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UK’s Mark Stoops remains undecided on naming a starting quarterback

Junior college quarterback Terry Wilson us battling Gunnar Hoak for the starting job and a decision may not come until late next week. (Kentucky Today/Keith Taylor)

By Keith Taylor
Kentucky Today

Mark Stoops doesn’t know who Kentucky’s starting quarterback will be in the season opener in less than two weeks and is still pondering his options for a starting quarterback.

The entire depth chart won’t be revealed until Monday and the question as to who will be the team’s starter against Central Michigan could linger beyond next week.

“We wanted to get through (Tuesday),” Stoops said following the team’s final workout off fall camp. “Our goal was (to name a starter Monday.) I believe I said (on the radio) as well that I wasn’t sure if I’d release that on Monday or not because there are different options there at quarterback. (It) doesn’t hurt to have them work on a few more things for a week as well. (I’m) not trying to be deceitful there, maybe I just haven’t made up my mind yet. So, we’ll see how it goes.”

Junior college transfer Terry Wilson and Gunnar Hoak have been rotating for most of fall camp, but during a media session on Tuesday, Wilson was with the first team for a majority of the time. Stoops said both signal callers are making better decisions in the pocket, making the final decision even more difficult for Stoops and the rest of his offensive coaching staff. Even Danny Clark has impressed the coaching staff.

“They’re getting rid of the ball and being more efficient with the football, knowing where to go and seeing the windows and getting rid of the balk and really the three of them, I’ve been very impressed with,” Stoops said. “They’ve really made some big jumps even in the last week — the last 10 days.”

During the eight-segment scrimmage open to the media Tuesday, Kentucky senior linebacker Jordan Jones was present and participated in drills. He made a pair of stops and was active on the defensive side of the ball.

“Being out for a good portion of spring and a good portion of summer, we’ve learned to function without him at times,” Stoops said. “But certainly with his experience and his play-making ability, we love having him out there. As far as the effect on the defense, that’s yet to be seen. Hopefully, it’ll amp us up a little bit. Certainly, some experience helps because when we’re playing with the freshmen, they’re talented but they’re still freshmen.”

In addition to Jones, senior wide receiver Dorian Baker was also a part of some big catches during the open scrimmage and will be counted on to provide leadership this season.

“He gets more and more comfortable with every opportunity,” Stoops said. “This past Saturday in a scrimmage, the first time he was really tackled since he was injured and going through that and getting that rust off, I think that was very helpful for him and a big confidence builder for him getting through it.”

Offensive lineman Darian Kinnard, a true freshman, also looked impressive and will likely see some action this season. Kinnard could benefit from a new rule that gives freshmen

“We feel like he’s in a position where he could play,” Stoops said. “We’re trusting him. He’s doing a very good job. He’s in the top eight, nine right now. We’ll just kind of see where that goes.”

Kentucky was off Wednesday as classes resumed and opens the season at 3:30 p.m. against Central Michigan on Sept. 1 at Kroger Field.

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

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