Jen Smith on UK Football

Practice report: The long ball, the great grape debate, brand development

The long ball: Quarterbacks coach Darin Hinshaw said the UK signal callers were overthrowing every deep ball, but there has been a steady improvement. “We were just chucking the ball as far as we can throw it, and that's not how you throw a deep ball,” he explained. He told the quarterbacks to stop trying to make every deep ball a work of art. “Now we’re getting to the point where we’re throwing the ball where we give the receiver a chance,” Hinshaw said. “That’s our goal. If you give the receiver a chance then you have a chance to catch it. If you overthrow it, we have zero chance.” UK’s offense is now at a place where the wide outs are running their routes and getting in position to make a play and the QBs are getting better at finding them for explosive plays. Specifically it sounds like backup Stephen Johnson had struggled with throwing the ball over wide receiver’s heads, but he’s improving, Hinshaw said. “He needs to relax and complete those balls.”

Moving on up: Wide receivers coach Lamar Thomas was high on the play of redshirt freshmen wide receivers Tavin Richardson and Jabari Greenwood, saying they’re both fighting for starting spots right now.

The great grape debate: Trying to instill more discipline and create fewer distractions in the wide receiver room, Thomas has stopped allowing the players to bring food in for meetings, allowing only grapes. “He made me throw my smoothie away the other day,” Garrett Johnson laughed. Johnson said the coach has everyone’s attention now, although he did say he hoped other fruits would be liberated soon.

Quote of the day: We ran a story this summer about Barker trying to change his “brand” away from the guy who was known for his bad decisions off the field to a guy who is a leader. Hinshaw was asked about that series of conversations with his starter this spring.

“I said, ‘Let’s see, when I came in and said the name Drew Barker, what does everybody say?’ And the things that came out of my mouth were not good. The things that came out of the AD’s mouth were not good. The things that came out of the equipment room was not good. I said, ‘Your brand stinks. Let’s just call it how it is. So we have to change it.’”