[Premium article] For three months, freshman quarterback Kyle York knew his job - signal in plays during practice. He was not expected to be ready to play, and he was perfectly happy taking his redshirt and learning from the example of senior Wayne Madkin and sophomore Kevin Fant."> [Premium article] For three months, freshman quarterback Kyle York knew his job - signal in plays during practice. He was not expected to be ready to play, and he was perfectly happy taking his redshirt and learning from the example of senior Wayne Madkin and sophomore Kevin Fant.">

Kyle York: Learning on the Move

<img src="http://www.genespage.com/images/01players/football/2001/kyork120-155.jpg" alt="Kyle York" align="left" width="120" height="155"> [Premium article] For three months, freshman quarterback Kyle York knew his job - signal in plays during practice. He was not expected to be ready to play, and he was perfectly happy taking his redshirt and learning from the example of senior Wayne Madkin and sophomore Kevin Fant.

Things changed quickly for York, though. During the week between the Alabama game and the Arkansas game, Madkin stopped practicing, and York was moved from the sideline to the huddle.

"That was a good thing for me. That was the first time since I was here that I had pressure on me," said York. "I had to learn really quickly. I was trying to go into the huddle and take Kevin's spot, and that was a hard thing to do. I had to go out there and have confidence and be a leader."

That role was hard enough for the youngster, but he had no idea what would come that Saturday.

"That was my first trip to Fayetteville, and when I got there I realized that it wasn't a very friendly place," said York. "I have always heard about it, but I could not have ever imagined.

"But when Kevin went down, that was just nerve-racking. I just decided that if I had to go out there, I would just have to get the job done. It was really a blessing, though, that I didn't have to go out there, and I could save my redshirt."

York did not waste anytime in his new role; he immediately began to learn the role of a SEC quarterback.

"I had to come in and really step up my work ethic and my game physically and mentally during those weeks," said York. "I didn't think at the time that I was ready, but those three or four weeks really showed me a lot about what it takes to play this game. They gave me a real boost going into the spring."

York did not wait until spring practices to continue his learning of the quarterback position. During the early months of the spring semester, York could be found at the practice field with a few of his fellow newcomers. But when he was not on the field, he could be found watching film.

"Will (Prosser) and McKinley (Scott) really helped me to get my arm back in shape, and get ready for spring," said York. "Having guys out there running routes is a big help. I had never worked with those guys, so we were able to work on our timing with each other. Those guys really worked hard with me this spring."

Showing a strong arm during fall practices, York knows that his spring practices will key on several other aspects of his game.

"I really need to work on my drops, my consistency, and throwing on the run," said York of his spring focus. "I also have to work on what coach Woods calls the key to a good quarterback, accuracy."

With the physical tools quickly coming to this gifted quarterback, York knows that he still has a lot more to learn about being a quarterback.

"There are a lot of things to being a quarterback, like consistency. Your coaches and team expect you to be consistent, and that is what you have to do to be a great quarterback," said Kyle. "It is just a matter of going out there and looking people in the eyes, and them to see in you that you are a competitor. And proving to them that you are going to do whatever it takes to be a winner.

"When you make mistakes, you have to bounce back and be ready to go again. You can be hard on yourself, but not so hard that you bring the rest of the guys down. You have to stay positive."


Grant Alford is a free-lance correspondent for Gene's Page. He is a student at Mississippi State University. You can contact him by email at hammer634@hotmail.com.

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