Competition for Kentucky's next QB takes back seat after arrests
Rich Brooks has spent the last eight months deflecting countless questions about who will replace Andre Woodson at quarterback for Kentucky this season.
A week before camp begins, figuring out who will be under center when the Wildcats face Louisville on Aug. 31 is the least of the Kentucky coach's problems.
The arrests of quarterbacks Curtis Pulley and Will Fidler in separate incidents last week have taken the focus off what could have been a heated competition with Mike Hartline to fill Woodson's shoes. Pulley was arrested on traffic violations July 22, while Fidler was charged with disorderly conduct in Lexington on Friday.
Brooks had no comment on the arrests, and school spokesman Tony Neely said both matters will likely be handled internally, though the arrests almost certainly hinder both players' chances of winning the starting job over Hartline.
Last week's arrest was Pulley's second run-in with police in as many months. He was cited for marijuana possession outside a Louisville bar June 12 and was placed in a diversion program. That case is set for review Sept. 12.
The legal problems are a major step back for Pulley, who has spent three years trying to fulfill the promise he showed during a spectacular high school career at Hopkinsville, where he threw for 62 touchdowns.
Pulley played at both wide receiver and quarterback for the Wildcats in 2005 and 2006 before leaving school briefly after Woodson took a firm hold of the starting job. He returned last fall and was redshirted, but played well enough in practice to be named the Most Valuable Offensive Player on the scout team.
Pulley played well during spring drills and was a star during the Blue-White game, completing 12-of-26 passes for 134 yards with a touchdown and an interception and added 82 yards on the ground, including the game-winning 17-yard touchdown in the final minutes.
Brooks was quick to praise both Hartline and Pulley during last week's Governor's Cup luncheon, saying both players would alternate snaps with the first team and that he would wait as long as necessary before picking a starter.
"What they do well is going to determine who is going to start, but also the one that has less negative plays is probably making a major step forward," Brooks said.
Brooks didn't rule out using Fidler either. The sophomore is recovering from a shoulder injury but impressed Brooks during the spring.
That status could be in jeopardy after Fidler, a sophomore, was arrested after getting into a fight outside of a downtown restaurant. Fidler's "actions served no legitimate purpose and caused undo annoyance and alarm to business patrons," according to the police report.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press