By LARRY VAUGHT
He completed just 10 of 24 passes against Vanderbilt, but UK won and quarterback Stephen Johnson offered no excuses for his lack of accuracy.
He wouldn’t even use the high winds as a reason for so many incompletions and certainly did not mention the wrist injury that coach Mark Stoops talked about on his weekly radio show Monday night.
“His wrist is banged up. He would never say that. Afterward, our trainer comes and reports to me. ‘Stephen, was your wrist bothering you?’ He’s like, ‘No. No I just missed those throws.’ A lot of people say ‘Yeah, it’s a little sore.’ Not him,” Stoops said.
Drew Barker started the year at quarterback but went out after one series of the third game against New Mexico State with a lingering back injury. Stoops said after the win over Vanderbilt that Barker was not yet ready to be re-evaluated to determine when he might return or if he would return this season.
With Johnson as the starter, true freshman Gunnar Hoak has been elevated to No. 2 on the depth chart but he’s yet to play in a game. Stoops said on the radio show that Hoak’s status will depend on Barker’s injury and if Johnson can stay healthy and productive.
“If Stephen can stay healthy, I have a lot of confidence in Stephen. I know there’s some good and some bad, but that’s more than likely going to be the same way with Gunnar, too,” Stoops said on the radio show.
A bigger concern for UK against Mississippi State on Oct. 22 could be at outside linebacker and defensive end. Stoops would not say who, but indicated on his radio show that a “couple of guys will be out for a few weeks” at those positions.