That the Bearcats rolled up their highest yardage total since September against what was, statistically the best defense the Bearcats have seen to date is one thing. But there is more to calling an offense than the result, context matters. Eddie Gran seemed to have a better feel for the flow of the game this week than he has at any point this season.
A couple of plays to illustrate the point.
It started on the first play of the game. Cincinnati lined up with two backs and two receivers, a heavy run look this year. Given the fact that it’s first down and the personnel screams run to anyone who has studied the Bearcats, the call to take a deep shot early off play action would be unexpected to say the least. The play was relatively well defended, but Kay trusted McKay and laid it out there for the big man to come down with it, which he did.
Flash forward to the start of the second quarter. Brendon Kay has what everyone assumes is a serious issue to his hand, the UConn staff almost certainly assumed as much after Kay ran to the locker room. UConn had a terrible punt that set UC up at the Husky 41. The Bearcats came out on first and 10 in a heavy run look and watch what happened.
There is a lot going on with that play. You have the heavy run personnel, the play fake to Ralph David Abernathy IV and the end around fake to Anthony McClung, on a look that UC hasn't shown to that point. All that window dressing to set up a simple post/wheel combo to Blake Annen. Moore drags the safety in and Annen dogs his route a bit to wait for Moore to clear the safety. Kay puts it just ahead of Annen and the big tight end drags a Husky into the end zone.
Gran introduced the Wildcat with Jordan Luallen early in the South Florida game, but it didn't work. He closed the Temple game in the Wildcat and the package was featured again today. And it worked for a while, but it was all about setting up a particular wrinkle, the pass from the Wildcat. Early in the third Luallen entered the game and proceded to pound the Huskies in the running game on four straight plays. The time was ripe to introduce a wrinkle off the look.
The wrinkle was to include Brendon Kay split out as a wide receiver in the Jett Motion. For some reason, I have no idea why, the UConn safeties bit hard on the play fake to Kay and both Chris Moore and Shaq Washington sprung WIDE open. Luallen put it up to Moore for an easy touchdown.
Eddie Gran is finally coming into his own as an offensive coordinator and it is clear that his feel for the game is evolving, and evolving for the better. These three calls give us all a better sense of what this offense can be like when everything is firing. But even rolling up 525 yards there is room for improvement. The running game was not as effective this week, but the passing game was so good that it didn't really matter.
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