LEXINGTON — Who is the best quarterback in the Southeastern Conference? If you ask Kentucky receiver Lynn Bowden, Terry Wilson is atop the list of signal-callers in the league.
“He’s looking like the best quarterback, hands down,” Bowden said.
That’s mainly because Wilson has found a comfort zone and knows what to expect going into his senior campaign with the Wildcats. He’s no longer the newcomer on the block.
“A year ago, my eyes were super wide,” he said. “Now, I’m calm and relaxed and I feel like that’s just my personality. Now that I have a season under my belt, it’s going to be just like that out on the field, just more dynamic.”
He expects the same from the rest of his teammates.
“We’ve always been hungry and we were hungry last year, but I feel like it’s going to be a different type of hunger,” he said. “We’re going to be ready to compete every game and we’re going to be physically and mentally prepared for it. I think we’re going to be a smarter team and we’re going to be ready for anything.”
Wilson, who led the Wildcats to a 10-3 campaign last season, will be counted on to lead a Kentucky offense that will be without the school’s all-time leading rusher Benny Snell. Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said Wilson will be the centerpiece on the offensive side of the football.
“It starts with him fundamentally,” Stoops said. “You hear me talk about that a lot, boring sometimes, but true. It's a fundamental game. He had an opportunity to watch every throw he made last year. If you just look at fundamentals, yards we left on the field, he sees that. But it's hard. Easier said than done. That's why everybody can be an armchair quarterback, right? He's got a lot coming at him. He's really worked hard. “
Stoops added that Wilson’s experience as a second-year starter also is a big plus for the Wildcats.
“That's a big deal, where to go, the reads, how quick to get off the reads, go to the next one, so on,” the Kentucky coach said. “Then the speed of the game, confidence for him to play and know that he won 10 games in the SEC, won the bowl game, has to give him a lot of confidence going into this year. You build around that.”
Although Kentucky lost some playmakers from last season, Wilson said the Wildcats “don’t focus on that” and added the team is “going to be more hungry.”
“We’re thinking about us,” Wilson said. “Those guys played a big role on this team last year and they’re onto bigger and better things and so we just have to worry about us and take care of what we need to take care of. That’s really how the attitude is around here. We’re just worried about us and getting better for the season.”
Despite last year’s success, the Wildcats have been picked to finish sixth in the SEC East, but Wilson isn’t concerned and added the team isn’t out to prove a point, either.
“That’s not what we’re trying to do, we’re just trying to be the best that we can be day-in and day-out,” he said. “On the field, that takes care of everything.”
What Wilson does know is that he’s playing behind an experienced offensive line and a core of receivers and running backs who have waited their turn and are eager to showcase their skills.
“We’re going to be able to move the ball and we’re going to be explosive,” Wilson said. “We’re loaded. We have depth that we need and it’s going to be fun just to show everybody what we can do and how explosive we’re going to be. This fall camp is going to be fun and we’re just putting a huge role on just getting better on the field and just having fun.”