UK's upbeat Boyd rolls with the changes

October 13, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

LEXINGTON - Since the day he signed to play football with the University of Kentucky, Shane Boyd had waited for this season.

This was the year he would not only be UK's starting quarterback, but he would also clearly be the team's offensive leader. He was being counted on by second-year coach Rich Brooks to provide needed leadership as well as an added element of versatility to the offense because of his running ability.

Five games into the season, not much has gone the way Boyd expected. Kentucky has just one win going into Saturday night's home game with South Carolina, and Boyd now will likely cede more and more playing time to redshirt freshman quarterback Andre Woodson for the rest of the year.

Still, Boyd insists he's fine with what has happened.

"Mostly, I am good. Things have not gone the way I wanted, but this is still a great time of my life that I am enjoying," said Boyd. "With where I am at in my (Christian) faith, I am excited about the opportunity I have to lead this team.


"I have a bunch of guys around me who build me up and keep me positive. They keep pushing me, and I am going to give 100 percent whether I'm healthy or unhealthy. I am going to leave it all on the field because this is a time of my life that I will never get again. Whether we are 5-0 or 0-5, you have to go play every day."

Boyd is 68-for-137 passing for 694 yards and three touchdowns with five interceptions. His longest completion has been a 38-yard pass to tight end Jeremiah Drobney. His two longest completions to wide receivers have been for 33 yards.

Opponents have also normally focused their defense on stopping Boyd's runs. He's rushed 61 times for 183 yards and three touchdowns with a long run of 22 yards.

"I have been blessed with ability, and I am going to use it," Boyd said. "We have a great group of fans. I know some are doubting us a little bit, but that is because they want us to win. But we have a good group of fans to help keep me positive.

"We just have to be focused and give it all we have. That's all we can do. There is no special potion to make you play better. It's just takes hard work."

Boyd has no animosity over any success, or playing time, that Woodson has. He was one of the first to congratulate Woodson when he threw his first scoring pass late in UK's loss to Ohio.

"He's going to be the future here," Boyd said. "I only have a few more games here, and then my time is gone. We have to start getting younger guys ready. At times people might think I am superhuman, but I can get hurt just like anybody else.

"I have been in the position of being the backup quarterback, and that is one of the hardest positions in football because people think when you step in that the offense should not miss a beat. He needs all the confidence he can get. I want to see us have a quarterback from Kentucky that can step in and be the next quarterback here. I want him to have more success than I have ever had. That's what I want for everybody here."

This week, though, he would like to find a way to beat South Carolina. He knows part of his role is to make sure his teammates believe they can win.

"That is kind of how I live my life. I stay positive. It is how I grew up," Boyd said. "My mother taught me that. My uncle did, too. I have always been a leader. If things go bad, I was taught to lead. If things go well, you still have to lead. I like that pressure one me.

"You have to lead by example. You have to lead by mouth. You have to keep everybody emotionally ready and positive no matter what the situation is. It's just life and being a leader, and there's no way I'm going to quit or let anybody else playing on this team quit, either."

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