UK Notebook: Pakulak still hoping he can work his way into the NFL

October 24, 2003|LARRY VAUGHT

Watching Kentucky beat Ohio University last week brought back a lot of good memories for Glenn Pakulak.

It also made him want to get back on the playing field more than ever.

The former UK punter had tryouts with Seattle, Pittsburgh and Detroit this year after failing to be picked in the National Football League draft. He was not signed by any of the three teams and now is waiting for another chance to impress an NFL team.

"The number one thing is that you cannot get frustrated," said Pakulak. "If you want to do this, you have to know there will be ups and downs, especially as a special teams player because teams only carry one punter.

"For example, I was in Pittsburgh trying to beat out Josh Miller, a guy who has been there seven or eight years. Teams like that experience. You just have to stay humble and understand it may take a year or two for things to work out like you want."


That's one reason Pakulak decided not to stay in Michigan with his parents any longer. Instead, he came back to Lexington and is living with former teammate Derek Abney.

"He has a house with a third floor. It's like an attic, but I have it all decorated. It's pretty cool," Pakulak said. "We had a huge yard at home, but I had no one to work out with."

At Kentucky, he can take snaps from his former roommate, UK tight end Win Gaffron, when Gaffron has spare time. He can also go inside UK's indoor practice facility when the weather is cold or wet.

Pakulak may eventually go to Europe to kick for an NFL Europe team, but his agent has advised against that.

"You go over there and punt for 11 straight weeks. You are punting every day and then you come back over here and go straight to (an NFL) training camp," Pakulak said. "Your leg might be shot. My agent feels if a team is that interested and wants to send you to Europe, then why not just sign you and move you to where they are at and let you train with their special teams coach every day instead of going to Europe."

Pakulak also has learned that an NFL team is more likely to sign a punter based on a one-day tryout than it is on a season's worth of punts in college or another pro league.

Still, he admits there is part of going to Europe that appeals to him.

"I'm a young guy. It might be nice to go to Europe and see the world," Pakulak said. "Maybe I could do it one year. I am young, my leg is still powerful and I might get some exposure. I am not going to Europe every year, but it's something I might be willing to do if something doesn't happen soon."

Praising Kentucky: Mississippi State coach Jackie Sherrill has watched Kentucky quarterback Jared Lorenzen play for almost four years. Going into Saturday's game at UK, he's still puzzled by the perception some have that Lorenzen, who figures to share time with Shane Boyd against State, has cost the Cats chances to win games.

"People sometimes have the wrong impression of him, that he does things to lose games," Sherrill said. "He's only thrown one interception out of the last 44 passes. He's still the same guy. There's no question when he was 5 years old that he probably dominated the playground.

"He's throwing the ball while he's almost getting sacked and going on the ground. The guy is amazing. You could probably make a two-hour highlight film about him."

Sherrill says Kentucky defense will present a lot of problems for his quarterback Saturday.

"Kentucky does more things in the secondary than anybody we've played this year," Sherrill said. "They play a lot of coverage and move people around. They present a lot of problems to your quarterback because all of a sudden, there's something different on the snap that he has to read."

Kentucky offensive line coach Paul Dunn knows better than to underestimate Sherrill.

"I played for him four years at Pittsburgh, and we won 44 games," Dunn said. "He knows what he's doing. Just because he's saying nice things about you doesn't mean he's not trying to beat you."

Begley nominated: Placekicker Taylor Begley of Boyle County is one of six UK players who have been nominated for the Academic All-America team sponsored by the College Sports Information Directors of America.

Begley, an electrical engineering major, has a 3.9 grade-point average. He also has a team-high 31 points this year.

Others nominated, with grade-point average in parenthesis, are running back Alexis Bwenge (3.48), tight end Jeremiah Drobney (3.79), linebacker Justin Haydock (3.43), cornerback Antoine Huffman (3.30) and punter Anthony Thornton (3.45).

Central Kentucky News Articles