Brooks OK Playing Underdog to Cardinals Sunday

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Consecutive bowl victories and an experienced defense hasn't seemed to make believers out of the oddsmakers when it comes to Kentucky.

The Wildcats have been listed as an underdog for Sunday's annual Governor's Cup at Louisville, even though the Wildcats beat their rivals last season. Kentucky coach Rich Brooks said he understands the doubts, even though he feels he has the most talented team in his six seasons with the Wildcats.

"I've been the underdog most of my life, so it's a role that I'm very familiar with," Brooks said Monday before a university event in Louisville. "Do I like it? I'd rather be a clear-cut favorite."

Brooks pointed to Louisville's home record of 50-11 over the last decade and the potential of quarterback Hunter Cantwell as reasons the Wildcats are the underdog.

"You look at their home record, you look at Cantwell and his experience at the position, it's understandable," Brooks said. The Wildcats aren't nearly as experienced at quarterback, though Brooks said he's been encouraged by the play of sophomore Mike Hartline, who was named the starter after Curtis Pulley was dismissed earlier this month for a violation of team rules.

"Like all quarterbacks and all positions, he's done a few things I haven't liked during practices and scrimmages but he's also done some things I do like," Brooks said. "It's all about playing the game and see who is going to make those decisions when it counts."

Though Hartline will start, there's a chance freshman Randall Cobb could see spot duty at quarterback. Cobb played quarterback in high school and was planning on moving to receiver until Pulley's dismissal. He's been splitting time at both positions during camp.

"There's no plan," Brooks said. "He'll play at receiver and maybe punt returner. Whether he'll play at quarterback and how much he'll play, that remains to be seen. For being a freshman, I'd say he's picked (up the offense) very well, but that doesn't mean he has a total grasp of it."

Louisville coach Steve Kragthorpe said the Cardinals are practicing as if Cobb will split snaps with Hartline during the game.


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