By Nick Roush on ©August 19th, 2019 @ 3:00pm
Ryan Day sent shockwaves throughout the state of Ohio Monday afternoon. Fans were left stupefied when Ohio State’s head coach revealed Justin Fields has been named the starting quarterback.
For those who have regularly watched American football, the dual-threat transfer from Georgia was the obvious choice to become the Buckeyes’ starting quarterback, despite the coach-speak we heard from Day in the early stages of camp. Former Wildcat Gunnar Hoak is a fine player, but the job was Fields’ to win. Day used the pressure of a quarterback competition to force Fields to take his game to the next level.
Moving forward, Hoak may not even be the second string quarterback. Day did not explicitly state whose number would be called if Fields was unable to play. Hoak must now compete with Chris Chugunov, a grad transfer from West Virginia, for the title ‘QB2.’
“We’ll let these guys keep learning the offense,” said Day. “With Gunnar, we’ve practiced 14 or 15, only been in the offense really 15 practices. So really he’s at where Justin was coming out of the spring. So he’ll keep growing day in and day out. They’ll keep working. As we get closer to the game, we’ll decide if Justin were to come out of the game, who would go in next.”
By Brent Wainscott on ©August 11th, 2019 @ 11:00am
Don’t shoot the messenger, but apparently, Gunnar Hoak is in contention for QB1 at Ohio State.
Justin Fields, the five-star Georgia transfer, was expected to walk into to Columbus and essentially be handed the starting job. But, according to first-year Buckeye head coach Ryan Day, that isn’t the case.
Dustin Schutte from Saturday Tradition writes:
“I thought after today I’d have a better feel. I didn’t,” Day said, according to Dan Hope of Eleven Warriors. “Nobody went out there and won the job, for sure.”
There’s still plenty of time for one guy to separate himself, but it sounds like there’s a real battle in Columbus.
Maybe that’s not completely surprising considering both players are learning a new system and have limited game experience. Still, Fields not being the clear starter at this point probably isn’t the kind of news most expected out of Ohio State.
It’ll be interesting to see how long Day goes before pulling the trigger on one of these guys.
Could it be coach-speak or is Gunnar Hoak really about to be the starting quarterback for Ohio State?
All I know is, I saw number 12 in blue last season, and either he has vastly improved this offseason or Justin Fields isn’t quite living up to expectations.
Not to bash Gunnar Hoak, but Terry Wilson is my quarterback and I still believe Kentucky got the right guy out of the deal. If Hoak does become QB1 for the Scarlet and Silver next season, there is no need to ‘what if?’. Kentucky has their guy.
psst…I’m still not prepared for our fanbase’s reaction if Gunnar Hoak is QB1 at Ohio State.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©April 23rd, 2019 @ 11:36am
This morning, Kentucky backup quarterback Gunnar Hoak announced he will enter the transfer portal. In today’s press conference previewing the NFL Draft, Mark Stoops said Hoak leaving Kentucky isn’t a done deal, but he supports his decision to explore his options outside of Lexington as a grad transfer.
“Gunnar and I had a great talk yesterday. He’s a great kid and as I told him, he really had a good spring. I told you all that after one of the scrimmages that he really played well, as good as I’ve seen him play. I think you understand that because he’s a competitor and he wants to play. It’s not a done deal that he’s going to go somewhere else. I think he’s going to look at it and just check his options and I told him we would have another discussion about it at a later time and we’ll see where that goes. Just want to be supportive of him and his decision but it does put us in a situation where we’re a little thin.”
If Gunnar does go elsewhere for his final two years of eligibility, that leaves Terry Wilson as the starter and only Walker Wood and true freshmen Amani Gilmore and Nic Scalzo (who is recovering from a torn ACL) behind him. After the season, Danny Clark announced he was transferring as well.
“Obviously we get thin with Danny [Clark] moving on. Listen, we’re not uncommon to that. Unfortunately, it’s part of this situation right now with college football and college athletics and we have to deal with it…But you’ve got to count on some young guys, and Walker [Wood]’s coming back and he’s definitely healthy now and playing the best he’s played since he’s been here and you’ve got the two young guys coming in.”
