Quarterback, offensive line are UK's 'number one question'

March 31, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

LEXINGTON - Going into spring practice today, Kentucky coach Rich Brooks agrees that Shane Boyd deserves to be the No. 1 quarterback.

He's mainly been Jared Lorenzen's backup for three seasons when he completed 110 of 216 passes for 1,156 yards and six scores. Last season he also played running back and receiver as well as special teams.

However, with Lorenzen gone, Boyd is clearly UK's most experienced option at quarterback. Kentucky's other quarterbacks are redshirt freshman Andre Woodson and incoming freshman Joe Joe Brown.

Still, Brooks made it clear Tuesday that when spring drills opened today, Boyd was not immune from competition and was not guaranteed the starting job Sept. 5 against Louisville when UK opens its 2004 season.


"He can come into spring practice knowing (the quarterback position) is his. Whether he comes out of spring practice knowing it's his is the question," said Brooks. "That depends on how things go in practice."

Brooks acknowledged that his "number one question" going into his second spring practice at UK involved finding the proper rotation in the offensive line and at quarterback. The Cats lost three offensive line starters and the line and quarterback are UK's most inexperienced positions.

Yet Brooks insisted he's confident that both Boyd and Woodson have the skills to be winning quarterbacks in the Southeastern Conference.

"The only question and concern I have is lack of experience," Brooks said. "I think both players have talent and ability, but proven production at the quarterback position is not there. We have to put them through stressful situations in practice so they can produce in stressful situations in games."

Boyd will be at all 15 spring practices

Brooks said Boyd is slightly behind other players in his cardiovascular conditioning because he's been spending time with the UK baseball team, a move Brooks approved. The coach said Boyd will be at all 15 spring practices and that he also went through winter weightlifting workouts.

"I told him that my biggest concern was his accuracy throwing the football," Brooks said. "I'm anxious to see his accuracy throwing the football."

Brooks is also anxious to see Woodson, a North Hardin product, get a chance to fully show what he can do after spending last season running the scout team and trying to learn UK's offense.

"The only contact he had last year was in a scout team scrimmage. Then he threw the ball very well, avoided the rush and did some very good things," Brooks said. "But he also did some things that he needs to get better at. I think physically he can throw the football very well and I'm anxious to see him throw to our starting receivers with our starting defense going against him."

Brooks offered no real insights into whether he would consider using both Boyd and Woodson at quarterback next season.

"I don't know (about a rotation) yet. It would depend on production and who is doing it," Brooks said.

He did say it would be difficult, but not impossible, for Brown to challenge players who already know the system. However, the coach did not guarantee he would pick his No. 1 quarterback for next season by the time spring practice ends.

"Anything could happen," Brooks said. "It could linger. Everybody wants to know the inside scoop about the quarterback. I would think one of the two out for spring practice would be our starting quarterback next year. That's it."

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