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Kentucky Football: Mark Stoops and Eddie Gran update the QB battle

The coaches are playing it close to the vest, but like the progress all three potential starters are making.

Jason Marcum

Mark Stoops and Eddie Gran are being very tight-lipped on who will be named the starting QB for the Kentucky Wildcats’ season opener on September 1 against Central Michigan.

The three candidates, sophomores Terry Wilson and Gunnar Hoak and redshirt freshman Danny Clark, have zero game experience between them. But the coaches seem positive on their progress through the spring.

Jen Smith, writing for the Lexington Herald-Leader, provided a small update from Thursday’s Wildcat Kickoff Luncheon at Kroger Field.

“The quarterback is the big decision,” said Stoops. “That’s the big question mark, but I love our options.”

One of the reasons why the coaches are comfortable with having three new guys competing for the quarterback job is the number of experienced players returning on the offensive side of the football.

There are five veteran offensive linemen, star tight end C.J. Conrad, and no one can forget Benny Snell in the backfield. Whoever winds up winning the starting job won’t have to take a huge leadership role right off the bat.

The lack of experience in the QBs has led Eddie Gran to adjust his spring practice plan. He is trying to make every snap as close to a game-like experience as possible to try to give the players a sense of what it’s like to take a live game snap. Gran and his staff also cut down the playbook to simplify the offense.

“As we limited [the playbook] in the spring...we got better. As we move forward and we’re successful, we’ll add. But right now I like where they’re at. ...When they know what to do, they can play fast and that’s good for us.”

While the coaches never gave any definitive answers as to who is leading the battle right now, Tom Leach, voice of the Wildcats, did get Gran to elaborate on what would separate a candidate at this point.

Leadership, running the offense, staying on target, and being able to move the ball, even when the pressure is on were the qualities Gran named.

While we are still probably a ways away from the starter being announced for the first game of the season, the coaches like what they are seeing. And it should be a comfort to Big Blue Nation that whoever is under center will be surrounded by proven, talented players to help coach them up as they gain experience.

Who do you think will start the season under center?