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UK Football: News and Notes from Friday Practice

Drew Barker continues to impress, but so too is the man backing him up.

Jason Marcum

Quarterbacks coach Darin Hinshaw and offensive line coach John Schlarman met with the media a few hours ago after football practice. Below are the news and notes coming from each session.

Hinshaw Laid Down the Law to Barker

When Darin Hinshaw came to UK in January after being hired away from the University of Cincinnati, he asked everyone from Mitch Barnhart to the equipment staff what they thought of Drew Barker. Frankly, the feedback he received was not a ringing endorsement.

"Your brand stinks," Hinshaw revealed to Barker. Hinshaw then told Barker that "the only way you’re going to change it is not with your mouth; it’s going to be with your actions."

Barker was very eager to learn how to change according to Hinshaw.

"He was very hungry for knowledge and wanting to do the right thing, but I don’t think he knew how."

Hinshaw said that he laid out what it would take for Barker to become a professional signal caller and Barker took his advice and now it "is almost like a ritual to him."

So far the results speak for themselves: Barker improved his grade point average during the spring and summer while also taking a more active leadership role.

Johnson Gives UK Depth at QB

The departure of two quarterbacks from the roster left Kentucky in a pickle before National Signing Day, especially since at that point only true freshman Gunnar Hoak would be available if Barker went down.

When Hinshaw discussed the matter with Mark Stoops, he said that the team did not need to sign another true freshman, and the team needed "someone who could come in and compete with Drew for the starting job."

Enter Rancho Cucamonga, California and JUCO product Stephen Johnson.

"He stood out to me because of his motion, his athletic ability, and his story," Hinshaw said about he was drawn to Johnson.

What has stood out so far about Johnson, though?

"He works very hard at trying to do what the quarterback position is supposed to do: he is supposed to get the ball to playmakers. Now he can make plays with his feet. He is very fast, and we are excited about that", said Hinshaw.

His only drawback?

"He has got to quit throwing the ball over receivers heads. He has a habit...he knows where is not supposed to go with the football and his arm is not even sometimes with his body. He needs to relax and complete those balls."

QB’s Are Struggling Throwing It Deep

Stephen Johnson is not the only quarterback having issues connecting with receivers. In fact, the entire position unit is struggling to connect with receivers on deep routes.

"We’re just chucking the ball as far as we can throw it, and that’s not how you throw a deep ball," Hinshaw said.

Hinshaw is positive that the problem is fixable and stated that "We’re just chucking the ball as far as we can throw it, and that’s not how you throw a deep ball."

Offensive Line Notes

John Schlarman said that his four returning starters on the offensive have picked up where they left off last season. He credited starting center Jon Toth with organizing film study sessions and keeping the line focused during the summer.

The open left tackle position currently is currently on track to belong to former walk-on Cole Mosier, but JUCO transfer Tate Leavitt and heralded true frosh Landon Young are making gains.

Schlarman echoed offensive coordinator Eddie Gran in saying that Young is not merely "just holding on "but is very consistent" despite his newness to the speed of the college game.