UK Football: Finishing, more consistency a top priority for Cats in moving forward

Kentucky running back Benny Snell will be among the top returnees for the Wildcats next season and will be counted on to carry the load for the team’s offense. (UK Athletics Photo) By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today Kentucky has proven it belongs in the upper echelon of the Southeastern Conference with back-to-back postseason appearances during the past two years. For the second straight season,...

Full speed ahead: Cats will be running on a full tank against struggling SEC foe Missouri Saturday

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today The tank is full and Kentucky is prepared to empty it against Missouri Saturday before refueling for the second half of the season during next week’s open date. The Wildcats (4-1, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) begin a stretch of six straight league games against the struggling Tigers, who are coming off a much-needed bye week following three consecutive setbacks. UK...

Stoops, Wildcats are eager to continue winning ways following Florida letdown

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today Mark Stoops doesn’t want his team to change much going into Saturday aftenoon’s contest against Eastern Michigan. Coming off a disappointing 28-27 loss to Florida last week, Stoops wants the Wildcats to take the same approach that led to three straight victories and a near-upset of the Gators. Stoops is confident the Wildcats will rebound from last week’s setback...

Kentucky aims to make simple better ahead of SEC opener at South Carolina

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today Although Kentucky didn’t put a dent in the scoreboard in a 27-16 win over Eastern Kentucky in its home opener last weekend, the Wildcats made strides, especially offensively. “I think the best thing we saw is that we executed,” Kentucky offensive coordinator Eddie Gran said earlier this week. “We got a little bit better on third down. We were one-for-one in the...

Back from injury, Kentucky quarterback Drew Barker could see action in season opener

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today Drew Barker didn’t emerge as Kentucky’s starting quarterback following preseason workouts, but that doesn’t mean the junior signal caller won’t just stand on the sideline with a clipboard in the season opener. Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said Barker could see some action at Southern Mississippi Saturday against the Golden Eagles, who defeated the Wildcats 44-35...

Cats grasp Gran’s expanded playbook during camp, adjust to faster tempo ahead of season opener

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today Kentucky offensive coordinator Eddie Gran wasn’t afraid to increase the team’s workload during preseason workouts and the players responded in positive fashion. Because of the familiarity and continuity between the coaches and players, Gran installed a faster tempo going into his second season with the Wildcats. For just the second time in Mark Stoops’ tenure as...

Kentucky’s freshman receivers pushing veterans for playing time in fall camp

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today A year ago, it was Benny Snell who made an immediate impact upon his arrival in the Kentucky backfield. Although no running backs have made the same impression during fall camp, a core of freshman wide receivers have been impressive during the first two weeks workouts. Newcomers Lynn Bowden, Isaiah Epps, Josh Ali, Clevan Thomas and Javonte Richardson have caught the attention...

After struggling last season, UK QB Johnson making strides in short, intermediate passing game

By Keith Taylor Kentucky Today Stephen Johnson hasn’t lacked in confidence since fall workouts began and is delving deeper into the team’s play book. Johnson showed an ability to throw the deep ball last season, but struggled with the short passing game, an area of emphasis for the senior quarterback going into the second week of training camp. “(He’s) hitting those (intermediate passes) better,...

Annual UK Football Kickoff Luncheon set for July 25 at Kroger Field’s Woodford Reserve Club

The annual Kickoff Luncheon celebrating the fast-approaching start of the Kentucky football season is set for noon on July 25 at Kroger Field’s Woodford Reserve Club. Tables for 10 at the event are available for $400 apiece, while individual seats are $40 each. Requests for reservations can be submitted using the attached form. The Kickoff Luncheon will feature remarks from Kentucky head coach Mark...

Kentucky defense makes big plays while offense sips some bad ‘Kool-Aid’ during Saturday scrimmage

By Keith Taylor KyForward Senior Sports Writer LEXINGTON — Eddie Gran has been through several spring practice sessions during his long coaching career. The Kentucky offensive coordinator had plenty to say after the team’s intra-squad scrimmage Saturday and it wasn’t good. To say Gran wasn’t happy following the 20-minute scrimmage totally dominated by the Wildcats’ defense is an understatement. Kentucky...