As for Scalzo, Stoops said his rehab is going well, but they’ll exercise caution in bringing him back.
“Nic, if you know anything about Nic, you know he’s going to say he’s ready just like Walker. Those guys will play with an ACL injury, that’s how tough both of them are. Obviously, we’ll make sure he’s ready to go and he will not play until our trainers tell him he is but I know he’s working his tail off and seems like he’s going to be ready but we’ll see. You’ve got Amani coming in as well, so we’ll have to check to see where he’s at.”
Gunnar Hoak will look into other options for the final two years of his college football career, announcing on Tuesday that he will enter the NCAA’s transfer portal.
“After much thought and consideration, I have decided to put my name in the NCAA transfer portal,” he tweeted. “With graduation coming up next week, I knew I had an important decision to make for my future including my football and academic careers.
“I would like to thank Coach Stoops and the UK staff for understanding that I need to see if there any other options for me at this time in my career.”
Prior to UK’s spring game earlier this month, Mark Stoops said, “Of course I want Gunnar here but I’ll be very supportive of him in whatever he decides to do.”
As a graduate transfer, Hoak will have two years of immediate eligibility.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©April 13th, 2019 @ 4:30pm
Set to graduate in May, quarterback Gunnar Hoak has a decision to make when it comes to his final years of eligibility. He could stay and compete for the starting job with Terry Wilson, or he could transfer and be eligible to play elsewhere immediately.
When asked about Hoak last week, Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops was brutally honest when it came to the quarterback’s future with the program.
While he’d love him to stay, he understands the reality of the situation that it might now work out that way in the end.
“I’m not sure (what he’s going to do),” Stoops said. “I going to sit down with Gunnar next week and we will talk about his plans and what he has planned. I don’t know. … Of course I want Gunnar here but I’ll be very supportive of him whatever he decides to do.”
Following his combined 262-yard, two-touchdown performance in the Spring Game on Friday night, Hoak said that his focus right now is to finish out the semester strong academically.
From there, he’ll sit down with his family and make the best decision for his future.
“My main goal right now is to focus on these last two weeks of finals, of course,” he said. “I came here to graduate. That’s the biggest goal in life, to get through college and get a degree, so right now I have to focus on finals, these final papers. We’ll see what happens from there.”
Kentucky co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Darin Hinshaw said after the game that every conversation he has had with Hoak has been about returning to UK and letting the process ride out.
“The only times I’ve talked to Gunnar, I’ve laid the path of him being here at Kentucky,” he said. “Getting a Master’s degree, which he will be able to get 30 hours done in three semesters, no problem. He can stay here, get his Master’s degree, and go compete to be the starting quarterback. And you can see he’s doing it.”
While Hinshaw understands that Hoak does have a tough decision to make and he will support him in whatever he decides to do, he thinks it’s in his best interest to return to Kentucky.
“Terry and him have an unbelievable relationship,” he said. “Sometimes the grass looks greener somewhere else, but the bottom line is that he’s put in his time, gotten better, and he can win for us. I’m very excited about him and staying here and being a part of our program. We want him to be here at Kentucky.”
In Hinshaw’s eyes, competition helps the entire roster get better, and he’s hoping that will continue with Hoak still with the program throughout the summer and into the 2019 season.
“I’m proud of all the quarterbacks, especially Gunnar,” he said. “He really came out and competed every scrimmage. He’s really gotten better, and he’s pushing Terry. What makes us better is when we have competition, so we need to continue to do that and continue to push ourselves throughout the summer.”
By Nick Roush on ©April 06th, 2019 @ 2:30pm
This morning the Kentucky football team returned to Kroger Field for its third scrimmage of the spring season.
For the fourth year in a row, Gunnar Hoak took turns leading the offense. Like many times before, was with the twos. Many wonder if Hoak will stick around Lexington a little longer or look elsewhere for playing time as a starting quarterback.
