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UK’s recipe for winning might be having Terry Wilson passing 35-40 times per game

Kentucky assistant coach Darin Hinshaw told UK fans at the Louisville Quarterback Club Monday that Terry Wilson might double his passing attempts this season. (Lacy Robinson Photo)


Darin Hinshaw knows plenty about throwing the football because during his Central Florida playing career he threw for about 9,000 yards and 82 touchdowns.

“I broke every school record but only got to hold them for four years because Daunte Culpepper came and crushed my records,” said Hinshaw, Kentucky’s co-offensive coordinator, said Monday during an appearance at the Louisville Quarterback Club.

“But it is great to coach the position that I played and not everybody gets to do that. I know what those guys are going through. When you get on the side of the head and you still have to get up and call a play, I have been there and lived it. I can relate to those guys and what they go through.”

Like most quarterbacks, Hinshaw likes throwing the football but like Eddie Gran, UK’s assistant head coach of the offense/offensive coordinator, he understands the value of a balanced passing/running attack.

“Last year we were more about running the ball. We had a first year quarterback with Terry Wilson and he only threw about 20 times a game. We are going to have to increase that this year to 35 to 40 times a game,” Hinshaw said.

What? Double the passing attempts?

Kentucky leaned on a stout defense and all-time leading rusher Benny Snell to grind out wins last year — and it worked as UK went 10-3. Wilson was 180 of 268 passing for 1,889 yards and 11 scores.

“We have a great coach in Mark Stoops who understands the game and managing the game. A lot of times on the headset (last year) you would hear (from Stoops), ‘Don’t screw this up.’ We have the defensive player o the year and we knew what we had to do and that was the recipe for winning 10 games and we are going to find the recipe this year,” Hinshaw said. “We should have won 12 last year and 10 the year before. We are very close to making Kentucky great.”

And apparently to be “great” this year, that’s going to mean a lot more passing attempts for Wilson.


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  1. I am concerned about this message, if it is anything more serious than a conversation piece. In the SEC, winning football teams run the football. If UK throws the ball 40 times per game in 2019, I do not see this team able to win 8 or more games.

  2. Balanced between the run and the pass is the key, but UK has to be able to throw more effectively than they did last year, especially the deep ball. I like the sound of this anyway. The worries I have is; can the UK defense get a ton of 3 and outs this year, and lots of turnovers.

  3. I agree with LP that this team must be more efficient and effective through the air than last season, but that translates to higher completion percentage, a legitimate down the field capability, and receivers that finish the play with catches, not 40 attempts per game. I can see 35 attempts per game if the offense can pick up its tempo to about 70 plays per game from scrimmage, a goal that should be in play.

    However, if this team only runs 60 plays per game, and is throwing it 40 times per game, that will not translate into wins in the SEC.

  4. I don’t see how Hinshaw can honestly say UK should have won 12 games last year. The Georgia game in Lexington was really no contest, and at Tennessee, UK flat out choked. UK was never in the game in those two losses. Maybe 10 regular season wins if UK would have won at A&M, and should have. Until UK can line up and beat teams like UGA and UT, greatness will elude them. Especially Tennessee.

  5. I doubt that Stoops/Gran will go with that strategy. If you can’t run in the SEC, you can’t consistently win. We will need to pass enough the keep our opponets from putting 8 in the box to stuff the run. Hopefully Terry will be up to the task, but if not, Sawyer should get a shot at providing that balance. The only way Terry gets benched is if he gets hurt and nobody wants that. Expecting anything else from Stoops/Gran would be like expecting our Rah Rahs to finally get some brains from the Wizard. Lions and tigers and Rah Rahs, OH MY!

    1. You sound like a broken record Catman. Can any coach at UK, either football or basketball, meet your approval? You are one negative dude.

  6. Well, it appears that the grown up in the group has stepped forward and cleared up any misconception that UK will pass the ball 35 to 40 times this season (or any season for which Stoops/Gran are the leadership team).

    Gran said yesterday, “Everybody says we’re going to throw the ball a lot more this year. So I’ll get this out of the way right now, OK? Everything starts up front in this league. It’s about the physicality. Big men lead the way. If you cannot run the ball, you’re going to have a hard time winning in this league. We want to be balanced. We want to be a little bit more balanced this year. If you had 80 plays, 40 throws, 40 runs, that would be perfect. That’s the perfect scenario. What we have to do is be more efficient in the passing game and more explosive. As you talked about AJ, maybe some of these backs, we could maybe have some more explosive runs as well.”

    80 plays per game. That is pulled from thin air to put a conversation in the range of 40 passes per game, probably to avoid completely stomping on the coach that spoke in those terms earlier, but the facts are clear that Stoops/Gran teams are going to run between 63 and 67 plays per game. The last 3 years, they have run the ball 60 to 65% of all plays. Last year was 64%. I think they will reduce that to about 60% this season, but they will not get anywhere close to 80 plays per game.

    64 plays per game, 60% running would be 38 runs and 26 passes per game.

    Check back in November and see where it actually is.

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