Pike No Stranger

If it seems Tony Pike has been in the Bearcats football program for a long time you're not mistaken. After coming out of Reading High School the gun slinging quarterback greyshirted prior to being part of the program.

"This is number five for me this year and I hope I get the chance to make it six. This is a great experience getting to know some of the freshmen like this. You make some friends on and off the field and you come out here and compete everyday. But after we're off the field we get to be friends."

With the status of Ben Mauk in the air until last week Pike had mixed feelings on losing last years starter.

"Losing Ben hurts us all since he was a close to the quarterbacks. You never want to lose a real close friend but we understood the situation going in and now it's time for someone else to step up and get the job done."

Pike has always shown he's a team player and early in camp this was evident as he watched the other quarterbacks take reps with him watching.

"Coach had pulled us aside before camp about getting the freshmen ready with more reps so I knew going in that I wasn't going to be doing much. If we want to win a championship we've got to have everybody ready. While you always want to be out there in the action it wasn't all bad as I was able to sit back and listen to what coach had to say and learn from it."

Like most of the veteran Bearcats, Pike can't believe how the years have passed since joining the program after a stellar career at Reading High School.

"It seems like ancient history now. I've got a younger brother who will be a senior this year and another one who will be going into seventh grade."

On the field Tony knows Brian Kelly always looks for an advantage. With a rules change the Bearcats know if they can master the new 40-second clock they can keep defenses on their heels.

"I'm just trying to move at a faster pace with the new 40-second clock and we're really pushing the tempo out here this year. But it's felt good being back out here on the field."

While Pike has seen some good plays he also knows success isn't always easy when you're going against one of the best defenses in the country.

"It's the best preparation you can get. We know our defense was in the Top-5 in a lot of things last year. So you know if you come out here and make some plays you're doing something good. And if they make a play you learn from it because they've made a lot of plays the past couple of seasons."

Tony Pike knows his clock is running down on his career and if he wishes to make a statement this fall is the time to do it. Can Tony win the starters job when camp breaks? That will be one of the questions answered in the coming week as the team prepares for Eastern Kentucky in their season opener.

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