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By LARRY VAUGHT
Perhaps it would have been better if Morgan Newton had not used Twitter to publicly question where all his teammates really wanted to get better during summer workouts. Then again, if a quarterback is truly going to lead a team, he canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be afraid to voice opinions or challenge teammates.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Sometimes you get frustrated. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s all it was for a minute or two. Probably wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t the best way to put my frustration out there, but guys responded and it worked,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Newton about his tweet that drew statewide attention.
He was careful not to name specific players.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Guys are on Twitter and you try to say some things. You donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t throw anybody under the bus. That is not what IÃ¢â‚¬Ë†was trying to do. We definitely addressed it as a team. Having guys out here is important and have to work hard to be the team we want to be,Ã¢â‚¬Â Newton said.
Some players apparently indicated they had missed a summer workout due to a scheduling conflict, an excuse Newton didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t accept and one IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m guessing head coach Joker Phillips would not, either.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know about scheduling conflict. Everybody is on scholarship, so you get paid to play football. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know what the scheduling conflict could really be,Ã¢â‚¬Â Newton said.
If he could do it over, he might not tweet his feelings but his message would have been the same.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the role I feel leaders need to take. Having guys out here and making sure guys are accountable for being out here. The coaches canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be around. They canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t do that part in the summer. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s our job to have everybody here,Ã¢â‚¬Â Newton said.
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s also his job to form a chemistry with his receivers as he prepares to go into a season for the first time as UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s No. 1 quarterback. He started eight games as a freshman in 2009 going 5-3 after Mike Hartline was hurt, but he was HartlineÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s backup last season until he got a bowl game start when Hartline was suspended. Ã¢â‚¬Ë†Now heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s No. 1 with true freshman Maxwell Smith expected to be his backup.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“You can never really have enough chemistry and thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s why we are out here always working on our timing. It is as important as anything we do,Ã¢â‚¬Â Newton said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“What is really important is when you are out here working out and practicing and stuff is to do things the right way and try to make things as realistic as possible.Ã¢â‚¬Â
He has been pleased with his incoming freshmen teammates.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It has been pretty exciting. There are a lot of guys in this recruiting class that just came in that can really go and really play,Ã¢â‚¬Â Newton said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“But everybody has just been out here working hard. We have new guys we are incorporating into our 7-on-7 and drill work. We are kind of trying to teach them. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s nothing like camp. Once camp comes around, it doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t matter how good of shape you are in because camp will be brutal regardless. We are just trying to speed the process along with some of the young guys and see who can help when we start.Ã¢â‚¬Â