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Dual-threat QB Johnson could be helping UK defense, too

Stephen Johnson (Vicky Graff Photo)

Stephen Johnson (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky quarterbacks get no slack from coach Darin Hinshaw if they fail to complete a pass and backup Stephen Johnson feels the heat just like starter Drew Barker.

“Stephen, I’m really hard on him and the fact that I don’t accept any missed throws ever, so in that process, they know I’m coming down on them if they miss a throw. But also, I want them to be on themselves, too. There’s a fine line between where you get down on yourself and you actually can’t play anymore?” Hinshaw said.

“Where you’re so worried about missing a throw. And I’ve kind of (gone) through that with all the quarterbacks where they’ve gotten so frustrated but now they’ve learned to kind of mute me out a little bit. And that’s good because that’s what’s going to happen in a game, you’ve got to put everything aside and focus on what you’ve got to do. The past is the past.

“You can’t change the last throw, but you can sure change the present and what the future’s going to hold on the next drive and everything else in how’s your attitude and how you handle it. So we’re getting better at that.”

Dual-threat quarterbacks like Johnson have given the Kentucky defense fits in recent years. Hinshaw hopes Johnson will do the same thing to opposing defenses.

“As a defense, if you can throw as a quarterback and be able to run some, it creates problems for ‘em. But if you cannot throw and you become one-sided – and it’s the same thing if all you do is throw. It’s the same situation. Defenses can really hunker down and figure out ways to beat you,” Hinshaw said.

“But if you can do both as a quarterback – you don’t have to run great. You just have to be able to run to go get yards and move chains, but you have to throw the ball accurately. You have to complete the football and you have to complete the third downs, the red zone throws, all those things as a quarterback to be successful in our offense.”

Barker can run better than many realize and likely will do that some this year as well.

But Johnson’s versatility could help UK’s defense get ready for dual-threat quarterbacks it might face.

“Coach Stoops does that. It has nothing to do with me. I just do what he tells me to do. And we run the offense and we try to do the best we can,” Hinshaw said.

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