Kentucky will not need a wide receiver to save this season by taking snaps under center.
Mark Stoops was happy to share with the Kentucky Sports Radio listening audience that the Wildcats’ quarterback room is in good hands ahead of the delayed start to 2020 college football season.
“I know our fanbase will be happy to know we’re in good hands at the quarterback position, going through what we went through a year ago. It doesn’t happen very often when you go through that type of injury at any one position, but we’re in good hands,” Stoops said on KSR.
Much of Stoops’ confidence in quarterback play comes from Terry Wilson’s development after he spent a year rehabilitating a knee injury that sidelined him for all but two games of the 2019 season.
“It’s so good to see him out there. He looks so comfortable. If you went back a year ago, Matt, to the preseason and we were talking about Terry, you would have heard me talking about how hard we’d been working, how hard he’s been working, understanding the offense, was going to be a much better player and the was evident in camp and that was evident in the two games he got to play in,” Stoops said.
“Fast forward to this year, we put him back out there and he looks more comfortable. He looks good. He doesn’t look at all gimpy on that leg. It looks strong. He looks fast. He looks comfortable with it. Obviously, we’re not hitting him and we’re not going to hit him through camp. He needs to go through that first game and we all know we’re jumping right into it. There’s no warm-ups, so that’ll be new for him. But right now, he looks really comfortable and I’m just very pleased. He’s getting more and more confident everyday. He looks good throwing the ball. He looks good in the pocket. He looks good with his understanding of the offense and when he pulls it down and runs it, he looks just as fast as ever. That’s a great sign for us.”
Stoops’ confidence in the quarterback position doesn’t end with Terry Wilson. The Wildcats successfully recruited two former four-star passers to UK, Auburn transfer Joey Gatewood and Lexington native Beau Allen.
“You look at Beau, as I mentioned the other day, he’s everything we thought he was — and that’s just a quarterback, a guy that’s very comfortable. He has that vision and the anticipation and accuracy that you’re looking for. He’s just a hard-working guy with a lot of talent. I’m very proud to have Beau.”
Stoops is just as pleased to have Gatewood on the roster, although his eligibility status for this upcoming season remains up in the air.
“Hopefully we’ll get this waiver. I know a lot of people ask about that. I feel confident we’ll get that here in the next couple weeks. Meanwhile he’s preparing like he’s ready to go. I feel very good about Joey and I’m excited to watch him play and watch him compete. We’ll know more about him soon.”
If Gatewood is able to go, Stoops believes the BBN will like what they see on the field. A guy who’s been compared to Cam Newton many times, Stoops understands why.
“He’s used to that comparison. People have been talking about him and Cam for a long time, but yes, he is that type of talent. Obviously, being the first year in a system, he has to work through some things and that comfort level, but just pure, raw athletic ability, he has everything you look for.”
The head coach added, “He’s a different type of quarterback than Terry in that he’s so big and strong. He’s a big, strong guy. He sits in that pocket. He can throw the heck out of the football; very talented.”