When Georgia offensive coordinator Jim Chaney left Athens this offseason to take over the same position on Jeremy Pruitt’s Tennessee staff, Kirby Smart had a decision to make on his staff. Should he promote from within and give the job to co-offensive coordinator James Coley, who had previously been pursued by Jimbo Fisher upon his hire at Texas A&M, or look outside the program for his next offensive coordinator.
Depending on who you ask, Kentucky’s Eddie Gran was Smart’s top choice. Matt Jones of Kentucky Sports Radio first reported that Georgia had offered the job to Gran which led Kentucky’s coordinator to publicly announce he was staying in Lexington not long after the initial report.
That would have been the end of the story if not for some Georgia media members downplaying Georgia’s interest in Gran. During Gran’s first media availability since the offseason in Lexington began, he was asked just how seriously Georgia pursued him this offseason.
“Serious in the point they offered the job. It came down to I love this community, I love this administration,” Gran answered. “Dr. Capilouto, Mitch Barnhart, the guy that I work for is fantastic and I’ve become a part of this community and I love it and I think we are doing some things that are special and those all had a part of the decision-making when I decided to stay.”
To be clear, Gran was responding to the reports that he was offered the offensive coordinator position in Athens, not another staff position on Smart’s Georgia staff. That response may not be good enough for some but based on what Kentucky’s offensive coordinator relayed on Tuesday, he turned down the Bulldogs for Mark Stoops and the Wildcats.
In addition to that comment, Gran was asked about the staff continuity in Lexington heading into spring football. Kentucky was one of the few SEC programs to return the entire offensive staff from last season — the others were Arkansas and South Carolina. How big is that continuity heading into 2019?
“When I was at Auburn for 10 years, everyone stayed together pretty much for the whole time and I think it’s huge,” Gran continued. “I think it’s huge in recruiting for the relationships you build and just for everybody being on the same page and go faster. And if you have to add, you add and it not be so strenuous on everybody. Really your not teaching somebody a new offense, you can go pretty quick.”
That continuity will be key for the Wildcats this spring as the offense needs to take a big step forward if the Wildcats are going to come close to matching last season’s 10-3 mark. Without Benny Snell and CJ Conrad to work with, Gran is going to have to build his offense through quarterback Terry Wilson next season. Thankfully for the Wildcats, that job isn’t nearly as daunting entering another season in the same offensive system under the same coordinator.