When the Kentucky football team reports to training camp on August 2, 18 starters will return to the team, yet who replaces one starter on offense will be a lingering question throughout camp.
After Stephen Johnson led Kentucky to consecutive seven-win regular seasons, Eddie Gran’s next signal-caller will be taking snaps in the SEC for the first time. Before Gunnar Hoak, Terry Wilson and Danny Clark compete for the job, Gran has one simple message: go take it.
“It needs to be clear-cut. It didn’t happen in the spring. They’re both a little bit different. You’d like to see somebody rise somewhere down the road, whether it be in the first 29 practices, whether it be by game three or game six. Somebody’s going to have to take this thing and go with it.”
Kentucky’s offensive coordinator didn’t compare the competition to war, but he wants it to be a battle for the job. He can’t see how they’ve performed in a game, but he can measure their tenacity in practice.
“None of them have been in a game with actual bullets flying. That’s always an interesting facet when you come into the year.” So how does Gran ease them in? “You try to make as much game-like situations in the spring.”
Two weeks into practice, every single team period of practice was game-like. Instead of standing in the huddle alongside the quarterbacks during a red zone or third down setting, the plays were called in from the sideline. It forced the quarterbacks to learn on the fly.
“You can’t simulate the full speed part of it, but I think it really helped our quarterbacks. We’ll continue to do that and hopefully somebody just takes the job.”