“I’m not sure,” Mark Stoops said after Saturday’s scrimmage. “I’m going to sit down with him next week and we’ll talk about his plans. I don’t know. We’re working our tail off with him like we always do. He’s doing everything we ask him to do like always. After this spring we can always sit down and talk, see what’s best for him and his future.”
Hoak lost the quarterback competition in the preseason to Terry Wilson but was called into action in the season opener following an injury to Wilson. He promptly led Kentucky to a scoring drive right before half. Hoak received a few more opportunities, completing 13-of-26 passes for 167 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, but never could quite capitalize in his four appearances.
Even though Hoak has not filled up the stat sheet, he’s an important piece to next year’s team. Keeping running quarterbacks healthy in the SEC is not easy. If Hoak does opt to become a grad transfer after his spring commencement ceremony, he could play right away elsewhere, leaving Kentucky with only Walker Wood and two true freshmen to back up Terry Wilson.
“Of course I want Gunnar here but I’ll be very supportive of him in whatever he decides to do,” said Stoops.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©February 06th, 2019 @ 2:40pm
There’s been some uncertainty over whether or not backup quarterback Gunnar Hoak will stay at Kentucky next season, but today, Mark Stoops said he met with the rising junior and expects him to remain in Lexington.
“Yeah, I do. The meetings that we’ve had, he’s worried about getting better and working hard and having a great winter and having a great spring.”
Hoak played in four games this past season, going 13-26 for 167 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Third-string quarterback Danny Clark announced his intentions to transfer at the end of the season; with Terry Wilson only a hit away from coming out, it’s nice to hear Kentucky will have an experienced backup waiting in the wings.
Looking ahead to the 2019 Kentucky football season, Mark Stoops has a precarious quarterback situation. Fortunately, Stoops’ staff will not be in the middle of a quarterback competition, however, they will be walking on thin ice to figure out who will replace Terry Wilson if the mobile quarterback is sidelined by a big hit.
Only three days after the season ended at Louisville, the first domino fell. Redshirt freshman Danny Clark announced he would transfer from Kentucky, leaving Darin Hinshaw’s quarterback room with three scholarship players — Wilson, Walker Wood and Gunnar Hoak. The latter’s status still remains unclear.
Many speculated that Hoak would be the first quarterback to announce a transfer. A redshirt sophomore in his third year at UK, Hoak battled toe to toe with the JUCO transfer throughout the preseason. Hoak lost the competition, but played in the season opener. After Wilson was sidelined with an injury against Central Michigan, Hoak sparked the offense with a touchdown pass to David Bouvier in the final minute of the first half. When two second half series by Hoak failed to produce points, Wilson re-entered the game and did not relinquish that role the rest of the season.
Wilson’s first year as Kentucky’s starter wasn’t perfect. After the Vanderbilt game, critics called for Hoak to lead Kentucky’s offense. Even Gunnar’s father aired his grievances on social media ahead of the Missouri game. No. 12 was eventually called into the game for a few series, but only completed 3-of-8 passes for 27 yards before Wilson returned to lead Kentucky on an improbable game-winning drive that cemented his spot as UK’s starter.
Terry Wilson is not going anywhere anytime soon. Like Hoak, Wilson has two years of eligibility remaining. Many assume Hoak will transfer to search for playing time elsewhere. Today we learned Hoak will graduate in May, which means he could transfer and be eligible to play this fall.
— Holly Hoak (@holly_hoak) January 8, 2019
Will Gunnar become Kentucky’s second quarterback transfer of the offseason? Sources tell KSR it’s likely, however, nothing will be official until well after spring practice in May.
In the event Hoak does become a grad transfer, Walker Wood would be the only scholarship quarterback behind Wilson with any experience in the offense. Kentucky has recruited to fill the void with Amani Gilmore and Nik Scalzo, although neither will be on campus until June and Scalzo will be rehabilitating a torn ACL. The transfer market may also be explored, but just like in Hoak’s case, you don’t know until you officially know.
