Mark Stoops isn't willing to commit to throwing '35-40 times a game' but notes Kentucky will do what it takes to win
If Kentucky really plans on changing up the offense this season in Lexington, asking Terry Wilson to drop back and throw it 35-40 times a season would certainly do that. According to the team’s quarterbacks coach, Darin Hinshaw, that’s the plan this fall.
During a recent speaking engagement with a Louisville booster club, Hinshaw offered up this comment on Kentucky’s offense for the coming season.
“Last year we were more about running the ball. We had a first-year quarterback with Terry Wilson and he only threw about 20 times a game. We are going to have to increase that this year to 35 to 40 times a game,” Hinshaw said according to Larry Vaught of Vaught’s Views.
Apparently, Hinshaw either didn’t get the okay from his boss to say that or was simply speaking out of turn.
During his Friday morning press conference, Mark Stoops downplayed the talk of his offense really throwing the ball around the field as often as Hinshaw suggested.
“Never ‘chastise’. I like ‘educate’,” Stoops jokingly said in response to Hinshaw’s bold claims. “It is important. You’ve heard me tell you the statistics. We do all the data. That’s not going to change. When you’re out-rushing your opponent by one yard, it gives you a big advantage. Playing good run defense, being able to run the ball is critically important. That’s a proven fact certainly in our league.
“But every year, you’ve heard me talk about that this year, every team is different. You have to find the best way you can to help them win. If that is throwing the ball, however many times that is, if we have to do that to give us the best opportunity to win, then we’ll do that. We’ll see how it plays out. I think that’s the point he was trying to make. He’s piggybacking my comments. That’s what I’ve said.
“Whatever we need to do. Every team is different. We’re a different football team this year than we were last year. We’re going to be improved in certain areas and maybe not as good. We’re never going to give our kids an out. We’re always looking to continue to build and improve in all years.”
So while he didn’t completely backtrack on the idea, Stoops noted if that’s what it takes to win, that’s what Kentucky is willing to do.
In order to successfully complete enough passes to justify throwing the ball that many times, however, is a different story. In order for Kentucky’s offense to go in that direction, Terry Wilson will have to continue to grow in the offense and in the passing game.
While Stoops claims to be “excited” about his starting quarterback, he understands improvements need to be made on the field this season.
“It starts with him fundamentally. You hear me talk about that a lot, boring sometimes but true,” Stoops continued. “It’s a fundamental game. He had an opportunity to watch every throw he made last year. If you just look at fundamentals, yards we left on the field, he sees that. But it’s hard. Easier said than done. That’s why everybody can be an armchair quarterback, right?
“He’s got a lot coming at him. He’s really worked hard. Appreciate his effort. Coach Darin Hinshaw has worked hard with him. Had a good, solid spring. I think it starts there. Obviously then it goes to the concepts, him understanding. Second year in the offense. That’s a big deal, where to go, the reads, how quick to get off the reads, go to the next one, so on. Then the speed of the game, confidence for him to play and know that he won 10 games in the SEC, won the bowl game, has to give him a lot of confidence going into this year. You build around that.”