College Football Preview: Acceleration key to Bugg's success at Eastern

August 18, 2004|MIKE MARSEE


It isn't as well known as that other equation, but it's just as true. And it's a lesson that Patrick Bugg doesn't have to go to physics class to hear.

Bugg has heard more than once that energy equals mass times velocity squared, and from his football coach, no less.

Eastern Kentucky coach Danny Hope has spent a lot of time trying to convince his tight end that he can be just as effective in engaging defenders even though he isn't as bulky as most who play his position.

"I believe he's starting to buy into that a little bit," Hope said.

Hope's position is that while Bugg doesn't have the power that some tight ends might have, he does have the advantage of acceleration.


"He's always preaching that as long as you get on them fast, it makes up for a lot of weight and power," Bugg said.

It's all part of the learning process for a player who never envisioned playing tight end when he signed with Eastern out of Harrodsburg High School.

After a redshirt year, Bugg made great strides in the final five games of last season, when he emerged as a pass-catching threat. He had six receptions for 203 yards and two touchdowns in those five games, when he saw his playing time increase exponentially.

But he isn't yet the player he wants to be. He has been spending much of his summer trying to improve his strength without sacrificing speed and mobility.

"I'm coming in and trying to put on weight, trying to get a lot bigger and stronger," he said.

Bugg weighed 210 pounds at the end of spring practice, and he was trying to add 15 more during the summer.

"I'm doing nothing but weights," he said.

Still, it didn't bother Hope last season that Bugg wasn't built like every other tight end.

"He's a little light for a tight end. He's not the typical kid you'd like to have as a tight end, but he makes up for it with other things," the Eastern coach said.

But moving to the line of scrimmage wasn't easy for a player who played mostly at quarterback and occasionally at wide receiver in high school.

"He was a little bit like a fish out of water at first," Hope said.

And Bugg said he wasn't sure this was the right move for him.

"When we came in early last year, I hadn't really bought into it, but coach had a lot of confidence in me," he said.

Bugg sat out five of Eastern's first seven games and played very sparingly in the other two as he continued to adapt to his new position.

"I knew that I could get out there and play, but I was still lacking a little bit of confidence as far as lining up and blowing somebody off the ball," he said.

His breakout game came against Murray State

At midseason, he was still listed fourth on the depth chart. But he had a 43-yard reception, his first catch of the season, in an Oct. 18 game against Southeast Missouri, then had a breakout game the next time the Colonels took the field.

That was at Murray State, when he had three catches for 104 yards, including touchdown catches of 40 and 49 yards, in a 38-20 Eastern win. And that's when Hope knew Bugg had something to offer.

"He's an outstanding pass weapon," Hope said.

As for the other aspect of playing his position, Bugg said he's becoming a better blocker by the day.

"It's more about getting mean," he said. "I've gotten a lot more aggressive. They're trying to get me to do it all."

Bugg said he expects to be part of a three-man rotation at tight end this season, and he expects the Colonels' offense to be vastly improved in Hope's second season.

"I think we've all grown accustomed to the way he runs things," Bugg said. "I think we're ready to buy into the program, and I think we're going to turn some heads.

"I want a (national championship) ring. That's my main goal on this team. We know we've got one more year with the players we've got."

On The Net:

Eastern Kentucky University Football

Central Kentucky News Articles