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Kentucky football entered the fall with high expectations offensively. It has not played out as planned.
After starting the season as a top-15 team with potential to upset the status quo as a dark horse in the SEC East, the Wildcats are 6-4 with losses in four of their last six games. To make matters worse, Mark Stoops missed out on a lot of money last weekend as Vanderbilt snapped its embarrassing in-conference losing streak with an extremely unexpected upset of his team.
Although the defense in Lexington has not been spectacular, a large part of the blame can and should be placed on the offense. Kentucky is ranked 107th out of 131 FBS programs in total offense.
Led by Will Levis, who some even went so far as to call the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, the Wildcats are averaging just 339.5 yards per game. That’s an issue, but it’s not impossible to win games without moving the ball.
It is impossible to win while being outscored, however. Kentucky is ranked 94th in scoring offense with 23.3 points per game and has failed to score more than 27 points against a Power Five opponent. That’s the biggest issue at-hand and the inability to convert in the red zone is a large contributing factor.
The Wildcats have converted fewer than 80% of its red zone opportunities, which is good (bad?) for 98th in the country. Yikes.
Who is to blame for Kentucky’s struggles?
As the staff continues to search for answers, offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello is at the forefront. He previously worked as the quarterbacks coach with the 49ers and Broncos and moved to Lexington during the offseason.
His first year with Kentucky has not gone well and now some of his players are calling him out.
Dekel Crowdus, a redshirt freshman wide receiver, has not played a big role this year. He has caught just four passes for 82 yards. However, that lack of production did not keep him from speaking his mind.
During a press conference ahead of this weekend’s game against Georgia, Crowdus was asked about the offensive woes. He put it right on Scangarello and the play-calling.
“I would have to say the play-caller, because we were down in the red zone and just couldn’t get it,” Crowdus said of the red zone issues. “That’s pretty much all I can say.”
That is not commonplace in sports, let alone college football. A player putting blame on his offensive coordinator shows how bad things are going in Lexington and getting right against the Bulldogs defense doesn’t seem likely.