But his ability as a quarterback is not lost on Alabama's team.">
But his ability as a quarterback is not lost on Alabama's team.">

This 'J-Lo' can play

Call him "Hefty Lefty," the "Round Mound of Touchdown," or even college football's own version of "J-Lo." Kentucky's Jared Lorenzen has almost as many nicknames as touchdown passes. <br><br>But his ability as a quarterback is not lost on Alabama's team.

"He's a big, big guy," Tide defensive end Antwan Odom said. "If you don't get him down, he'll hurt you throwing the ball."

Odom stands 6-5 and weighs 277 pounds himself. But quarterbacks aren't supposed to come that big. "We know what he can do," Odom said. "We've just got to get him to the ground. We're all pretty tough, too."

But when you're talking about Lorenzen, "getting him to the ground" is easier said than done. He's officially listed at 260 pounds, but depending on last night's Dominos delivery that number has gotten as high as 290.

"Lorenzen has an uncanny ability to avoid the rush--shove the rush aside," Tide Defensive Coordinator Joe Kines said. "He can literally shake them off. He then finds somebody downfield."

Secondary Coach Chris Ball spent time Sunday watching film of Kentucky. "I went back home and told my wife ‘They've got a quarterback that's 290 pounds.' She said, ‘No way! Can he run?' Lorenzen's like a tall tale--a Paul Bunyon type guy, a Goliath."

As big as most of the athletes rushing him (and bigger than many), Jared Lorenzen can be a load to bring down. The best bet is to do as this Florida lineman did, wrap up his left arm--and wait for reinforcements. (Getty Images)

"I've seen a lot of 6-5, 6-6 quarterbacks, but not like him," Ball continued. "I've never seen a guy avoid the rush like he does. He's got guys climbing on him and he throws them off. It's amazing. It's not DBs or linebackers, either. He does that with D-Linemen."

Defensive tackle Jeremy Clark has seen the film, too, and he's impressed. "That's a pretty big quarterback," Clark said, shaking his head. "I've never seen a guy that big, that can move as well as he does and also pass. If I get to him, I've got to make sure I wrap up, because he's not going down like some 200-pound quarterback.

"It's going to be different. Even if you get to him, then you're facing a guy your size or bigger. But if you put a hat on him, he'll go down. We've got to pressure him from the outside and then when he steps up, collapse the pocket from the middle."

Lorenzen is as hefty as most of his blockers--bigger than the average defensive end whose job it is to tackle him. "Lorenzen is very talented," Tide Head Coach Mike Shula said. "He breaks more tackles than any quarterback I've ever seen. His ability to create after the play has broken down is his biggest asset.

"He'll run the option, then after he pitches the ball he'll become the lead blocker."

With 8,566 yards passing (and counting), Lorenzen is seventh all-time in the SEC. "That's up against some really big names," Ball said. "He was 24 and 5 in terms of touchdowns to interceptions last year. That's a pretty good year. People think he's just a big guy playing quarterback, but that's not the case at all. He's special. He finds a way to get it done.

"That kid is a winner, and a darn good football player."

Lorenzen is on the watch list for the Walter Camp National Player of the Year Award. Last season he completed 183 of 327 passes for 2,267 yards and 24 touchdowns against only five interceptions. He owns two SEC records and eight school records and is climbing the stat charts week by week.

The Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award candidate weighed 13 pounds and three ounces at birth. Not surprisingly, his mother had to bring his birth certificate to Pee-Wee football tryouts to prove his age.

Lorenzen's numerous diets have only met with limited success. He may not look like an All-America quarterback, but according to Bama's coaches and players he definitely plays like one. (Getty Images)

"He's sneaky quick, too," Odom said. "We can put a big guy back there during practice to give us a look, but we need somebody quick to run the scout team."

Every week fans see him on tape and think, "We can get that guy down. Our rush will punish him." And every week Lorenzen does his thing, shrugging off rushers like worrisome gnats, then looking downfield to make the play.

Ball is a believer. "When I first watched film of him, I woke up at 3 in the morning thinking, ‘Man! No one has sacked this guy.' He does a great job of avoiding the rush and looking down field. We've got to stay on our guys."

"Lorenzen is just one of those guys," Ball continued. "He finds a way to not get sacked. He moves great in the pocket. I got with Coach Kines this morning, saying ‘We've got find a way with this guy, because he can do some damage.' We'll have to be at our best Saturday to slow him down a little bit."

Kines agrees. "Probably the most production Kentucky has had all year is when something breaks down," Kines said. "He's got a cannon for an arm. He throws well, but the thing he's done well this year is improvise--make a good play out of a seemingly bad one.

"You'd like to have him at linebacker. The thing the guy does the best is fight. He could play almost anywhere. You put him at ‘Mike' linebacker and he could probably play."

BamaMag Top Stories