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By LARRY VAUGHT
Like a lot of youngsters, Mike Hartline sometimes tried to make his mother believe he was sick so that he wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have to go to school. That didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t work any better with her in Canton, Ohio, than it would now with Kentucky coach Rich Brooks if the junior quarterback missed class.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Michael has always had his mom in the background getting after him if he wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t doing it right. He makes fun of me sometimes, but know it is just in jest,Ã¢â‚¬Â Laurie Hartline said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Now that he has been out away from home a few years, he has said back to his dad and I that he understands why we did some things we did.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“He would try to pull that thing where he said, Ã¢â‚¬ËœI donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t feel good and want to stay home from school.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ Then I would say, Ã¢â‚¬ËœAbsolutely not. You are not sick.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ He would go to school said tell everybody his mom would not let him get away with anything.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t remember a day my kids ever missed school. When you start to do something, you see it through. You donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t miss because you do not feel like it. He has taken that philosophy with him and he thanks us for that now because it helped prepare him for anything he undertakes whether it is class or football.Ã¢â‚¬Â
She followed through on that commitment herself last year when she had one son, Brian, starting at receiver for Ohio State and another son, Mike, starting at quarterback for Kentucky. That meant driving a lot of miles and trying to find ways to see both play as many times as possible.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“My commitment to my children is to be there. When you do that, they know you care. Not in antics or action, but you see them turn to the stands to look for us. They look to see we are there and we wanted to be there for them.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The UK junior says he tries to find her always during the pregame Cat Walk and then to spot her in the stands.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“After the game I definitely try to find her and give her a wave or something. She is usually in the same spot and I know I better look,Ã¢â‚¬Â Mike Hartline said.
SheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s excited about the upcoming season and anticipates her son and Kentucky both having an even better season.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“You always want your son to do well and you want the team to do well and do better than last year. I guess there is some apprehension, but you do not let yourself think about it. You want to keep improving and do the best you can do every play and game. That is our philosophy. If somebody messes up, we do not say just try better. There is no OK. You messed up. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s how we raised him to take responsibility when he does mess up,Ã¢â‚¬Â she said.
She did have to caution him last year that maybe he shouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be quite so honest, though, after he lost his starting job and was brutally honest about what he thought happened.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Michael, whatever he is thinking, he will tell you. He is honest almost to a fault. He has learned he has to watch what you say and how you say things to people,Ã¢â‚¬Â she said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“But heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll never change a lot because we raised him to be honest. So if he says something wrong, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s probably because of something I taught him.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Mike Hartline understands it is hard to be a quarterbackÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s mother because of the pressure on the position.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“She is not worried about injury or playing time. She always worries about criticism and what is the best for me and if I am doing well. She understands people get hurt and that happens. She has worked in a hospital her whole life. She just wants to make sure I am taking care of myself and I am doing the right things all the time,Ã¢â‚¬Â the UK quarterback said.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“She is always there to make sure I am getting enough to eat, getting enough sleep and taking care of what I need to. She is another voice that tries to stay positive, too.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Laurie Hartline knows UK has two talented freshmen quarterbacks in Morgan Newton and Ryan Mossakowski. She knows backup Will Fidler has improved. She knows versatile Randall Cobb played well when he took snaps last year.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“That is what makes me more anxious with Michael than Brian. There are only a few quarterbacks on the team, but only one plays. You haveÃ‚Â six or seven receivers that play. For a quarterback, there is not a lot of room for error,Ã¢â‚¬Â she said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“You just put your faith in your son and hopefully raise him right to behave himself, speak well, be team player and play the best he can every play.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Sometimes she lets her pride in what her youngest son has accomplished show a little too much.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I am very proud of him and all he has done. Sometimes I go on and on and then I think boastfulness is not a good thing. I do not want to talk too much and I have to back off what I am saying. But I am very proud of him. I am proud of the person he has turned out to be,Ã¢â‚¬Â she said.
The player is equally proud of his parents.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I am pretty fortunate. They (his parents) just want to make sure I get the best experience that a football player here at Kentucky can get. If I do that, then they are happy,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.