Backup QB battle "far from hopeless"

Backup QB battle "far from hopeless"

Kentucky quarterback coach Randy Sanders has no trouble remembering that redshirt freshmen quarterbacks Will Fidler and Mike Hartline are not in the same class as all-SEC performer Andre Woodson.

Kentucky quarterback coach Randy Sanders has no trouble remembering that redshirt freshmen quarterbacks Will Fidler and Mike Hartline are not in the same class as all-SEC performer Andre Woodson.

"When you stand and watch them, whether you are a coach or fan, it is obvious to see the difference. Andre is trying to master Trig right now, and we are still trying to get these guys to master Algebra I," Sanders said. "You have to put in perspective that way as a coach. I have Andre making checks and doing a few things I don't even want them thinking about or worrying about right now.

"I want them focusing on taking care of the football, managing the team, hitting guys when they are open. I want them getting us out of bad plays but not remembering all it takes to get us to the best plays. Andre is to a point mentally where it makes his job easier physically. These young guys are not close to being there yet."

Sanders says both freshmen quarterbacks, like other players, have strengths and weaknesses.

"One challenge, especially at quarterback, is to maximize your strengths and minimize your weaknesses. You minimize them by working to improve and not putting yourself in situations where weaknesses get exposed. A big part is physical, but a big part is also mental and keeping yourself out of those situations," Sanders said.

What does Fidler do best?

"One thing he does well is he competes. He really plays hard," Sanders said. "In our scrimmage (Saturday), he pulled the thing (football) down and got going north and south to make a few yards running. He is not going to excite the crowd at Commonwealth Stadium when he pulls it down and takes off running, yet he is able to make positive things happen when things are breaking down and he eliminates the negative. His legs are not going to be a great weapon to use, but it is a way to get him out of bad situations."

What about Hartline?

" He sees things really well. He is able to drop back, see what the defense is doing and get through his progressions pretty quickly. He is not a great runner, but he has the ability to run. He can also get the ball out of his hand pretty well," Sanders said.

So can Kentucky have an adequate backup for Woodson when the season opens in September?

"I certainly believe if they work like they should in the offseason and come back in August ready to go, we can get there. We are not there yet and we still have work to do, but the situation is far from hopeless," Sanders said.

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