Randy Sanders update

As the Tennessee Vols left Shields-Watkins Field following a 16-15 loss to South Carolina last October, students shouted "Fire Sanders! Fire Sanders!" Offensive coordinator Randy Sanders saved UT the trouble by resigning two days later.

Sanders subsequently accepted a job as quarterback coach at Kentucky, where head coach Rich Brooks is on perilously thin ice after going 9-25 in his first three seasons. I asked Brooks what he thinks of his new aide during SEC Media Days Wednesday in Birmingham.

"I'm very fortunate and very excited to have Randy Sanders join our staff," Brooks said. "He brings experience as a play-caller and coordinator, and obviously has coached some pretty good quarterbacks in his tenure at Tennessee."

Ironically, Sanders has inherited a muddled quarterback picture with the Big Blue that is similar to the one he endured last fall with the Big Orange. Andre Woodson is a 6-5, 232-pound pocket passer who threw for 1644 yards and six touchdowns last fall. Many fans, however, are backing 6-4, 200-pound Curtis Pulley, who passed for just 208 yards in limited action last fall but ran for 149 yards and three touchdowns.

"I think Curtis Pulley brings athleticism to the quarterback position," Brooks said. "He ran a couple (of TDs) in against Florida in the second half when he pulled the ball down and made a bad play a good play with his feet. He's not quite as accurate on the deep throw as Woodson has been.

"Woodson, for his first year as a full-time starter, handled himself very well throwing the football."

What killed Kentucky's offense last fall was mistakes. Woodson threw six interceptions in 253 attempts; Pulley three in just 50. Woodson also had a problem with ball security.

"What they both have to do is eliminate negative plays," Brooks said. "Andre's problem was fumbling last year. He didn't secure the ball well enough in the pocket and occasionally when he did run he didn't secure the ball well enough."

Obviously, Sanders faces a significant challenge in the weeks ahead as he attempts to prepare two talented but mistake-prone QBs for what promises to be a rugged opening test.

"Eliminate the negative plays, make more positive plays," Brooks said. "That will determine who's going to be the starter against Louisville."


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