LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky is in the middle of preparing for Missouri and offensive players and coaches were available to talk after Tuesday evening’s practice.
Kickoff against the Tigers is set for noon ET Saturday at Faurot Field in Columbia, Mo., and the game will be broadcast on SEC Network. Here’s what you need to know from the latest round of interviews.
What we learned
- Stephen Johnson threw for 292 yards and two touchdowns against Mississippi State, a world of improvement after passing game duds against South Carolina, Alabama and Vanderbilt, and quarterbacks coach Darin Hinshaw things he’s on the cusp of even more improvement: “There’s about six plays a game where you just wanna say, ‘If you’ll do the right thing, we’re gonna be really, really good,” Hinshaw said.
- The main knock against Johnson has been ball security. He’s suffered a fumbling epidemic since becoming the starter, and Hinshaw says part of that comes from his slight stature: “If you weigh 245 pounds vs. 185 pounds, it’s completely different,” Hinshaw said. “If you can bench press 400 pounds, you can hold a ball a lot harder than you can if you bench 250 pounds.”
- Hinshaw said it’s “incredible” how calm his quarterback is. That level demeanor is apparent just from talking to Johnson, but he says a lot more is going on inside his head: “Yeah, my mind is going a million miles an hour every time – especially when I’m on the field,” Johnson said. “But I just try to be as calm as I can and relaxed as I can.”
- Freshman RB Benny Snell has been the story of the season for the Wildcats, but offensive coordinator Eddie Gran said he’s been “crushing” Snell. As far as what that means? “It’s everything,” Gran said. “It’s going to school, it’s going to tutors, it’s making sure your grades are right. It’s the whole thing.”
- Senior WR Ryan Timmons had somewhat of a breakout game against Mississippi State as far as his usage. Gran said his ability to do several things gives him a better chance to get involved: “In this offense, you can get him on fly sweeps and you can get him on reverses and you can get him on certain things,” Gran said. “But we’ve gotten him the ball on some down the field stuff and he’s always going to be a part of it.”
Watch: Stephen Johnson interview
Quote of the day
Stephen Johnson on his hurdle attempt over a Mississippi State defender:
“I thought I was going to clear him, but he ended up getting my foot and I just started to go on my back. I was like, ‘Ah man, this might not end too good,’ but I guess I was able to roll a little bit and not hurt myself too bad.”
Another look at Stephen Johnson’s hurdle from the first quarter pic.twitter.com/1qoJLzwPL5
— Kernel Sports (@KYKernelSports) October 23, 2016
Other news you need to know
- Five things to watch in the Kentucky-Missouri matchup.
- The Wildcats are preparing for a Big 12 style offense in Missouri.
- Mark Stoops says Kentucky is no longer the fragile team it once was.
- A pair of Wildcats earned weekly SEC honors against Mississippi State.
- Highlights from Stoops’ Monday call-in show.