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What Gunnar Hoak’s Potential Departure Means for Kentucky’s Offense

If Gunnar Hoak does not wear Kentucky blue in 2019, Eddie Gran will not be able to completely unleash every offensive weapon at his disposal.

Tuesday morning Hoak announced he has entered his name into the transfer portal. A sign many saw coming, Mark Stoops confirmed the Dublin, Ohio native is leaving the door open to possibly return to UK for another season.

“It is not a done deal that he goes somewhere else, I think he is going to look at it and check his options and I told him we would have another discussion about it at another time,” said Stoops. “We will see where that goes. I just want to be supportive of him and that decision.”

If Hoak does leave Lexington, as Drew informed you last night, Terry Wilson’s supporting cast has zero college football experience. Wilson will be one injury away from putting UK’s offense behind the eight-ball. That’s obviously the greatest concern, but it’s not the only potential limitation to Gran’s offense in 2019.

QB Running Game

Life after Benny Snell will make Gran and Darin Hinshaw’s life more difficult. They need every potential playmaker at their disposal. Not used as much near the end of the 2018 season, people forget just how well Terry Wilson runs the football.

In his first season as UK’s starter, Wilson rushed for 547 yards and four touchdowns. If you take away the negative yards from the 28 times he was sacked, Wilson gained 6.75 yards per carry on 8.2 attempts per game. That’s better than any other Wildcat runner, 1.5 more yards per carry than Benny Snell.

If Wilson was able to get almost seven yards per carry in his first year in the offense, the natural next step to take, especially without Benny Snell, is to increase Wilson’s workload on the ground. With Hoak in the picture, Wilson would easily get 11-15 attempts per game. Without Hoak, Gran will try to conserve his passer by dialing up fewer plays like this:

Too Much Thinking

Terry Touchdown’s greatest weakness manifested at Kyle Field. At various points in the year, he was a poor decision-maker. Equipped with an abundance of knowledge, he got inside his own head. At Texas A&M he thought too much and it was obvious.

When asked this spring what was the biggest difference in Wilson’s game, the phrase, “more comfortable” always came to light. His understanding of the scheme improved dramatically. It helped him get rid of his nervous habits, like stepping up in the pocket, and got the ball out of his hand faster.

All that improvement could go to the wayside if Wilson is worried about not getting hurt. When the going gets tough, good habits fall by the wayside and thinking overtakes instinct. Instead of using his instincts to fight for a first down in overtime, Wilson made the “smart” play and slid. Could that situation occur again if Gran and Hinshaw are reminding him not to get hurt? Certainly.

We will see the best version of Terry Wilson if Gunnar Hoak decides to return to the sideline. Without Hoak, the immense pressure on Wilson’s shoulders will only become heavier.


Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

17 Comments for What Gunnar Hoak’s Potential Departure Means for Kentucky’s Offense

  1. 4everUKblue
    3:34 pm April 24, 2019 Permalink

    It mean BigolSlaterMedic is researching the most painless method of offing himself while making BBN look as bad as possible. Him and KYCAPSLOCK4EVER…Whoever came up with that name is brilliant.

    • CatfaninCinci
      3:57 pm April 24, 2019 Permalink

      God! Can you imagine BOSM if Terry goes down? KSR will be uninhabitable for a week!

    • CoachCat
      4:06 pm April 24, 2019 Permalink

      You can’t stop bring that guy up lol. Let it go man

    • BluejayK
      6:26 pm April 24, 2019 Permalink

      Agreed Coach.. They make the comment section just as dreadful as the ones they hate.

  2. kjd
    3:55 pm April 24, 2019 Permalink

    So dramatic! Without Gunner! Whoa are we!
    Gunner was healthy last season. Coaches didn’t cut Wilson loose. Why? He fumbles!
    You play to win. Injuries are going to happen. You ride your star as long as you can. Hold nothing back.

  3. Trueblue44
    4:09 pm April 24, 2019 Permalink

    Sooooo, old Rousch is throwing the towel in on Terry because his backup is leaving? Makes sense…..

    If the thought is that Terry will feel pressure, I’m not buying it. If the thought is that Gran won’t open it up and let him run because he might get hurt, I’d buy it but not sure why, really. Run your plays, you can’t hold back cause your scared, just play the game

  4. TB112162
    4:51 pm April 24, 2019 Permalink

    When Rousch play QB at Desales I bet he wasn’t concerned with his backup playing

  5. BackinBlue
    5:58 pm April 24, 2019 Permalink


  6. 206Bones
    6:11 pm April 24, 2019 Permalink

    You think that just maybe a little mop-up time would have helped? Everybody was screaming for it except the TW is the greatest crowd.

    8:20 pm April 24, 2019 Permalink

    Of course ideal would be to redshirt all freshmen unless physically and mentally ready, but if Hoak leaves, I am really high on incoming freshman Amani Gilmore. I think his future is bright and a lot of fans don’t know what we have! Also don’t sleep on incoming freshman Travis Tisdale at RB. Boom 2.0

  8. zoupman
    9:48 pm April 24, 2019 Permalink

    UK needs Gunner. I hope he stays.

    • CATandMONKEY
      10:28 pm April 24, 2019 Permalink

      It is GunnAR.

      UK doesn’t need him. No offense (pun not intended) to Gunnar but UK didn’t need him last year and will not need him this year. Bowden would have been a far more effective and productive backup.

    • kjd
      7:03 am April 25, 2019 Permalink

      Bowden is our #1 receiver. Was never recruited as a QB.

    10:24 pm April 24, 2019 Permalink

    What Gunnar Hoak’s Potential Departure Means for Kentucky’s Offense”

    Absolutely nothing.

  10. zoupman
    10:43 pm April 24, 2019 Permalink

    You guys are nuts. Without Gunner we don’t have a QB on team who has ever taken a snap besides Terry. You think QB’s don’t get hurt. We need Gunner big time.

  11. JDizzle14
    9:54 am April 25, 2019 Permalink

    Hes leaving just like all the other QBs did because he knows Stoops is not interested in any pro-style, pocket-passing QBs….they only want Terry Wilson-types so they can run their grind-it-out, clock-controlled game which is fine, just call the right plays suited to Wilson’s strengths. If hes as good a runner as they always say, then run designed QB draws and option plays that would suit his talents. But idk why anyone is surprised abt this: its the same reason Barker and all those other backup QBs have left: they saw the handwriting on the wall, they knew Stoops preferred the Jalen Whitlows, the Stephen Johnsons, the Terry Wilsons…this happens every spring.Stoops doesnt want any QBs whose talents in high school were throwing the ball down the field. Yet they tried to turn Wilson into that very type QB last year instead of running plays suited to his strengths, which goes back to the very reason why Stoops and his OCs have always been so maddening and confusing in regard to their style and play-calling. Its like they dont tailor their offense and play-calling for their QBs to their strengths and to the style they claim they want to run. Its like they try to turn Wilson into Tim Couch instead of giving him the freedom to roll out in the pocket and either run or throw on the run. Hes not a drop-back pocket passer out of the shotgun, but thats all they run. Wilson NEVER under center. So u tell ME…….