remaining in Lexington via his own Twitter account, which pretty much indicated Georgia was seeking the services of Gran to lead the team’s offense.
“I’m all in, #BBN, let’s do this!” he tweeted late Thursday night.
Under Gran, Kentucky has appeared in three straight bowl games and used a scheme centered around a running game anchored by Benny Snell, who became the school’s all-time leading rusher this past season. He eclipsed the mark in Kentucky’s win over Penn State in the Citrus Bowl on New Year’s Day. He has utilized running quarterbacks — Stephen Johnson and Terry Wilson — the right way and more importantly, orchestrated two blowout wins over rival Louisville in two of his three seasons in Lexington.
The return of Gran also means there will be consistency in the coaching staff, resulting in less turnover, an issue in Stoops’ first three years with the Wildcats. The fact that Kentucky can retain its offensive coordinator when the best team in the team’s own division in the Southeastern Conference speaks volumes to the commitment Gran has made at Kentucky. He’s part of a staff that works well together and has formed a bond on both sides of the ball.
Being the offensive coordinator at Kentucky also has its perks. Neal Brown, the first offensive coordinator under Stoops at Kentucky, was named the coach at West Virginia earlier this week after guiding Troy to 35 victories during the past four seasons. Brown defeated LSU last season, beat Nebraska this year and nearly upset eventual national champion Clemson three years ago.
It’s no surprise the Mountaineers turned to Brown, who enjoyed success as a wide receiver at Kentucky following an outstanding career at Boyle County High School in Danville.
Brown will be tasked with making the Mountaineers relevant in the Big 12 and plans to carve West Virginia into a perennial contender in the league and nationally. It will all start on offense.
"That's why I'm here,” he said. “We're not changing that. We'll be a fast-paced, attacking offense. We're going to get playmakers in space and put points on the board. We're a get-it-done offense, by any means necessary to win the game.”
That’s enough to stir up a fan base eager to become known for more than just its country roads that lead them home. For Gran, his home is in the Bluegrass.
Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at email@example.com or twitter @keithtaylor21.