Morriss Monday Press Conference - Part I, QBs

Kentucky coach Guy Morriss stopped short of calling Jared Lorenzen his "starter", but said the sophomore left-hander would take the first snap in the Cats' opener against Louisville. Plans are in place to play backup Shane Boyd by the fourth series of the game...

LEXINGTON, Ky.  --- Part I of comments from Kentucky coach Guy Morriss in his weekly Monday press luncheon at Wildcat Den:

GUY MORRISS
On naming a starting quarterback:

"I know everybody's been wondering about the quarterback situation. I can guarantee you this: the starting quarterback will have a '2' on his jersey come Saturday. Jared Lorenzen will take the first snap of the game on Saturday. Both quarterbacks are going to play. We think that both can contribute to the overall success of our team, and we will try to integrate both of them into this offense. I think that the decision was pretty much made on the basis on the competition, and we felt that Jared, his experience and his maturing, has probably earned him the nod to get that first snap. He feels very good about himself at this point and what he's done. He's really been open to new ideas in this offense coach (Brent) Pease has brought. I think that he feels really good about coach Pease and the direction he wants to go with it.


Shane Boyd (2)
and Jared Lorenzen (22)

"I think Shane (Boyd) has matured quite a bit as a player. He's probably at the same point that Jared was at this point last year in his career. Shane's a high-energy guy, and he's also grown and matured as a person. He's really driven himself to be successful. He's worked very hard, and that's one of the reasons we want to make sure he gets in the ballgame.

"We don't see any reason why we can utilize the talents of both players. To what degree we use them both, we don't know exactly yet, until we see how each one of them operates under game conditions. But we must get the backup quarterback some reps and get him that experience. We want to make sure that we have the right guy on the field in the right times and the right situations. Both of them have strengths and weaknesses --- and without getting into too much detail because they you start giving away your gameplan --- but one of them may operate better at the goal line than the other one. One of them may be better coming off (rolling out), or some other aspect of the game we may want to take advantage of. One of them may have a better talent to execute something we're wanting to do, so those decisions will be based on that.

"I think Shane's got to get some playing time for the mere fact that Jared gets off to a slow start or has a bad game, you want him to go into a game with some snaps under his belt. I know Jared made the comments last year that, during the Mississippi State game, he struggled and he would have welcomed the chance to step out of the game and kind of get a feel for what was going on from the sideline, a chance for him to reflect and give someone else an opportunity.

"I think, too, that from this point on it will eliminate any kind of competition for the loyalty of their teammates. I don't think we've had much of that, but it will become a non-issue now. We need the players focused on their job and not worrying about who's going to be the quarterback. They know that both of those guys are going to play."

"If this develops the way that we think it's going to develop down the road, each one of these guys brings a different style, a different strength, to the table. We've built some stuff into our offense that will suit each of them. I think that will create some doubt in some (defensive) coordinators' minds about which style, or scheme or system to prepare for. There may be some advantages to that down the road... Then, at that point, you get two or three games under your belt and you throw them a curve. You change up what you're doing with each quarterback as they get more comfortable with the system.

"I would look for Shane probably as early as the fourth series (of the Louisville game). He'll come in and take a series or two, we'll see how he does, and we'll go from there.

On a percentage of plays he expects Boyd to play, as much as 30-40 percent?

"Yeah. That's what we'd kind of like to move toward. The only problem we have with that right now is he's untested. We don't know how he's going to react. If he does what we think he's capable of doing, yeah, we're going to sit down and say, 'We need to get this guy 30 percent of the snaps, or maybe 40.' It just depends on how each of them are doing. But there's a definite plan to get him into the ballgame and get him reps."

On the factors that led to naming Lorenzen the starter:

"The fact that he's matured gave him the edge. He's kind of a different player now than he was a year ago. He's handling things better. He's handling adversity better. He's picked up new ideas a little bit quicker, made decisions faster just because, I think, of 11 games of experience. He knows what to look for and where problems are coming from. That gives him a decided advantage."

On Lorenzen's conditioning:

"I think the conditioning has helped him. He's probably in the best shape of his life. You know, those guys actually run after practice now. They run gassers to help them condition. He's got his weight down and under control. Hopefully that will be the last issue we have to talk about Jared's weight, that after today he will stay where he needs to be... What I did was set about a 3-pound window (of his prescribed weight). I was not as close to Jared in the past, so I didn't quite know his body as well as I do now. We set him the 3-pound window from 265 to 268, and he's actually been at those weights for the last eight to 10 days. He's been anywhere from 265 to, today, he'll probably come in at 268 because we've had a couple of days off.

"He attacked this problem from Day One. He's done a good job with it. It's been a good weight loss. It's come off in the right fashion. I don't think it's going to be one of those things where you turn your back and he's going to gain eight or 10 pounds in a weekend or something like that. It came off the right way.

"It helps his mobility, but more than anything, his mental frame of mind. It has him feeling good about himself and the benefits of the weight loss. I don't think it's going to be an issue with him anymore.

"The last official weight that I had on him was 308, which was probably sometime after the Tennessee game."

On the team's reaction to naming a starter:

"The biggest reaction was, 'Coach, we don't care who plays, just put the best guy back there.' The response has been very positive. I think that the players feel very confident in either one of them and understand that both of them bring a little bit different strengths and weaknesses to the game. Hopefully we can take advantage of both.

"Coach Pease talked with (Boyd and Lorenzen), and I talked to both of them individually. They're happy with the arrangement."

On whether he will incorporate some option into the playbook for the highly-mobile Boyd:

"Possibly" (With a wink and a laugh)... "We can't give up all our secrets."

On how to keep Lorenzen from looking over his shoulder and "pressing" with Boyd waiting in the wings:

"Coach Pease has addressed that with him. I think he feels he can trust us as a staff not to do that (yank him quickly) to him.  I saw a comment that he made about if he's struggling and not having a good day, that I would be stupid not to bring Shane out and give him a crack at it, so I think we've addressed that and he's comfortable with it."

On whether a bad situation in the Louisville game would change his plans to play Boyd as scheduled:

"Well, I think we kind of made a commitment to him and said it's going to be the fourth series, be ready. I don't know how you can go in and say, 'Well, maybe we should wait for the next series.' I think the kid would perceive that as us not having confidence in him, so we made that decision, and we're going to stick to it. We have confidence in him that he will handle it. He's got to be ready to do that."

 


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