Terry Wilson’s style of play requires an offense to always be prepared to operate with a second quarterback. Hoak filled that role admirably in 2018. If Hoak does not want that role in 2019, finding the right person for the job will not be easy.
Today we witnessed Kentucky’s Gunnar Hoak experiment.
The second string quarterback played three series in the third quarter. Following a three and out, Hoak drove the ball into Missouri territory, but ultimately left the field empty-handed. Hoak exited the game after one more series, completing 3-of-8 passes for 27 yards. Stoops explained why he made the move after the game.
“I felt that I had to get Gunnar in the game. I’ve just been feeling that way. I still will do that,” Stoops said. “Terry responded. Maybe it’s good for Terry to get out for a minute, calm down for a second, get a change of pace and let Gunnar get in there, get a couple series and take some pressure off Terry.”
Wilson respectfully disagreed in Stoops’ theory that sitting on the sideline helps, but he was not bothered by the move.
“It’s a mindset. I’m a team guy. I’m encouraging all my guys on the sideline, keeping them positive that we were going to win and that’s what we did.”
Eddie Gran said he saw growth from Terry in the final minute of the game. Wilson completed all six passes for 87 yards on the game-winning drive. He finished the game 22-of-31 for 267 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Wilson’s late pick almost took Kentucky out of the game, but Stoops was not surprised to see Wilson bounce back when it mattered most.
“I’m glad it worked out that way,” Stoops said. “We’ll continue to explore and put our offense in the best position, but it said an awful lot about him. It didn’t surprise me the way he responded and the way he bounced back.”
Eddie Gran and Darin Hinshaw weighed in on the quarterbacks’ performance:
By TJ Walker on ©October 22nd, 2018 @ 11:00pm
Sometimes you get repeated quotes from the Monday luncheon during the Mark Stoops Show later that evening, but that was far from the case tonight.
While talking with Tom Leach, Mark Stoops said that he will play multiple/several quarterbacks against Missouri on Saturday. Terry Wilson will be the starter, but it sounds like we will see Gunnar Hoak get some reps. Maybe even Danny Clark, too.
Leach sounded a bit surprised by the huge news and double checked with Stoops.
“Yeah, we’ll see how it goes,” Stoops said.
It sounded like Stoops was willing to give Wilson a pass for the Texas A&M game but was “disappointed” with how he played against Vanderbilt on Saturday. Stoops said he thinks the two turnovers early in the game impacted his play.
“We still have a lot of confidence in Terry, but he didn’t play a very good game last week.”
Whoa. Wilson has been below average over the last couple games but this is huge news. Will this motivate Wilson? Make him play more timid? Will Hoak or Clark be able to add a spark? Will taking Wilson out hurt or help the rushing attack? This isn’t a throwaway season where you’re playing for the future. Kentucky has a chance to do special things now.
Stoops also had updates that he talked about this morning but went into more detail during the show:
- Stoops said they have kicker Chance Poore ready to go and you’ll likely see him on Saturday
- Kash Daniel had “minor” surgery on his hand and he’s day-to-day. Stoops said he will be out there tomorrow or Wednesday with a club or cast on his hand. He will play on Saturday. “You’d have to cut his hand off (if you didn’t want him to play),” Stoops said.
- Stoops said that Josh Allen is one of the best defensive players in the country. We agree.
- Stoops realizes how big of a game Saturday is, but jokes that every game is his biggest game.
By Nick Roush on ©October 22nd, 2018 @ 1:20pm
One unexpected outcome from Kentucky’s victory over Vanderbilt is a quarterback controversy.
Despite Kentucky’s 6-1 record, UK’s passing game has struggled through the last ten quarters, culminating with an 18-yard passing performance from Terry Wilson last Saturday. Terry is still Mark Stoops’ guy, but Stoops leaving his options open.
“Terry’s our starting quarterback,” Stoops said at today’s press conference. “He’s going to start this week, but we certainly need to look at the other guys and see if they can get an opportunity to get in there and play and help us win. We’ll have a plan and we’ll work Gunnar pretty extensively this week and have him ready to play as well.”
