BONNER: Booing won't help Hartline or UK

Former Kentucky quarterback Dusty Bonner knows how it feels to be mistreated. You remember Bonner leading Kentucky to the 1999 Music City Bowl and then somehow losing his job the following summer when coach Hal Mumme decided to go with Jared Lorenzen at quarterback.

Bonner wisely transferred to Valdosta State where he finished a terrific career and showed he still had plenty of zip in his arm.

Now he's back in Lexington and has remained a Kentucky football fan. That's why I asked him how much he thought the continued support UK coach Rich Brooks and assistant Joker Phillips might be helping current quarterback Mike Hartline, especially after he was booed in Commonwealth Stadium in last week's loss to Alabama.

"I don't know how much it helps his psyche. It probably helps but I do not know how much. I do know nobody likes to get booed and I think that is terrible for a college kid to experience. That is hard. There are not a lot of 30-year-old adults that could handle that," Bonner said.

"You have got to have rock solid confidence in yourself not to be bugged. I don't know if I have ever seen a player thats confidence is not touched in some way. It's hard to bounce back from being booed. Fans should look at what Rich and Joker are saying and that should mean more to them than what they are saying because these guys are the coaches. They are telling you he is our best chance and is the guy. It becomes do you gripe and complain and the kid is the wrong quarterback and get all over him or I am a Kentucky fan and I get behind him and encourage him and see what happens."

Bonner remembers knowing if he had a bad game or series it was nice going to the sideline "knowing the coach still loved me" like Brooks has Hartline. "I don't know if I ever got booed on the field or how I would have handled it," Bonner said.

He had a hard enough time as a high school senior in the Georgia-Florida all-star game when he admits he was "horrific and couldn't do anything right." He still remembers what happened when he came out of the game.

"People were close enough to the field that I could hear that they were criticizing and laughing at me. I was so embarrassed and down about. There is not kid on that field that wouldn't love to go out and have the perfect game. But it doesn't happen ever. My mom, dad and sister had to deal with people making negative comments. It was hard for them. I don't think college kids should be booed because people don't realize how hard that is on you.

"Give him a break. He just played Florida and Alabama. Those might be the best two defenses in the country and they will make quarterbacks other than just Mike Hartline look bad."

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