When Phillips was asked how quarterbacks Hartline and Curtis Pulley were doing this summer, he noted that players had told him Hartline was the one doing more to organize practice workouts. That was interpreted by many as meaning Hartline was in line to be the No. 1 quarterback.
"I was not saying Hartline was or was not the best. I was asked who had been the guy getting everybody out there and it was Hartline. If people think that makes him ahead, fine," Phillips, UK's offensive coordinator, said.
Phillips won't downplay the importance of what Hartline has done.
"There has got to be one guy take charge and get them out there to work. But I never said he (Hartline) was ahead. Curtis is doing a better job, and has to get better do those things. But it does not make you ahead to be the starting quarterback just because you are gathering the troops up in the summer," Phillips said.
"It's going to be tough to pick a No. 1 out of those guys, especially as close as they are. But it all works itself out. We had the Pulley-Woodson competition (two years ago) and it worked itself out well for us."
Once Andre Woodson clearly emerged as UK's No. 1 quarterback, his leadership increased dramatically. Phillips would not be surprised if the same thing happens to Pulley if he becomes the starting quarterback.
"It took success for Andre to emerge as a leader. Then he got comfortable speaking and leading. We are hoping Curtis becomes that quarterback who can do that if he becomes our No. 1 quarterback. If does become the guy, you have to hope he will start to be more comfortable in speaking up. That's really not his personality. He is not a rah-rah guy in the huddle. He just does his job.
"It doesn't mean you can't win with a quarterback like that. A lot of quarterbacks have not had that rah-rah personality and had success."
The best part of Phillips, though, about the Hartline-Pulley contest is that he thinks UK can win with either one of them on the field.
"Regardless of who comes out No. 1, we will be as strong as we been at that position because we will have depth," Phillips said. "I am not sure we have had depth like this in long time at quarterback. We have had depth at other positions, but not at quarterback like we do this year."
VAUGHT: Phillips likes Hartline and Pulley
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