By GUY RAMSEY, UK Athletics
When Kentucky Co-Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach Darin Hinshaw arrived in Lexington, he knew he had a physical talent in quarterback Drew Barker. But Hinshaw also knew that Barker had plenty of work to do, both on and off the field.
“I said ‘when I came in and I said the name Drew Barker’, what does everybody say, and the things that came out of my mouth were not good,” Hinshaw said after Friday’s practice. “The things that came out of the AD’s mouth were not good, the things that came out of the equipment room were not good. I said ‘your brand stinks’, so let’s change it. The only way you’re going to change it is not with your mouth, it’s going to be with your actions and what you do on and off the field, and he’s done the things he needs to do to change his brand.”
Barker has put forth a lot of effort to change that brand, leading by example on and off the field. Specifically, he has excelled in the classroom.
“Number one, he’s done what he’s supposed to do off the field,” Hinshaw said of his quarterback. “I’m really proud of him. His GPA was 3.75 last semester and he had a 3.5 this summer. That’s number one, he’s handling his business off the field.”
Hinshaw is hoping that a more focused Barker can spark the Kentucky offense this season. In limited playing time last year, Barker connected on 50 percent of his passes (35-of-70) for 364 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions. So far in preseason camp, the redshirt sophomore has been able to improve on those numbers. When asked about reports that he had completed passes at nearly 70 percent during a recent practice, Barker wasn’t satisfied.
“I even want to get higher (than 70 percent),” he said. “There’s definitely room for improvement.”
As soon as he got to Lexington, Hinshaw began working with all of the quarterbacks, letting them know what he and Co-Offensive Coordinator Eddie Gran expected from them.
“I think when I came in here, (Barker) was very hungry for knowledge and wanting to do the right thing, but I don’t think he knew how,” Hinshaw said. “So I laid it out for him. I explained all of the details of what it’s like to be a pro quarterback, to be professional and to handle your business the right way. He’s done that, he’s worked very hard at it, and it’s become a ritual to him, which is the most important thing for a quarterback. “
Barker continues to attempt the mastery of his craft every single day in practice.
“We’ve got to be more accurate and give our receivers a chance,” Barker said of himself and his fellow signal callers. “It’s not like we’re doing terrible or anything, we just need to be more consistent.”
Barker and Hinshaw have forgotten about the past and are looking to the future.
“The bottom line is, things that are in the past are in the past, you can’t dwell on them,” Hinshaw said. “But you have to go change the future. To do that, you have to work on the present. And the only way is to make every day better, and that’s how you get the future to be good. We’ve changed the past and now we’re working on the present.”