Jen Smith on UK Football

Q&A: Darin Hinhsaw on QB responsibilities, perfection and protection


On accuracy improvements for Stephen Johnson: “Yeah, he’s getting, they’re all getting better with that situation. And Stephen, I’m really hard on him and the fact that I don’t accept any missed throws ever, so in that process, they know I’m coming down on them if they miss a throw. But also, I want them to be on themselves, too. There’s a fine line between overdoing it up here (points to head) where you get down on yourself and you actually can’t play anymore, you know what I’m saying? Where you’re so worried about missing a throw. And I’ve kind of (gone) through that with all the quarterbacks where they’ve gotten so frustrated but now they’ve learned to kind of mute me out a little bit. And that’s good because that’s what’s going to happen in a game, you’ve got to put everything aside and focus on what you’ve got to do. The past is the past. You can’t change the last throw, but you can sure change the present and what the future’s going to hold on the next drive and everything else in how’s your attitude and how you handle it. So we’re getting better at that.”

On what he wants to see from the offense in the scrimmage on Saturday: “I just want to take one play at a time and execute that play. I know that sounds so ‘Oh, that’s coach talk, blah, blah, blah,’ but the bottom line is that’s the truth. We don’t focus on -- I don’t tell them they have to throw for so many yards or they have to do -- we’re going to take what the defense gives us. I want to see the quarterbacks make great decisions and great targets. That’s what’s going to help us win on Saturday. So we’ve got to continue to do that at practice and scrimmage, especially in scrimmages. The last scrimmage was very successful. I want to see us control the football. I want to see us take care of the football. That’s what I’d like to see.”

On why it’s hard for defenses to defend quarterbacks who can run:You have to account for them. Some guys are faster than others in different way. As a defense, if you can throw as a quarterback and be able to run some, it creates problems for ‘em. But if you cannot throw and you become one-sided – and it’s the same thing if all you do is throw. It’s the same situation. Defenses can really hunker down and figure out ways to beat you. But if you can do both as a quarterback – you don’t have to run great. You just have to be able to run to go get yards and move chains, but you have to throw the ball accurately. You have to complete the football and you have to complete the third downs, the red zone throws, all those things as a quarterback to be successful in our offense.”

On if they give defense reps against dual-threat QBs to help prepare:We do that. Coach Stoops does that. It has nothing to do with me. I just do what he tells me to do. And we run the offense and we try to do the best we can.”

On how having Chris Westry and Derrick Baity helps prepare QBs, WRs:It’s unbelievable. To have the secondary that we have, to go against every single day and how good they are – and I know they have their moments where they need to get better, but they’re really, really good, and they force our receivers to get better. And that’s huge. That’s huge. What we’re going against, we’re gonna see in the SEC all year because it’s a really good secondary, so it really helps us a lot.”

On pass rushers on defense giving them trouble and how QBs are handling pressure:Oh yeah. And I’m not gonna name names, but the whole defensive line has been doing a great job. They’ve been doing a great job of putting pressure on us, making Drew move in the pocket. Really game-like situations in practice, and that’s what we continue to focus on and then get into the scrimmages and all those things. We don’t get hit, but boy, I tell you I’m on ‘em to death. ‘Look, right there, you just got your bell rung and you’re holding the football in the pocket.’ That’s not real. We have to play like it’s a game. If you don’t throw the ball away, you’re costing the team 10 yards, seven yards, eight yards a sack fumble, all those things. So the D-Line is doing a great job putting pressure on us.”

On how often Barker is making pass protection calls at the line: ”All the time.”

On how Barker is doing with that:He’s doing great. Fabulous. I’m really proud of him. He understands it. He get it. Sometimes the defense hides something here and there but it’s not very much, which is something I want to see. He understands what he needs to do to protect himself in the pocket and get the line slid the right way so we have the best protection possible.”

On if watching a lot of tape or good instincts is important to make those calls:All of the above. You have to watch a lot of film, you have to understand what the defense is doing and, again, you have to have good instincts. You have to play the game. You got to feel the game to be able to move the protection, slide it the right way.”

On how much the RBs are check downs vs. viable pass catching option: “It’s huge. It’s been great. It’s the best everywhere I’ve been in 17 years so far with quarterbacks that they understand where the checkdowns are. We’ve thrown it to the running backs more here than I ever have, and I’m really proud of ‘em. That’s what we have to do on Saturdays, we’ve got to check it down when the defense covers routes. They’re not gonna be all open all the time, and throwing the ball away and checking down, we’ve done a really good job and we’ve got to continue to do that.”

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