The same applies to the young quarterbacks, who during the regular season, get limited reps running the teams offense. They will now get the extra reps. “We’re back to practicing everybody instead just the first and second teams,” Brooks said.
Will Fidler is the young quarterback who came in early, the last spring semester, after graduating from high school early. He has a spring practice, a fall practice, and now what amounts to another spring practice of practice experience to his resume.
Did Fidler expect to be in this situation this soon after arriving at UK, that being going to a bowl? “I knew a lot of good things were going on in the program, but I didn’t expect it this soon,” Fidler said. “I’m not really surprised because I know we worked hard enough for it and we probably surprised a few people out there.”
What can he get from the extra practice? “I’m here to compete, hopefully for a backup role next year,” Fidler said. I didn’t come here to be a third string quarterback. I’m going to work my butt off to get bigger and stronger and prepare myself for the mission.”
Michael Hartline said he definitely expected this to happen at this time because they had been preparing for this all season. The youthful enthusiasm comes through loud and clear from both Fidler and Hartline. Hartline added, “This whole season, we have had really high expectations but I wouldn’t say I expected it now but I expected it the next couple of seasons with the improvement in Andre (Woodson) and the offense, we expect to compete for bigger bowls in the future. The offensive line has come along, too.”
What does Hartline bring to the table as his best quarterbacking asset? “I think I have the ability to pull the ball a run effectively. I’m no Curtis Pulley but I can make positive yards running if necessary. The coaches say I have a quick release on my passes.”
Both guys say they have made significant progress in their physical maturity. Hartline said he’s up over two hundred pounds now and hopes to get to around 225-pounds by next fall.