By LARRY VAUGHT
Question Mark Stoops about a lot of things but don’t question whether he’ll give his starting quarterback plenty of chances to atone for mistakes.
Starter Terry Wilson had three first-half turnovers against Central Michigan and also bruised his left shoulder. However, even after Gunnar Hoak led UK on a scoring drive to end the first half and played the first two series of the third quarter, Stoops went back to Wilson and probably will start him at Florida Saturday night.
“If you watched me, covered me, for the years that I’ve been here I really don’t believe in having a short leash for a quarterback, again within reason. I’m not going to sit here and tell you how everything is going to play out because I don’t know,” Stoops said Monday.
He said both quarterbacks did some good things against Central Michigan and both made first-game mistakes.
“I appreciate Gunnar stepping in a difficult situation, making some plays and putting it in the end zone. That was really important for us, at that point, to go in leading (at halftime) after giving up four turnovers in the first half. That doesn’t happen very often,” Stoops said. “That was a big touchdown for him and really sparked us. It was also good to get Terry back in the second half and play well.”
He expects the quarterbacks — as well as the entire team — to make major improvement in its play in game two even though UK has lost 31 straight times to Florida.
“I think there are some things that are easy fixes. But there are some things that are going to be a work in progress. We have to get on that quickly,” Stoops said.
“The last time we broke in a new quarterback two years ago, our turnovers were up. Last year Stephen (Johnson) did a great job, and our team did a great job and our turnovers were really down outside of the one game where it got contagious and that can’t happen again. I know we will concentrate on protecting the football.”