Guy Morriss Media Day Q&A, Part I

Kentucky coach Guy Morriss addressed the media Thursday at Wildcat Den for the team's annual Media Day event...

LEXINGTON, Ky.  --- The first portion of Guy Morriss' Media Day press conference Thursday at Wildcat Den:

On the QB situation and drawing comparisons to his playing days in the NFL:

"In the particular situation I was in, the starting quarterback was pretty much known. Actually, in the NFL back when I played, you were very fortunate if you had two guys the caliber enough to be considered for the starting job. It's usually pretty cut-and-dried, you have a starter and a backup and a pretty big difference between the two. The situation is not really comparable to what we have here. We have two guys who are very close, and either one of them could come out of it as the starter."

"The quarterback situation is the same as it's been all summer. The guys have had the competition going since spring. They'll start tomorrow with the competition still going on. Somebody's got to take the first snap, and that will be Jared (Lorenzen) based ont he fact that he's the previous starter. And then it's just a matter of, hopefully, one of those guys will rise. That's the way I would like to see this quarterback competition settled, an individual on the field stepping up, taking the bull by the horns and winning the job. I'd like to see that get done rather than me have to rack my brains for two or three nights trying to make a decision based on what information we have. I hope that it's a clear-cut favorite by his performance on the football field."

"Jared obviously has a stronger arm than Shane, although not a lot stronger. The biggest plus that Jared has is his experience, starting 11 games last year, and that experience is extremely valuable to a football player, having played in 'live' situations. The fact that Jared's got his weight down close to where we want it will allow him to be more mobile. We like that. We're going to put a little more of that into our offense, and that will help him tremendously. He rushed for over 300 yards last year as it was. We'd like to do some things like boot(legs) and waggles and quarterback draws. For us to be able to do that, he needed to get down where we wanted weight-wise."

"Shane is an extremely intelligent, fiercely competitive young man. He's extremely mobile, so we know that those type things we want to do in our offense, he may be the better guy. But the thing that hurts Shane right now is he hasn't been on the field. He hasn't played. When the bullets start flying, so to speak, that may be the difference because you never know how a player is going to react. I've seen a lot of great practice players, then when it starts counting they're not quite the same type of player. That's an unknown about Shane."

"The competition is good. It's been very healthy. It's pushed both guys. The competition has made them both better players, so we'll see how it ends."

"If he clearly wins the job, then he will start. I think we're trying to make this decision for our long-term, what's best for the future of this football program. If Shane demonstrates to us that he's the better quarterback, then he's going to start. At some point, every player that steps on that field it's his first start. You've got to give them that opportunity. And if he comes out of two-a-days as the starter and doesn't get it done in the first game, then we'll reassess our options and make a change or adjustments if necessary. But I don't think you can tell these kids we're going to have a competition and the winner will be declared on the field, then a guy wins it and you don't give him the job. Then I lose credibility that way."

Cornerback Derek Tatum (21) and linebacker Jamal White (47) ham it up prior to Thursday's team photo shoot at Media Day.

On what he told the veterans when they reported Wednesday:

"They spent most of their time hearing from compliance and academics and Dr. Todd. Larry Ivy also talked to them... But we spent about 15 or 20 minutes talking a little bit of football. What I told them, basically, was that I really believe we've got a chance to be a good football team, and we want them to be good citizens. I said don't do something stupid that will cost us a chance to be a good football team."

"We talked about what does competition mean to you. Just old football stuff. Compeition is a test: it's a test to see who's the bigger, faster, stronger, ultimately the better football player over the course of a football game, a series of one-on-one battles that happen every time you step on the field. We talked about those type of things -- having a passion for the game; being committed; doing the right thing. Then we turned it over to our seniors and each guy gave his talk. Then we split up and talked a little bit about offensive and defensive philosophy and let them go and tucked them into bed."

On expectations from his assistants and staff:

"I lean on my assistants heavily. I'm a first-year head coach, and to me it doesn't make a bit of difference because I could be a head coach for 30 years and still not know everything there is to know about running a football team or knowing all the answers. So why in the heck do you go out and hire these guys? You're hiring them for their professional football opinions, and if that's what you're paying them for, you need to let them give it to you. That's the first thing I told each one of these guys when I called them in after I got this job. I told them, 'Do not tell me what you think I want to hear. Tell me the truth because I can deal with it. Don't be a yes man.'... There's a lot of good, experienced coaches on this staff, and I'm going to try to take advantage of that as often as I can. Now, there's times when somebody has to break the tie or make the final decision, and that will be me. But it will be based on information and input from what I think is a pretty darn good football staff."

"Obviously, when you put a new staff together there's a little bit of a period of coming together. But I think that period has been very minimal here because our staff is of the personality that they really enjoy being together. They enjoy each other's company on the field and off. The thing that's been very refreshing to me is there's no little cliques. Two or three guys go to lunch one day, then two or three other guys go the next. We had four or five of us go out jogging the other day, and that four or five changes about every day. It's been very good the way the staff has come together. The chemistry is very close. You get the sense that coach Lancaster cares about coach Nelson's kids, and coach Pease cares about so-and-so's family. We feed off that."

On surprises to that come along with the job:

"The only thing that I didn't really expect or have a true grasp of is the administrative side. I knew th

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