Sanders looking for sailors for his ship

"There's an old Chinese Proverb that says that you don't find good sailors on calm seas," Quarterback coach Randy Sanders said. "You find out who can really sail the ship then the ocean is rough. Sometimes as a coach it is hard to find who your leadership is until you have some rough seas."

Sanders and the rest of the offensive brain trust are going to be busy over the next few days trying to identify a reliable leader to start the season at the quarterback position. The team finished up spring practice with Curtis Pulley taking most of the snaps with the first team. However, he somewhat fell out of favor over the summer.

Sanders explained: "We went into spring practice with no clear cut No. 1. Andre started out getting the reps with the first team and Curtis started out with the second team – then we switched during spring practice. I don't know necessarily that it is said we have a first teamer or second teamer. And right now I don't know that we necessarily have a first teamer or a second teamer. Somebody has to start out with the first team and somebody's has to start out with the second group.

"I think that both had good summers. I think Andre's summer was better utilized than Curtis' was. But a decision will still be made on what happens the next few weeks and when you get on the football field."

Sanders was asked if Pulley could throw the ball adequately in this league. "Oh yeah," Sanders emphatically stated. "He throws it plenty well enough. He throws it better than some other guys I had to play quarterback in this league. I won't call any names and he doesn't throw it as well as some of them but he throws it better than some of them. He just needs some more experience in the passing game. I have no doubt he can be a really fine quarterback in this league."

Sanders was part of a disintegration (by Tennessee standards) centered around the quarterback and the effect it had on the Volunteer team. It was a sudden and unexpected occurrence. To avoid that at Kentucky, he feels a lot of it has to do with the maturity of the rest of the team – how they look at the situation and the rest lies on the quarterbacks themselves.

"There's no question that it can be divisive," Sanders said, "but it is usually as divisive as the results on Saturday allows it to be. If you play two guys and win, it is usually no issue. If you play two guys and not winning, that's the first thing everybody's going to point to, from the fans, the media, the players and suddenly it's because of the two quarterbacks and the bigger the issue is made of it the bigger it's going to be."

Coach Brooks said there is no quarterback controversy when the team knows that the best quarterback is on the field. How do you avoid this phenomenon? "You have to have a good feel for the pulse of your football team and what's going on not on the field or in the game," Sanders said. How do you know that coach? "(Sigh) What's going on in the locker room, what's going on in the dorm, and what's going on in the restaurants when they are out eating. Offensively, you leadership on the football team doesn't allow that to happen."

How do you judge the intangibles of a quarterback - how mentally tough is he, his savvy, his moxie, the things he instinctively does, the things you can't teach? Sanders said: "Well it's tough. It's really hard to judge these things. A lot of players can have moxie and savvy, but when you put people in the stands and you put people in another jersey, they spit the bit and don't handle it well."

Sanders and Joker Phillips will be trying to find a sailor for the "Big Blue Enterprise" as the try to sail through choppy waters in the tough SEC.


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