Hinshaw on Drew Barker: “It’s good to see a smile on his face.”

Drew Barker (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky quarterbacks coach Darrin Hinshaw emphasized again Tuesday just how pleased he is with the way quarterback Drew Barker is coming back from offseason back surgery.

He led the offense to a score in his first series in Saturday’s scrimmage.

“Really proud of that. He’s starting to get a little bit of the rust off, if you know what I mean. He’s really coming along,” Hinshaw said.

He said returning starting quarterback Stephen Johnson is playing at a “very high level” in spring practice.

“I’ve got to continue to coach him for the little things now so he can continue to get better, and better and better so he can be perfect,” Hinshaw said.

He also praised redshirt freshman quarterback Gunnar Hoak is playing well.

“The whole offense in general now is really clicking. We’ve got to continue to take it to another level because the defense is getting better and better and coming after us,” Hinshaw said.

Barker, who was not available to the media Tuesday but seemed in a jovial mood as he left practice, may have surprised himself with how well he did in the scrimmage based on what Hinshaw said.

“He played really, really well. He played like the old Drew Barker. And in practices it hasn’t been that way because I’m trying to throw him in here and there. The other thing too, with the back injury, the scar tissue has to break up. It takes time. It’s a different type of scar tissue,” Hinshaw said.

“Think about all the movements you do as a quarterback. All the different things we do — hand it off, up, down, sideways. It all affects the back area, so he’s finally getting into a comfort zone where the pain level, he’s able to throw. And the hardest thing was being able to just put that mustard on the ball and be able to get it from point A to point B, and he’s doing it now. It’s good to see a smile on his face.”

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