Expect the Kentucky Wildcats Offense to Run Smoother Under Shannon Dawson


The last two season under Mark Stoops, offensive coordinator Neal Brown was in charge of bringing back the Air Raid offense to the Kentucky Wildcats. However, the young coach was not given the pieces he had at previous stop Texas Tech, making it hard to run his variation of the Air Raid. And despite trying to adapt, the Kentucky fan base was chomping at the bit to get a change. At least some of them were. However, after fate intervened, Neal Brown left the Kentucky Wildcats to become the head coach at Troy University, where he got his coaching start. That opened the door for new offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson.

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Shannon Dawson came from West Virginia, where he was the offensive coordinator, but did not call the plays. Here in Lexington, he’ll have full control, and everyone is excited for the possibilities. In fact, his variation of the Air Raid is much better suited for the Wildcats, as it relies much more on a ground attack and the deep ball. This is a contrast to Neal Brown, who ran a lot of slant routes and screen passes, something difficult to get away with in the imposing SEC. Even the way plays are called into the players has changed, and Shannon Dawson makes it much easier for things to run smoothly. Check out what the players had to say in an interview with the Lexington Herald-Leader.

"New coordinator Shannon Dawson prefers to call plays in directly to his quarterback. The past few years, various position coaches were relaying plays to their position groups.“Sometimes it got a little confusing,” running back Jojo Kemp explained of the old system.Now, Kemp continued, “the only person looking to the sideline is the quarterback. … You don’t have 11 guys looking toward the sideline trying to find their position coach or the person giving the signal.”“I like it better because if we’re all wrong, at least we’re running the same play,” Towles joked (maybe). “It’s good. It gets everybody on the same page for sure. It demands that I know what everybody’s doing and that kind of stuff. It’s a lot smoother.”“It takes a lot less steps,” Towles continued. “There’s a lot (fewer) places where something can go wrong.”"

Does anyone else like the sound of a less confusing and more streamlined process for play calling? To me, it sounds like Shannon Dawson is all about playing smooth on offense. Getting the plays in to one guy, as Patrick Towles said, allows for them to all be on the same page, even if they get the play call wrong. And now, they can work on speeding up the game with only one person getting the signal. Look for the Kentucky Wildcats offense to explode under new offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson, especially with the bigger and taller receivers coming in over the next couple seasons. It’ll allow that deep ball to be thrown with relative ease, giving space for running back Boom Williams and Mikel Horton to do work in the ground game. It’s an exciting time to be a Kentucky Wildcats football fan. And it should stay that way for MANY years to come.

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