Stoops cannot pinpoint why Wilson has struggled recently. Some of the blame rests on the coaches’ shoulders. From the outside, it looks like a confidence issue. Stoops is not so sure.
“I don’t know. I don’t think so. I talked to Terry today before this and he doesn’t see it that way.”
Stoops can see on film what Terry must do to improve.
“Getting the quarterback to pull the pin and make accurate throws and to trust himself. He has done that this year. He has been successful. He has put us in a position to get to the spot we’re in right now. But he’s also not played his best in the past couple of games.”
The wind likely played a factor in Wilson’s hesitancy to let the ball fly against Vanderbilt. The gusts all but eliminated the prospects of a vertical passing game, however, the wind does not excuse all of Wilson’s mistakes.
“There were times where he could’ve thrown the ball and didn’t. That needs to be fixed. That I can’t defend,” said Stoops.
Kentucky’s head coach believes Wilson can do what it takes for this team to be successful. He’s seen Wilson do it time and time again through seven games. The line will be drawn in the sand if and when Wilson is a detriment to his team’s success.
“There were set opportunities that we didn’t throw the ball that we need to get fixed and I’m confident we will. Terry has done that. He’s played winning football for us and put us in a position to win a lot of games. We greatly appreciate that and he’ll continue to do that. He will start, but once again, I owe an obligation to the rest of our team to put us in a position to win games so you have to have other guys ready to go.”
By Nick Roush on ©October 21st, 2018 @ 10:45pm
Since Kentucky’s 14-7 win over Vanderbilt, a portion of the Kentucky football fanbase has used social media to cry for Gunnar Hoak to replace Terry Wilson as the Cats’ starting quarterback. Gunnar Hoak’s father has joined the mix.
After a person created a petition for Hoak to replace Wilson, Frank Hoak chimed in.
I’m sure none of the coaches, or his son, would love to see that Tweet, but it was innocent enough. However, some of his other social media activity was a little more egregious.
When others pointed out that Frank Hoak’s words were not doing his son any favors, he had a few choice replies.
“What, are they not going to play him?” Another took a not-so subtle shot at the UK coaches. “Why not have some fun with it? It’s better than sitting back and watching you child’s career fade away.”
Before Frank Hoak spoke out on Twitter, during the game he liked a few Tweets that had a heavy transfer flavor.
Mr. Hoak isn’t the first father of a player to voice his grievances on social media. Just like every previous incident, his words will accomplish nothing. All good parents will do whatever they can to help their child, but this helps no one.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©August 21st, 2018 @ 11:00am
This morning on KSR, Mark Stoops reiterated he hasn’t decided which quarterback will start vs. Central Michigan, Terry Wilson or Gunnar Hoak, but senior tight end CJ Conrad said Wilson’s speed could give Kentucky an extra dimension this fall.
“He throws it a lot better than people think he does and he’s extremely athletic,” Conrad said of Wilson, who reportedly shined in Saturday’s scrimmage. “If he was our quarterback at the time, he could be the fastest player on the field. He’s that fast. He’s extremely fast. That’s what I told my dad, if Terry is the quarterback, he would be the fastest on the field. He’s really fast. But he also throws it. He makes really good decisions. He’s not sporadic or anything. Overall, just a good head on his shoulders, good kid.”
Conrad also doled out plenty of praise for Hoak, who he said always makes the smart plays.
“He’s been here the longest, knows the offense extremely well. Gunnar has a nice touch on his passes. He’s not one of those guys that’s going to zip it in there, but he has a nice touch. He’s smart. He makes all the smart throws. He knows what he’s doing. He’s a quiet leader, sort of like Stephen [Johnson].”
Danny Clark is behind Wilson and Hoak in the race, but Conrad said the redshirt freshman’s future at Kentucky is bright.
“He can sling it. He’s the complete opposite of Gunnar. If there’s a tight window, he’s going to throw it. He’s also pretty athletic, runs pretty well.”
Sadly, we don’t have a ton of highlights of Terry at UK yet, so until we do, watch him burn up the turf at Garden City last year: