Kentucky’s offense had the chance to speak with the media after practice today, and there was just one question on everyone’s mind.
What the heck is going on at the quarterback position?
Fortunately, offensive coordinator Eddie Gran, current starting quarterback Terry Wilson and QB Coach Darin Hinshaw were all available to clear things up. Unfortunately, that’s not really what happened. Both Gran and Hinshaw said Wilson is still the starting quarterback. But what comes next?
“We’ve been preparing for it all year and we’re ready to go,” Gran said. “Like Coach [Stoops] alluded to, sometimes you have to make a change. Terry’s still our starting quarterback, but we’ve got two more that are ready to go.”
Coach Hinshaw agreed this has been the plan all along.
“I’ve told Gunnar Hoak from day one: after the first snap, you better be ready to play. It’s no different this week.”
But it is different this week. Because last Saturday, Wilson fumbled the ball twice. The pressure is on him to step up, and he knows that. Wilson played a fantastic game against Florida early in the season, but it seems his results have declined since then. What’s the difference?
“Have more fire in me – that’s what I need to get back in me. The coaches are doing a great job of trying to spark some fire under my butt so I can keep going,” Wilson said. “I just can’t let stuff get to my head. And by stuff, I mean outside noise. I’ve got to stay true to me, remember how I got here, why I got here and then just let it rip.”
Yes, Wilson made mistakes last week. And Hinshaw even said there were passes that Wilson should have been able to complete and didn’t, plus some passes that were skipped entirely. But the burden doesn’t rest on the quarterback’s shoulders alone.
“As an offense, we’ve got to help him in certain situations,” Hinshaw said. “But he’s got to pull the pin when his number is called. I’m really proud of how hard he’s working to get ready for this week.”
But, of course, Wilson isn’t the only one putting in the extra work as game day approaches.
“Gunnar [Hoak] has been doing a great job of getting ready to play when his number gets called, if that situation comes to fruition, and so has Danny Clark,” Hinshaw said. “Danny Clark has been improving, improving, improving, improving, and his attitude has been unbelievable. I’m really excited about all three of them playing.”
With three potential quarterbacks all preparing to get snaps against Missouri, it’s easy to imagine an awkward locker room. But, at least according to Wilson, that’s not the case at this point.
“It’s the same as always,” the starting QB said of the vibe in the quarterback room this week. “I know that we’re competing. We’ve always battled, [starting] when I got here. But I haven’t [been] told anything about a quarterback battle.”
So what will it take for Wilson to stay in the game?
“Go take the bull by the horns… go play like Terry Wilson is capable of playing,” Hinshaw said. “It’s very simple. And then the other guys get ready to play.”
And, if all else fails, Kentucky always has Benny Snell.
“I’m the fall back guy,” Snell joked. “If hell’s breaking loose and they can’t get it done, I’m here.”
Let’s hope it doesn’t get to that point.