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What Aspects of Hendon Hooker’s Game Are On Mark Stoops’ Radar

Hendon Hooker
Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker. Photo By Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics.

Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops will have a big challenge ahead for his defense this upcoming Saturday with Tennessee’s electric offense. The Vols currently boast the top offense in the country, which is conducted by quarterback Hendon Hooker.

The second-year Tennessee quarterback has been dialed in this season and clearly shares a strong connection with head coach Josh Heupel. Through the first eight weeks of the season, many are looking at Hooker as potentially the Heisman favorite at this point in the season.

And with any great quarterback comes great challenges for the opposing defense. Challenges that Mark Stoops is well aware of.

“There’s quite a few things,” Stoops said on Wednesday’s SEC Coaches Teleconference call about what Hooker does that impresses him. “I think he makes really fast decisions. Obviously, you know he’s playing so well. But if there’s any other one thing I think we all know, he’s accurate because of his completion percentage. But I think it’s really impressive how accurate he is on deep throws.”

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This is actually the second time that Stoops has brought up Hooker’s deep-game accuracy this week.

“You might be anticipating one thing, but with the space that they have, they are creating some deep shots and the way Hendon (Hooker) is throwing the deep ball very efficient,” Stoops said during his Monday press conference. “He’s very, very accurate on the deep pass.”

Tennessee’s fast-paced and up-tempo offense is something that has been stumping defensive coordinators all season. Hooker and the offense have done a tremendous job at keeping the defense balanced and guessing. The Vols have shown the ability to run the ball and throw the ball, which is an unsettling combination for opposing defenders.

“They have 21 plays for 40 yards or more this year, so that’s pretty explosive,” Stoops said on Monday. “They have 49 plays for 20 or more. So, they’re very good, their scheme, obviously, they have a very good scheme that’s unique to them. With the splits that they have and the space, they’re doing a really nice job of subtle change-ups off their routes.”

No. 3 Tennessee will host No. 19 Kentucky this Saturday night under the lights of Neyland Stadium. The Vols will be donning the all-black Dark Mode uniforms with matching black helmet.

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