Cats Offense looks to improve against NIU

LEXINGTON, ky-(UK Athletics) Kentucky is off to a 3-0 start this season, having won every game by double figures. However, that does not mean that everything has been perfect through the first 25 percent of the schedule.

Most notably, Kentucky has struggled on offense at times during the season. That fact was evident again in Saturday’s 31-0 win over Youngstown State. UK offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello was not happy after the game on Saturday and on Tuesday, he still had some lingering feelings from the game.

“I was disappointed after the game because, you coach a long time and you kind of know the pitfalls you can walk yourself into,” Scangarello said. “And coach made a message all week and I thought we had a really good week of practice. And I thought we were ready to play up to our standard, regardless of our opponent. And then, we just didn’t meet those expectations. And it was a step back not forward. And when you watch that happen, it gets a little upsetting.”

Scangarello and the UK coaching staff did not expect the Cats to play poorly on Saturday. In fact, after playing well at Florida, Scangarello thought the Cats would take another step forward.

“Especially things we hadn’t done. Went to Florida, no penalties. We had been really good in fall camp and all year, taking care of the ball. It upset me to the point where, I’ve got to do a better job, we’ve all got to do a better job of coaching and we’ve got to do a better job of executing the play.”

The Cats rank 92nd (out of 131 teams) in the country in total offense. UK is 27th in the country in passing offense (294 yards per game) but is 122nd in the nation in rushing offense (74.3 yards per game). The struggles in the running game are not due to one thing. Instead, it’s a few various factors.

“It’s a combination,” Scangarello said. “The first run of the game probably would have gone for 15 yards, it went for minus five because the receiver didn’t block down. Those are little assignment thing that make it feel a little choppy at times. You want it to be polished and tight. It will get better.”

Scangarello does realize that things are not always going to go exactly as planned. He knows what needs to happen in those cases.

“Nothing’s going to be perfect. Then, the playmakers have to make it up for you,” Scangarello said. “Sometimes, you have to run over a guy, sometimes you’ve got to make someone miss and take care of the ball. If we do those things, we’ll be fine and the run game will be great.”

It’s not all gloom and doom on the offensive side of the ball.

“I feel like there’s been parts of the game that have been tight and sound,” Scangarello said. “In the end, if you don’t take penalties and negative plays and you take care of the ball, you’re going to win most of the time.”

The Cats will focus on ball security and execution this week as they prepare for Northern Illinois on Saturday.

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