LEXINGTON, Ky. --- Like the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal, the Florida chads or the rhythmic madness of (gasp) "Mambo No. 5," Jared Lorenzen was beginning to wonder if his own personal tired subject was ever going to go away.
Instead of wating out another year, though, Kentucky's sophomore quarterback decided to chase it away himself.
Lorenzen, heretofore known as the "Hefty Lefty" after peaking at 308 pounds for parts of last season, carried a look of relief as he discussed his weight loss with reporters Monday at the Nutter Center. Earlier in the day, UK coach Guy Morriss announced Lorenzen had won the starting quarterback job largely due to his commitment to shedding pounds during the offseason.
The final tally was 40 pounds as Lorenzen weighed in at 268 on Monday. He had been as low as 265 earlier in camp.
"I think this will be the last day of this interview topic," Lorenzen said with a laugh. "I think we've talked about it long enough."
Lorenzen was --- and still is, to some extent --- regarded as a bit of a novelty act amongst the national media rather than the talent who led the Southeastern Conference in passing as a redshirt freshman. His 3,687 yards and 19 touchdowns were not enough to impress the preseason football annuals, many of which ranked at least four league quarterbacks ahead of him.
He thinks that may change with his commitment to getting in shape.
"I hope so. I mean, I lost 40 pounds," Lorenzen said. "I'm not the big fat guy anymore. I'm still big. I'm still a little fat, but I'm not the big, big fat guy. So maybe that will help what people think about me. Maybe they'll actually look at me as a quarterback."
Lorenzen's total weight loss even took him by surprise. He said he was never required to lose any weight under former coach Hal Mumme, so, initially, he wasn't sure if he could accomplish what Morriss had asked of him.
"He said 'You're going to lose weight," Lorenzen said of Morriss. "I didn't know I could lose 40 pounds. I thought, 'There's no way.' But little by little, he said I could take it off, and he never really got on me too much. He told me to just keep it going, keep eating right, and don't worry about it, you'll get there."
"He attacked this problem from Day One," Morriss said. "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."
The effort was not lost on his UK teammates.
"It's something he needed to do," said senior wide receiver Dougie Allen. "I think the guys really respect him for it. It shows us how serious he is."
"I think it's great. He looks great," said junior offensive lineman Keith Chatelain, who could have passed as a Lorenzen stunt double at times last season. "He took the lead, and a lot of guys followed and lost weight, too."
Morriss predicts the transformation may yield more than just physical improvement.
"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," Morriss said.
"People last year were saying 'You're too fat. You're this or that,'" Lorenzen said. "After a while, it's like, 'You might be right. Look at me, I'm huge. After watching film from last year, I can really tell.'"
Don't count on any posing in front of the mirror just yet, though.
"Oh, no. Look at this," said Lorenzen, shaking what's left of his once-considerable gut.
His goal for the remainder of this season is to stay around 265, then attempt to lose another 20 pounds prior to the 2002 season. "I don't know if that's realistic or not, though," he said.
Both Lorenzen and redshirt freshman Shane Boyd reacted positively to news about the quarterback competition. Although Morriss named Lorenzen the starter, he maintained that Boyd will play early against Louisville and often throughout the season.
"I'd like to be the starter, but Jared's got the experience edge on me," Boyd said. "Right now, I've got to focus on being the best backup I can be, and try to move the team when I get my chances to get in there.
"I've got to be prepared, regardless, whether it be the first, second, third or fourth quarter. It's going to keep me focused knowing that I'm going to play a part in how this season goes. I'm happy to know that. It's a good feeling that I'm going to play and get some experience."
Morriss said Boyd will likely enter the Louisville game on the fourth offensive series, but should be prepared at any time if the starter is either injured or ineffective. Lorenzen says he welcomes the opportunity for Boyd to take snaps.
"He's got to get the reps. I realize that and how important it is," Lorenzen said. "In case I have one of those MIssissippi State games, he's got to be ready to go.
"It would have been great (against MSU) because they obviously had my number, and I couldn't do anything against them. Everytime I dropped back, it seemed like there was 14 or 15 guys over there. Hopefully, if a day came like that, he would be able to step in and see the field easier."
"I love pressure," Boyd said. "It doesn't affect me."
Lorenzen insists the healthy competition will never turn into controversy.
"It will work out alright," he said. "We are not worried about it. It's not going to be like Florida where we rotate on plays or anything... There was a little controversy down at LSU last year with Rohan Davey and (Josh) Booty, but we're not going to let that happen. We're too good of friends for this to come between us. We're going to make it work."
With the extra weight shed and starter's job secured, Lorenzen says there's another bit of unfinished business he's set his sights on: avenging last year's heartbreaking o