By LARRY VAUGHT
Maybe Drew Barker sometimes had off-field issues his first two season at Kentucky. However, so far new offensive coordinator Darin Hinshaw has nothing but praise for what Barker has done since he arrived at UK.
“Since I came in here, Drew has been just nipping at it to learn. He’s been a sponge. Now some of his, like I say, is like riding a bike. He’s got to go fall and make mistakes. He’s not going to be perfect out there right now. But from Day 1 to Day 9, he’s improved,” Hinshaw said after Tuesday’s practice.
“His feet have gotten a lot better. We’re working on his target balls also. He’s moving his upper body a lot with his passing, which can cause a ball to be off just a foot or two and be an interception or an incompletion. So we’re getting him to be a little more calm with his upper body. It’s starting to show now with his target balls getting better and better.”
Hinshaw is working with Barker, junior college transfer Stephen Johnson and first semester freshman Gunnar Hoak as his top three quarterbacks. The coordinator said he had a similar situation when he was at Tennessee.
“Not one kid had ever taken a snap, so I kind of know how to coach those guys and get them in a position where they’re not mentally worried. Take one play at a time, do your job on this play and wipe the slate clean and then let’s go to the next play and worry about what your role is, what your job is as a quarterback and our job is to get the ball to the playmakers,” Hinshaw said.
“Again, in the run game, all the tags that we have, all the things that we do, our job is to get the ball to playmakers. Just take it one step – don’t worry about the big picture, about playing in front of 100,000 people and all that stuff right now – let’s just complete the hitch, let’s do what we’re supposed to do on the next play. And then when you narrow it down like that, you can get them in the position where you actually get them ready to play.”
Hinshaw even said he was not totally opposed to using different quarterbacks for specific situations. He’s done that, but he said the final decision on that would be made by head coach Mark Stoops.
“That’s going to be a situations where we’ll talk about it as a staff, but my goal is to get everybody ready to play. I’m going to get three quarterbacks ready to play every season that can go win for us,” Hinshaw said.