Stoops considering QB options to jump-start offense

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By KEITH TAYLOR, Kentucky Today

LEXINGTON, Ky. (KT) —  Kentucky could be making a change at quarterback when the Wildcats take on No. 5 Georgia Saturday.

Kentucky coach Mark Stoops is considering his options following the Wildcats’ 20-10 loss at Missouri, a letdown that came on the heels of a 34-7 win at Tennessee the previous week.

Backup quarterback and Auburn transfer Joey Gatewood played in three quarters in the loss at Missouri and completed one pass on three attempts for 12 yards. He added six yards on three rushing attempts. Gatewood and starter Terry Wilson threw for a combined 50 yards for Kentucky’s offense and managed 145 total yards against the Tigers.

“We’ll see how it goes throughout the week,” Stoops said. “(I) haven’t had an opportunity to meet with those guys with Sunday being a day off and our meeting is coming up. We’ll see where everything is after a couple days.” 

The Kentucky coach also hasn’t ruled out adding freshman quarterback Beau Allen to the conversation when it comes to future options at quarterback.

“He is in the mix,” Stoops said. “It’s difficult, as you can imagine, to get three guys game reps during the week, getting them game ready. That part of it is tough because all the quarterbacks need the reps. They need the looks. There’s a fine line there [between] running our receivers into the ground and getting the looks for the quarterbacks at game speed.”


Referring to the freshman, Stoops said, “He’s been impressive.”

Stoops didn’t make any excuses following the loss to Missouri that dropped the Wildcats to 2-3  with five games remaining. Instead of blaming the signalcallers, Stoops said he wants to “see our team play better.”

“We need to play better as a unit,” he said. “We all understand that.

“I didn’t feel like we strained like we normally do. That goes for everybody. I didn’t feel like we played with the same mentality, the same edge that you need to play with each and every week. No matter what you do, who you play, you have to refuel during the week and it is a challenge but it is not an excuse. It is what it is.”

Despite the issues on offense last week, Stoops isn’t ready to employ new offensive schemes and remains committed to the current playbook.

“We will never be at that point where we are going to panic,” he said. “Nobody is happy with the result of Saturday. But nobody wants to just throw away everything we’ve done and start over. Whether we win or whether we lose we are trying to improve and get better. It is frustrating when you take a step back.”

Stoops wants the Wildcats to return to their roots this week against the Bulldogs, especially when it comes to running the football.

“What was disappointing is our bread and butter. We were not able to run the ball efficiently,” Stoops said. “When we did, on the only two possessions we had that we scored points, we were able to create runs and create positive plays in the run game. We tried to open it up and throw the ball. I want to say we were 50/50 with run/pass early and that combination really didn’t work. We weren’t effective at throwing the ball.

“That combination when you get behind the chains was not effective and when we did try to run the ball to get ahead of the sticks, they were very good and stout in holding us in the run game – getting us in second-and-long, third-and-long, and it wasn’t a good combination.”

 Gametracker: Georgia at Kentucky, noon, Saturday. TV/Radio: SEC Network, UK Radio Network.

Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at keith.taylor@kentuckytoday.com or Twitter @keithtaylor21.