Brooks: QB picture to clear up after Saturday

By Eric Lindsey

Throughout spring practice, head coach Rich Brooks has stiff-armed any hints of who the starting quarterback will be when UK heads to Louisville on Aug. 31 for the 2008 season opener.

Brooks still didn’t name a starter yesterday and said the battle between junior-to-be Curtis Pulley and sophomore-to-be Mike Hartline is as close as ever. But he did say somebody will be the starter after this weekend — even if only for a short time.

“Somebody will be first-string after Saturday,” Brooks said. “Whether that’ll change in the fall, I don’t know.”

The battle appears to have come down to Pulley and Hartline. At the beginning of spring practice, Brooks said Will Fidler was in the mix as well, but the sophomore-to-be has been limited in practice because of shoulder stiffness, likely hindering any shot he had.

No matter who the quarterback has been this spring, the offense has struggled at times. Brooks voiced his displeasure with the offense after last week’s second major scrimmage, but acknowledged that it’s tough to get any offensive rhythm with the lack of depth and inexperience the Cats have at wide receiver.

Brooks is hoping, though, that he can put the quarterback situation to rest after Saturday’s scrimmage, at least for a little while.

“That position will take care of itself one way or another,” Brooks said. “Somebody will step hold and take a stranglehold on it, or it’ll be close and competitive. I just hope it’ll be close and competitive on the upside rather than on the downside.”

UK adopts draft format for Blue/White Spring Game

Offensive coordinator Joker Phillips might get a little taste of what it’s like to be an NFL general manager with the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft before Saturday’s scrimmage. For the first time since Brooks arrived at UK, the Cats will adopt a draft to divide the teams for the annual scrimmage, and Phillips will have the first pick.

In past years, UK used an offense versus defense format with a scoring system to decide the winner. But because of the depth and talent of this year’s team, Brooks has decided to institute the draft format and split the players into two separate teams.

“It gives you a more competitive game and a better evaluation of your players in a competitive situation than we’ve been able to do in past years,” Brooks said.

Phillips will coach one team and defensive coordinator Steve Brown will coach the other. Phillips beat Brown in a friendly coin toss Tuesday to gain the first pick. The two will alternate back and forth until the entire roster is divided, which will be announced today.

Saturday’s scrimmage is at 1 p.m. at Commonwealth Stadium. The scrimmage is open to fans and admission is free.

Brooks announces Team Leadership Council

Brooks announced UK’s 2008 Team Leadership Council for the upcoming season after yesterday’s practice. Each player on the council represents a position group and serves as a liaison between the coaches and the players. The players were elected by their teammates.

The 2008 members include: Braxton Kelley, linebackers; Tim Masthay, special teams; Garry Williams, offensive line; Corey Peters, defensive line; Dicky Lyons, wide receivers; Marcus McClinton, defensive backs; Tony Dixon quarterbacks/running backs.