"My dad understood and told her. She is pretty understanding about how things work and how the game is played. She likes watching her sons play and hoping for the best for us. That's what mothers do."
Laurie Hartline laughs when asked to compare going to games to watch her sons play.
"I almost think it is harder being a quarterback's mother than a receiver's mother or some other player's mother. It is amazing the emotions and thoughts that the quarterbacks go through that I feel many of the other players don't," she said.
"Being that parent and having to lend an ear and shoulder, you hear all those things and it's hard on a mother. It is harder being the quarterback's mom."
So what's the difference?
"For the son playing receiver, you just want him to make a catch and get that touchdown. It's not complicated," she said. "For the son playing quarterback, you are almost there with him and trying to think and see what he does on the field and what he will or will not do. You are waiting with baited breath until the play is over that something bad doesn't happen. You can never relax."
"I just kind of die with Mike at times. I used to be very vocal. I just don't say anything now because it is too hard on me, too. It is all internal. I am still dying inside, but I try to stay quiet because I know he beats himself up when something good does not happen. That's just the kind of player he is. I feel what he does, and when he hurts, I hurt."
Even if she tried to claim she didn't hear what fans were saying about her son, Laurie Hartline knows no one would believe her because the applause — or groans — can sometimes be deafening at Commonwealth Stadium.
"It's not hard to hear the fans at all. Sometimes I will be polite and say something to someone like, 'Excuse me. You are speaking about my son.' But I won't say any more than that. You have to take it and accept it. That is part of the game. You can't win them all over," she said.
Mike Hartline led Kentucky to victory in the Liberty Bowl last year and she's hoping he can win many more games this year since he goes into the season as UK's No. 1 quarterback. But Laurie Hartline knows the critics will always be there.
"It is more that way in college. In high school, it was a smaller community and you were just always around as the boys progressed through the ages and did better and better," she said. "You are just around the crowd where things are good.
"In high school, I learned to watch what I would say and how to accept it if somebody did say something bad about one of my boys. I will be Mike's or Brian's harshest critic, too. Plenty of times I will be a harsh critic. I won't sugar-coat anything for them just because they are my boys.
"Michael has grown up with me and football. People at work talk about football and just look at me. I know the ins and outs. They think they are talking to another guy. I know all about it and what it takes to win games."
The Kentucky quarterback says he's learned that his mother's criticism is meant to help him.
"Parents' criticism is something you don't want to shy away from, but at the same time they are there for you so you can't take it personally. It's one of those voices where you can talk to them directly and they will understand whether it is bad or good," Mike Hartline said.
"People are always going to say how they feel and that's fine. To have someone like her is good. She is always doing the right thing and looking out for me. I never have to worry about not knowing how she feels about anything."