Jen Smith on UK Football

Q&A: Kentucky’s Darin Hinshaw talks progress, Gunnar Hoak and Southern Miss

Dorian Baker chats with quarterbacks coach Darin Hinshaw during an open practice for UK Football Fan Day on the new practice fields in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, August 6, 2016.
Dorian Baker chats with quarterbacks coach Darin Hinshaw during an open practice for UK Football Fan Day on the new practice fields in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, August 6, 2016. Lexington Herald-Leader

Kentucky quarterbacks coach Darin Hinshaw talked to the media after Friday’s practice as the Cats head into game week for the Sept. 3 opener against Southern Miss.

On what the most important thing the quarterbacks got out of camp was: “Again, decision making and targets are our No. 1 thing, and putting us in an environment – you gotta understand, all summer they don’t have shoulder pads on. So to put shoulder pads on, and obviously that’s what camp’s for. They throw in the summertime, they throw three to four times a week, and then they take the weekend off, I tell ‘em, so they can rest their arms. They go 18, 19 straight days in a row where we throw, so it’s always tough. It’s tough on our arms, it’s tough on the mental capacity, and that’s what you get from camp, that you come out and it makes the game the game easier.”

On if the QBs are where he thought they would be: “Oh yeah. Yeah. I’m really proud of where Drew (Barker) and Stephen (Johnson II) both are. I think they’re both ready to play and ready to go win.”

On if they will prepare Gunnar Hoak as the No. 3 QB or move him to scout team: “We’re gonna rotate him with the scout team and also prepare him in case he has to play and stuff like that. We’re also gonna do the same thing with the other quarterbacks so that anybody else is ready to play.”

On how Hoak did after getting head start in spring: “Who, Gunnar? Yeah, Gunnar Hoak did a fantastic job. Obviously in the spring he was supposed to be in high school, so it was a huge learning curve. But where he came from in the spring and the summer and now here he is in the fall, he’s looking like a veteran. He’s doing a lot of good things. Now, he’s still making freshman mistakes and he’s got to learn to take care of the football better, but he’s got a strong arm, he understands the offense now. I really believe that. Now we’ve got to get him to master the offense and continue to get better, so really proud of him and where he’s come.”

On the progression of the wide receivers: “They have progressed – I mean, it’s apples and oranges from when we first got here in January to where they are right now. They’re working their butt off. They understand what effort is. They understand how to run their routes, they understand what to do. Again, they’ve been through a lot. They have run miles upon miles upon miles in this camp and they keep coming and they keep coming and they keep coming ready to fight. And it’s making them better so they’ll go make plays in the game. Really proud of that group. Coach (Lamar) Thomas and Coach (Tommy) Mangino have done a great job with them.”

On how he and Eddie Gran divide the game planning for opponents: “Coach Gran does a lot of the run game. I’ll do a lot of the pass game. Then we’ll come together and we’ll go over it all together. And then we’ll do third downs and red zone and then we’ll turn around and Eddie and Coach Schlarman will work on the third-and-one and then on the goalline. Then we’ll turn around and work on our shot plays and how can we get the ball down the field. Then we’ll come together and do fourth down and we’ll do coming out. We’ll do all that together, and usually we’ll have the game plan complete at that point.”

On Southern Miss: “They’re a really good team, they won a lot of games last year, you can see they played with a lot of energy. I know they’re going to come ready on defense. Their secondary, their safeties, they move their safeties around here and there I think to a linebacker position but they made a lot of plays. The corner that’s coming back made a lot of plays. They’re a really good team.”

On if there’s a specific guy on the Southern Miss defense UK should be aware of: “I’ll be honest with you, the main thing, and again, we’ve got to be aware of all of them, they’re all very good, there’s not one that we’re going to try to attack or anything like that cause they’re really good. And at the same point we have to be able to understand coverages more than we’re looking at one person. Does that make sense? We’ve got to see what kind of coverages are, what are the safeties trying to do, what are they trying to take away, then they will define where we’re going with the football a lot of times. So that’s what we’re going to be looking at most of the time.”

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