Could We See Gunnar Hoak or Drew Barker in the Bowl Game?


Is the bowl game a reward for the regular season or a chance to evaluate for next season? Your answer may affect the way you feel about who is under center for Kentucky in the Music City Bowl.

Stephen Johnson took over for Drew Barker last season after Barker injured his back. Johnson led the Wildcats to a 7-5 record and their first bowl game since the 2010 season. Kentucky lost to Georgia Tech in the TaxSlayer Bowl 33-18.

This season Johnson returned as the starting quarterback and again the Wildcats finished 7-5. Aside from a few series when Johnson was injured, Barker never saw the field.

Kentucky started the season 5-1, however, they’ve lost 4 of their last 6 games and Johnson has thrown for only 1 touchdown pass in that span. Johnson’s unspectacular play combined with the team’s lack of success begs the question, should Kentucky play Barker or Hoak during the bowl game?

Johnson is a senior and provided a lift last year when Kentucky was in desperate need. But this season he’s shown himself to be no more than an average quarterback. Does Kentucky owe it to Johnson to let him play the entire game or do they owe it to their program to see what they’ve got for 2018?

Barker was a 4-star recruit coming out of high school. He was thought, at one time, to be a big-time recruit for Mark Stoops. Barker’s play has been underwhelming at best during his tenure and you will almost definitely hear a collective groan from the UK fans if Barker takes the field.

Gunnar Hoak provides an interesting debate. The redshirt freshman performed well in the spring practice and could end up as the starter for UK in 2018. He has yet to take a snap in his career.

If the bowl game is a reward for the regular season, then by all means Stephen Johnson is your guy. However, if you believe that the bowl game is an opportunity to evaluate your team for next year, then you’ve got to take a look at Barker or Hoak.