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.