QB coach creating added pressure in practice for the quarterbacks


Kentucky Wildcats quarterback Gunnar Hoak drops back to pass during the blue white spring game at Commonwealth Stadium on Friday, April 14, 2017 in Lexington, KY. Photo by Addison Coffey | Staff.

In UK football’s ongoing quarterback battle, people like to point out that none of the quarterbacks have taken a single snap of FBS college football.

So what has the coaching staff done to create a game-like environment before September 1’s kickoff? They have increased the intensity in practice by adding pressure on the quarterbacks’ shoulders.

“I call it, ‘Cooking in their kitchen’ a little bit,” quarterbacks coach Darin Hinshaw said after Tuesday’s practice. “I try to get in their kitchen, especially when they’re tired and they make a mistake.”

This is different from how coaching staffs typically handle practice. Usually when a player makes a mistake, they will get told how to correctly perform that action with few consequences. 

However, that is not how Hinshaw is handling the inexperienced quarterbacks.

“I want to see them, when they do something wrong, come out of it,” Hinshaw said. “I tell them to wipe the board clean.”

Hinshaw is doing everything he can to create a game-like environment, from adding pressure in scrimmage situations to making basic drills more physical than usual. 

“We’re throwing them on the ground, Josh (Allen) does a great job of punching them in the ribs when they throw,” Hinshaw said. “They kind of get simulated some stuff as far as being hit without able for them to get hurt.”

All of these difficult factors can make training camp difficult for these new quarterbacks, who were not made available for interviews after Tuesday’s practice. But when things go right, the man who created those difficult situations is there to celebrate. 

“There’s times when they do things really well that I’m chest bumping them, I’m picking them up, loving up, high-fiving and you over emphasize that,” Hinshaw said.

Hinshaw is not the only one high-fiving and supporting the quarterbacks, as the group has a lot of chemistry, more than Hinshaw can remember from any of his quarterback groups.

In a tight race for the starting quarterback spot, it is possible that guys could turn on each other and focus on winning the job. While winning the job remains the focus for all the quarterbacks, they are doing so while supporting one another.

“I really truly think that they’ve bought in to the fact that whoever is out there, we’re rooting like crazy for them and when I get my chance, I’m going to do the very best I can,” Hinshaw said. 

Hinshaw still does not know who will be UK’s signal caller on September 1, but he is confident that no matter who it is, the Cats’ offense will be just fine.

“They’re really doing everything I ask them to do, right now I kind of like where they are,” Hinshaw said.