Stoops offers insight into quarterback struggles


Kentucky Wildcats quarterback Terry Wilson (3) being tackled by a defensive Vanderbilt player. University of Kentucky football defeated Vanderbilt University 14-7 to become 6-1 on the season on Saturday, October 20, 2018 at Kroger Field in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

The Kentucky football team is off to a 6-1 start, but yet there is still some uncertainty surrounding one of the most important positions on the offense.

In the last two games, quarterback Terry Wilson has thrown for only 126 while completing 55 percent of his passes. Wilson has also fumbled the ball three times in the last two games, one of which was picked up by the opposing defense.

Wilson’s last two games as the starting quarterback have been his worst, and head coach Mark Stoops recognized that at his weekly press conference on Monday afternoon. 

“He has done that this year, he’s been successful, he’s put us in a position to get to the spot we’re in now, but he’s not played his best the past couple of games, so we have to look at that,” Stoops said at the press conference.

Stoops said that Wilson will be the starting quarterback when Kentucky faces Missouri on Saturday, but he won’t be the only UK quarterback on the field ready to play. 

“Certainly we got to look at all options, again like we always have,” Stoops said. “Terry is our starting quarterback, he’s going to start this week, but we certainly need to look at the other guys and see if they can get an opportunity to get in there to play and help us.”

One concern that’s surrounding Wilson is the lack of downfield passing. In Wilson’s first five games, he averaged 9.6 yards per completion, but that number has dipped to 7.9 yards per completion during his two game slump. 

Against Vanderbilt, where Wilson only completed three passes in nine attempts, and his lone pass farther than the line of scrimmage was an incomplete deep ball pass to Dorian Baker. Besides that one shot, Wilson mostly threw dump off passes to Lynn Bowden, not including the pass behind the line of scrimmage that Bowden bobbled, resulting in a fumble. 

For a team that relies on the run game as much as it does, passing down the field is a good way to open up running lanes, and Stoops wants to see more shots taken down field.

“That’s where that needs to be fixed, and so that I can’t defend,” Stoops said. “What we do and who we are and our identity and how we win football games is going to be up to us and what we decide is best to put us in a situation to win.” 

Gunnar Hoak will get a lot of first-team reps in practice according to Stoops, but he still has faith in Wilson as the starting quarterback. He isn’t questioning Wilson’s confidence and hopes to see the quarterback play improve in the coming weeks. 

“We’re always in this together, it’s never any one person’s fault, but certainly we need to play better at that position,” Stoops said.