LEXINGTON, Ky. --- If Kentucky's best laid plans unfold, Artose Pinner is going to be a busy man this fall.
The Wildcats' senior running back stole the spotlight with his workmanlike performance in Saturday's Blue-White Game, rushing 11 times for 48 yards and catching four passes for 114 and a touchdown in the White squad's 16-0 victory at Commonwealth Stadium.
"As far as Artose, we've got to find a way to put the ball in his hands 20-25 times a game this fall," UK coach Guy Morriss said. "You just kind of give him the ball and get out of his way. I think he's got a chance to be something pretty special.
"He's like a shark in the water -- he's starting to smell a little blood. And I think he sees that he's got a future at the next level."
"It was huge," said Pinner when asked what effect the game had on his confidence level. "This spring is all about gearing up for the fall."
Pinner, who shared playing time with departed backs Chad Scott and Martez Johnson in 2001, appeared to get stronger as the game progressed. He caught a screen pass from third-team quarterback Dan Lumley and weaved through the defense for a 66-yard touchdown in the second quarter, but saved some of his best moves for the final period.
He caught another screen pass and turned it into a 32-yard gain, hurdling a defender along the sideline to bring a chorus of "Tose, Tose" cheers from the crowd. Then he added a 15-yard run between the tackles to set up Jared Lorenzen's 12-yard touchdown pass to Gerad Parker.
"He was pretty awesome," Lorenzen said. "I look for 'Tose to have a huge year if he does the things he's been doing this spring. If he can do that, it just opens up this offense, takes a lot of pressure off me."
Lorenzen, the won the starting quarterback role with his performance late last year and this spring, completed 11 of 22 passes for 175 yards and a touchdown. He also threw two interceptions, but one came on a deflected pass and the other occurred when his intended receiver fell down en route to the end zone.
"I think Jared took another step in the learning process," Morriss said. "He has a good feel for the system and is learning how it all fits together."
The Lorenzen-led White squad outgained Shane Boyd's Blue team 301-65. Boyd was a respectable 6-of-10 for 57 yards and no interceptions, but the Blues stalled in White territory three times in the game. A fumble on the exchange cost them one scoring opportunity, and the Whites halted another drive with a fourth-down stop.
Aaron Boone led the White receiving corps with four catches for 72 yards. Tommy Cook paced the Blues with three receptions for 36 yards.
Alexis Bwenge led the Blue rushing attack with nine carries for 43 yards despite running behind a makeshift offensive line due to several injuries.
"I thought he bounced back and ran the ball harder than he had the last two times out," Morriss said of the redshirt freshman from Canada. "I think he's going to be good."
Clint Ruth accounted for the White team's other points, kicking a 37-yard field goal in the second quarter. The first quarter was a 0-0 standoff played by former UK lettermen in a two-hand touch format.
Defensive highlights included two interceptions and a big-time pass breakup by Quentus Cumby. The senior safety picked off one Lorenzen pass after Tim Funderburk separated the ball from Daniel Hopewell, and recorded another when he snared a Lorenzen pass in the end zone. Cumby also leveled Ronald "Rock" Johnson coming out of the backfield on a potential touchdown pass, much to the delight of the crowd estimated at 5,000.
"I felt real good out there tonight," Cumby said. "I need to take this and carry it over to the summer. This was a big confidence boost for me."
The Blue team's Justin Haydock, a walk-on linebacker, led all defenders with six tackles. Ellery Moore blocked an extra point for the Blues.
The White squad got three tackles for loss and a sack by junior defensive tackle Dewayne Robertson, causing Morriss to say, "He was in the backfield all night long."
Morriss also praised the play of redshirt freshmen Dustin Williams and Trey Mielsch at linebacker and defensive end, respectively, for the White and Blue squads.
The UK coach said he felt better about the team entering this summer than he did a year ago, his first season on the job.
"I think we had a ways to go coming out of spring (last year)," Morriss said. "I know defensively they were sort of scratching their head because it's hard to learn a complete system in 15 workouts. And I think offensively, with the adjustments we made, it was probably the same thing, with different terminology and different emphasis and different style of play. It takes time to adjust.
"Now that they've been in the system a year and got two springs under their belt, I think they're going to feel a lot better offensively and defensively. It's all about a confidence factor, really."