Rich Scangarello blames Kentucky’s offensive woes

(Photo: Brian Simms, Getty)

After losing Liam Coen to the Los Angeles Rams after a successful offensive season in Lexington, Rich Scangarello was viewed as a seamless transition to leading quarterback Will Levis and the Kentucky Offensive in 2022.

Things didn’t turn out exactly that way.

The Wildcats, paralyzed by injuries to Levis, a poor offensive line, questionable play calling and poor execution, particularly in the red zone and on special teams, have lost five of their last seven games after a 4-0 start 6-5 on the year.

Scangarello has borne the brunt of fan criticism as Britain sits 107th nationally on both scoring offense and total offense, averaging just 21.7 points on 335.5 yards per game and 116th on red zone offense.

Red shirt freshman wideout Deco Crowdus even exclaimed Scangarello after last week’s 24-21 loss to Vanderbilt.

“I probably would have to say the play caller because we were down in the red zone and just couldn’t get it,” Crowdus said. “That’s about all I can say.”

After Saturday’s 16-6 loss to No. 1 Georgia, Scangarello has been open about his role in this season’s struggles.

“No one is more disappointed with our expectations and the way this season has gone than I have,” said Scangarello. “I feel terrible. I want to score points. I came here to help the coach do something special.”

As usual, it was a mixed bag on Saturday’s Wildcats offense. Against college football’s best defense, Kentucky hit on a 99-yard drive, the longest touchdown drive since 2015, but failed to convert two fourth downs and missed a field goal on a bad snap that could have made things interesting .

Scangarello says he still believes in the offense.

“[Shows] what it can be,” Scangarello said.

“It’s the best defense in football. We started the game on our own 4 yard line and that drive could have gone all the way and also scored. It’s little things we need to clean up. You can blame this or that. But we can. I know we can. If we do that, we can pass the ball to anyone. But again we only got six points and missed some plays that could have really turned the tables and put some pressure on them. The line gets better. you are young The protection gets better and we keep getting better as our playmakers bring the football to them.”

Of the 20 receptions in Kentucky, 15 went to freshmen for 200+ yards, including true freshmen Barion Brownwho caught 10 balls for 145 yards and a touchdown and receptions for 31 and 47 yards.

After last week’s loss to Vanderbilt, head coach Markus Stoops said he would not consider any offensive personnel changes during the season. On Saturday, Scangarello didn’t sound like a manager with plans to go anywhere.

“I couldn’t be more excited about the future,” said Scangarello. “These are 18 and 19-year-olds who are gaining a lot of experience. Their best days are still ahead of them – and that excites me.”

Kentucky ends the regular season at home to archrival Louisville in the annual Governor’s Cup on Saturday.

“I can’t wait. I’m excited,” said Scangarello. “This state is so proud of these universities – especially the UK. It’s the pro team [here]. I want it to be great. I will do my part. To do that, we need to go through the team this week.”