Keith Taylor: Kentucky’s recent turnaround began with veteran coordinator Eddie Gran

Kentucky coach Mark Stoops knew what he was getting into when he hired Eddie Gran. “What you see with Eddie right now is you see the talent that he has and the experience that he has,” Stoops said Monday. “He’s an experienced coach. We want to play with balance. If we can play fast, we’ll play fast. If we need to spread people out, we will.” When Stoops lured Gran and quarterbacks coach...

Keith Taylor: Not waiting his turn, the future is now for UK running back Benny Snell

Benny Snell doesn’t mind waiting his turn. The Kentucky running back also doesn’t flinch when his number is called on any given play. Snell isn’t looking ahead to make an impact and the future is now for the freshman running back, who has given Kentucky a boost in the backfield this season. In four games, Benny Snell has rushed for 341 yards and is averaging 5.6 yards per carry (Keith Taylor...

Wildcats figure to get back to the basics this week to get ready for New Mexico State

By Guy Ramsey Special to KyForward If you were expecting some of the air to be taken out of Eddie Gran’s balloon after an 0-2 start to the season, think again. The first-year head coach of the offense/offensive coordinator is his usual high-energy self, intent on fixing what ails the Kentucky offense. “You can’t let up, and it’s our job as an offensive staff – as it came down from...

Keith Taylor: Stoops says Cats have no regrets, ‘dig in’ ahead of SEC opener at Florida

Kentucky has moved past Southern Mississippi and is focused on Florida. Although a season-opening 44-35 loss to the Golden Eagles lingered earlier this week, the Wildcats (0-1) shifted their focus to Saturday’s Southeastern Conference opener at Florida, a team Kentucky hasn’t beaten since 1986. In addition, it’s been longer — 37 years — since the Wildcats have defeated the Gators in Gainesville. ...

Game Time: Stoops, Wildcats eager for first chance to prove preseason work has paid off

By Guy Ramsey Special to KyForward Those two-a-days weren’t for fun. Neither were early-morning workouts, grueling weight-lifting sessions or late-night film sessions. All that work the Kentucky football team logged this winter, spring, summer and fall was for Saturday and the 11 Saturdays to follow. “We are excited to get going,” UK head coach Mark Stoops said. “It is finally game week. We...

Keith Taylor: Wildcats seek to avoid costly letdowns down the stretch this season, finish on a high note

During a break in practice earlier this week, Kentucky offensive coordinator Eddie Gran gathered around some of his offensive players and stressed the importance of finishing. Although Gran hasn’t been apart of the team’s late-season meltdowns during the past two years, he is aware of promising starts and season-ending disappointments that have resulted in two consecutive 5-7 finishes. Gran and...

Cats reach goals in fall camp, set sights on season opener against Southern Miss

Eddie Gran is known for his exacting standards. He asks a lot of his offense. And when he doesn’t get it, players hear about it. So, was Kentucky’s fall camp up to his expectations? Did he get what he wanted out of the two-and-a-half weeks of work? Kentucky offensive coordinator Eddie Gran was pleased with UK’s fall camp, which wrapped up Tuesday (Keith Taylor Photo) “Yeah, actually,...

Developing depth will be a top priority for Stoops, Cats going into final two weeks of fall camp

By Keith Taylor KyForward senior sports writer After completing the final scrimmage of fall workouts, the Kentucky coaching staff has a general idea of what to expect in the season opener in two weeks. A big concern for the Wildcats is developing depth beyond the first team. The backups lack game experience, especially on defense and Kentucky coach Mark Stoops wants the backups to play with more energy...

Keith Taylor: Gran says Kentucky offense ahead of schedule; Malik Monk confident on, off the court

It’s crunch time for the Kentucky football team and the Wildcats have made strides in the first two weeks of fall camp. Kentucky offensive coordinator Eddie Gran liked the way the offense performed in the team’s first scrimmage last week and added the Wildcats are ahead of schedule. UK offensive coordinator Eddie Gran likes the way the Wildcats’ offense has progressed in fall camp (Keith...

Keith Taylor: UK running back Boom Williams focused on staying healthy, finishing games

Stanley “Boom” Williams knows what the difference has been in Kentucky’s 14 losses during the past two years and said the Wildcats are determined to end the late-season meltdowns this year. Williams, the team’s leading rusher in his first two seasons, said not folding down the stretch will pay off in big dividends and produce better results for the Wildcats at crunch time. Despite enduring...