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By LARRY VAUGHT
LEXINGTON Ã¢â‚¬â€ How does a quarterback involved in a three-way battle to be the starter show coaches in two weeks of preseason practice that he deserves to be No. 1?
Ã¢â‚¬Å“That is a good question. I mean it is two weeks to display you are the best player to lead the offense,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Kentucky sophomore Morgan Newton, who made eight starts last year. Ã¢â‚¬Å“That is something we are all working on and trying to gain as much edge as we can.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I really donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know what to say because I am not a coach. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know how they figure out who is going to play. I think we are all pretty good in our own way. I expect to compete every day and show I worked hard this summer and I think it will all work out for the best.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Newton is competing with senior Mike Hartline, who made five of his 21 career starts last year before injuring his knee, and redshirt freshman Ryan Mossakowski.
Hartline says it may sound bland, but consistency is the way to win the starting job.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“You have to play like a fifth-year quarterback. You have to make all the throws you need to make. Easy. Hard. You have to make them all,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said Friday during UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Media Day to start preseason camp. Ã¢â‚¬Å“You donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have to complete every pass in practice, but if the receiver is open and you throw it, you have to hit him. You have to do that.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“There is nothing more frustrating than being a fifth-year senior quarterback and not making a throw I should make 100 percent of the time. You know you can do that. You just have to be calm and throw it. That is your job. After five years of doing that, it becomes easy.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“But you have to be consistent. You just have to give them no room to say there is no reason this guy should not be starting with the way he commands the huddle, talks to the guys, prepares himself with film and the way he practices that he shouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be the guy playing.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Mossakowski, who threw for 7,433 yards and 51 touchdowns in Texas during his prep career, says becoming the starter likely will be more mental than physical.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“You go out and have to know the offense. Whenever coach gives you a play, you go manage each and every single play,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“There are a lot of doÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s and donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ts for every play. If you can go be a leader, that is a big part of it, too. If you can do those two things and think and throw and complete all the easy and long passes and do what you do, then you will get the job.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think the mental part is you think while you throw. You donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t throw while you think. Thinking while you throw is essential and so is thinking what play to run or what look you get at the line. I think the mental aspect is very, very big.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Hartline came out of spring practice No. 1, but new head coach Joker Phillips said Friday while Hartline would be the first quarterback to get reps in practice, there is no quarterback favorite.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The coaches arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t going to just give anyone a position regardless of who you are on the team,Ã¢â‚¬Â Hartline said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“If you donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t come out and practice and play hard, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re not going to have that spot.Ã¢â‚¬Â