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No “scared money” for Stoops with Johnson against South Carolina

Stephen Johnson (Vicky Graff Photo)

Stephen Johnson (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Two things that stood out to Kentucky coach Mark Stoops about the way quarterback Stephen Johnson played in his first big opportunity last week were his poise and his accuracy.

He threw for over 300 yards and three touchdowns in the win over New Mexico State and will make his first start at quarterback against South Carolina Saturday night with Drew Barker out for an unspecified amount of time with a back injury.

Johnson’s threat to run adds a new dimension to the UK offense.

“There’s no doubt it helps. Even if it’s just somebody on the backside just lingering around a little more, then you can get a few more yards sometimes instead of the overlappers all the time,” Stoops said.

The Kentucky coach says coaches Eddie Gran and Darrin  Hinshaw have a “lot of offense to pull from” that works for both Barker and Johnson.

“What we’re going to feature each week depends on what you’re going to see and where we go and how much we can handle week to week. We talked about it last week as a team, being relatively simple on both sides of the ball to be able to execute better. Offensively, it won’t be much different, no,” Stoops said.

Stoops limited how much Johnson could run late in last week’s win to protect him. He’ll be backed up against South Carolina by freshman Gunnar Hoak.

“We’ve got to be careful with him and be smart,” Stoops said.

On if he tells Gran no more Johnson run or Johnson himself:

That will have to change against South Carolina. Kentucky cannot afford to save anything in a game it desperately needs to win to try and save its season.

“We have to win, we have to play. We have to do whatever gives us the best opportunity to win football games. … Ever heard the saying scared money never wins? So same thing here,” Stoops said.

4 comments

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  1. RJ

    Yep. Stoops is in a pickle. It’s just a theory but I suspect that when you recruit “specialists” instead of athletes, this is what you get. An athlete can probably throw an accurate ball, 30 yards instead of 50 but he loves the contact and he loves beating the other guy no matter how he has to do it. He lives for that kind of competition. Once a specialist is taken out of his game however, he is pretty much useless. I think that applies also to defensive players. Just something to think about.

  2. Cats79

    I think it’s time that we quit putting negative post about Stoops and the football team. It’s time to support them there’s still 8 games left any thing can happen to turn things around. I’ve haven’t give up on them and I will keep cheering them on. GO CATS!!!!

    1. Norman Einstein

      Same here Cats. Doesn’t mean that I am the least bit satisfied with the product on the field. Just means I remember 2006.

  3. Mike

    You can tell the pressure has Stoops very close to the cracking point with his comment yesterday “if the defense doesn’t grow up soon we will still get the same bunch of crap”
    Is he just now learning that after 4 years on the job?

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