By LARRY VAUGHT
I assumed Kentucky coach Mark Stoops would talk a lot on his weekly radio show Monday night about injured quarterback Terry Wilson and his upcoming knee surgery that will make him miss the entire season.
What I didn’t know is that Stoops would have a special guest — Wilson — on air with him and host Tom Leach (thanks goodness vaughtsviews.com intern Lacy Robinson listened and recorded the show for me).
“I thought rather than me answer any more questions, why not get Terry on the phone and let him tell Big Blue Nation,” Stoops told the radio audience. “We missed you today, Terry. That’s for sure.”
Wilson said he was doing “alright” as he was on his couch with his leg propped up, something he will apparently be doing a lot after tearing the patellar tendon in his left knee.
“I just have to get better and recover. I know those guys are missing me and missing my presence, so I have to be there for them. Keeping that positive attitude for those guys,” Wilson, who was 12-3 as a starter for Kentucky, said.
He said he never had really been injured before, then said he broke his collarbone twice in high school.
“But nothing that really kept me out,” Wilson said.
The junior quarterback said support from fans, teammates and coaches had helped him a lot the last 48 hours since suffering the injury in the 38-17 win.
“My phone has been blowing up the past few days. Social media has been going crazy,” Wilson said. “Teammates, even from Oregon and JUCO, have been hitting me. (Kentucky) Players stop by to check on me. Helps a lot to see how much I mean to the team and fans. Helps push me to keep having a positive attitude.”
He certainly has a positive attitude about his former backup and now UK starter, Sawyer Smith. The Troy graduate transfer will make his first UK start — and first SEC start — against No. 9 Florida Saturday night.
He said his advice would be to “just go play football and don’t second-guess yourself.” He recalled in his first start, a win at Florida last year that broke a 31-year losing skid to the Gators, he threw an interception and fumbled in the first half. Stoops told him at halftime to “just play” and that’s what he did.
Wilson said if Smith follows what quarterbacks coach Darin Hinshaw teaches “he will do fine” against Florida.
“Sawyer is a laid back guy. He is really mature and knows the game of football. I feel like he will be ready to go out and do what he has to do,” Wilson said. “In the film room we are all laid back helping each other. I taught him some things and he taught me some. He has that mentality to go win. I feel like he has that winner’s mentality and will be ready (for Florida).”
Stoops has made it clear how much he’ll miss Wilson and what he added to UK on and off the field.
“He is really special. Always handled himself so well here,” Stoops said. “He has really been a leader, been a winner.”