DEMAREE: No shortage of homegrown QBs at UK

As UK completes another era of high caliber quarterbacking, the age-old question arises--will the Cats be able to replace their quarterback and will there be a drastic drop off at that all-important position?

With some of the highly productive quarterbacks UK has produced, perhaps that is a valid question for 2008. However over the last decade, the state of Kentucky has produced a bevy of top-notch quarterbacks. Why and how has that phenomena evolved?

Tim Couch from Leslie County cast his lot with UK in 1996 and this was the start of a tradition that now finds us where we have arrived. Couch was also a star high school basketball player and if it not for his prowess throwing a football well, would never have found himself on scholarship at the University of Kentucky.

Couch's success saw a successive proliferation of 6-foot-2 and taller Kentucky high school youngster's decision to try the football route to a scholarship--kids who otherwise would have been playing basketball, exclusively and would have been caught in the ‘Tweener Syndrome.'

Except for Dusty Bonner, who was from the state of Georgia and quarterbacked the Wildcats for one year, all the other UK quarterbacks have hailed from the state of Kentucky. After Couch came Jared Lorenzen, Shane Boyd, Andre Woodson, and now we have Curtis Pulley, who could possibly be the 2008 starter for UK.

For the purposes of this article, we are concentrating on University of Kentucky quarterbacks, but to further emphasis the proliferation theory, we will briefly make mention of others from the state of Kentucky. There was University of Louisville's Chris Redmond, Brian Brohm, and Michael Bush, a great high school quarterback that if he had gone somewhere other than U of L, would have played quarterback, ala Tim Tebow style.

fBy most accounts, it appears Curtis Pulley will be the starter in 2008. Coach Brooks recently said that Kentucky's offense will look different next year, so it's reasonable to think Curtis Pulley will start. Examples of what the offense could look like are spread options with the likes of Pat White at West Virginia, Dennis Dixon at Oregon University before he was hurt, Tim Tebow at Florida, Ryan Perrillioux at LSU when he is in the game, and Arkansas when Darren McFadden is in the ‘Wild Hog' formation, to name a few.

Some may asked, how was Shane Boyd considered productive? His career at UK was herky-jerky, to say the least. Boyd played under three head coaches and four offensive coordinators. He was redshirted in 2000; in 2001 Guy Morriss played musical chairs with Boyd and the very popular Jared Lorenzen; he sat behind Lorenzen in 2002; in 2003 came offensive coordinator Ron Hudson and again musical chairs with Boyd and Lorenzen, and in 2004, it was solely Boyd's job.

Some don't remember that Boyd had a dazzling game against Indiana but it was never revealed that he injured his shoulder on his non-throwing arm. This hindered the full extension he needed to throw accurately and with velocity. Even though running the ball was a big part of his production, his quarterbacking was hindered for several games. Timing was never an asset he enjoyed. It was always an untimely interception among other pitfalls and it wasn't until Joker Phillips took over the offense at Tennessee, Boyd's last game when they nearly upset the Vol, that Boyd completely shined.

Why did Boyd perform so well in that game? Phillips asked Boyd which passes he liked to throw and that's the way Phillips formulated the game-plan then told him to relax and go out and have fun. It's my contention that under the right conditions, Boyd could have continued that quarterback productivity. As further evidence of that, Boyd is still in the NFL on the Houston Texans team as a quarterback making $600,000. That ought to tell you something.

So given a better offensive line, with Pulley at the helm, one could expect to see successful spread-option results. Just like many of the quarterbacks mentioned in this article, Curtis Pulley to was a Mister Football in Kentucky, also.

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