Kentucky’s passing attack has suffered this season. Without a passing touchdown since the first quarter of the New Mexico State game, Stephen Johnson had his worst outing as a starter vs. Vanderbilt, completing 10-24 passes for only 49 yards and 1 interception.
Mark Stoops stands behind his quarterback. “Stephen was obviously pressing a bit and didn’t want to make any mistakes,” Stoops said on tonight’s call-in show.
The gameplan didn’t feature as many run-pass options as usual, but Stoops said they’ll get back to that to get him more comfortable during the bye week. That doesn’t mean they won’t throw the ball downfield. They’ll use the additional time to work on timing in deep routes, “He’ll hit those,” Stoops said.
Stoops didn’t provide excuses for Johnson, because Johnson doesn’t need excuses. Playing with a “banged up” wrist, the trainers appraoched Johnson to ask him about the wrist after a bad throw. He didn’t use his bum wrist as an excuse, blamed himself for the bad pass and told his coach it wouldn’t happen next time.
Stoops likes the gutsy play of Johnson; that’s why he will stick with him moving forward. Drew Barker will be reevaluated in the coming weeks while Gunnar Hoak prepares as the No. 2 quarterback. If Johnson goes down early, Hoak will enter the game. If it’s late in the game, they’ll try to preserve the redshirt by using Luke Wright.