Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Michael Hartline Rewind

The 2006 Recruiting Class saw several Wildcats make an impact on the team. Several of the players for this class have nothing to be ashamed about as college athletes while others were flat out real players. As always, there were players which for whatever reasons never really panned out and are no longer involved as players and have moved on with life.

Without a doubt, the most controversial recruit from the 2006 class is Mike Hartline. Mike came in as the #31 QB for the class and was thrust into a position of sink or swim at the beginning of the 2008 season (No, it is not anyone's fault, it is just the way that things worked out in the program). Two weeks, before the 2008 season began, Curtis Pulley was thrown off of the team and Michael was named as the starter for UK. The Cats were on a downswing from the successful 2007 season and had marginal talent returning in 2008 at several key positions (especially in the receiving corps).

The downswing experienced by the team was due to the previous probation, the lack talent due to the scholarship restrictions and the overall talent level of the team which is just now beginning to demonstrate that football can succeed in the Bluegrass State.

Much has been laid at Mike's feet for the offensive not being able to stretch the field during his run as a UK Quarterback, but looking back, let's take a look at some of the factors which abated the progress of Mike in the UK offense. For one, the TEs failed to produce in 2008 and then follow that up with an even more abysmal 2009. Secondly, D Lyons Jr. got hurt early in the season which was just about the time Mike was beginning to establish a comfort level in the offense (go back and look at the offense before the injury to Lyons and then after wards, there is a world of difference). In addition to the TEs failing to provide a meaningful threat in the offense and D Lyons getting hurt, Randall Cobb was starting at the other WR as a true freshman and no other player on the roster demonstrating that they had the ability to be an SEC football player which when looked at objectively, hardly spells the formula for success.

To make matters worse, Derrick Locke got suffered a major knee injury in mid-season in the Arkansas game. Basically, had this been the same old CATS as some fans espoused, they would have never finished above .500 nor even been invited to a bowl game, much less won a bowl game.

The 2009 season brought about a new hope in the program only to have Michael get hurt in the South Carolina game and remain sidelined the rest of the year. This in turn caused the rapid promotion of Morgan Newton to starting SEC QB when he may have in fact red-shirted.

Before, I get off of my high horse, let me say that history will be much kinder to M Hartline than we as fans are currently.

And, finally, as I wrote at this time last year, we have no need to boo the players regardless of who they are. If Joker says that Hartline is the starter (which I suspect that he will for the Louisville game) then we need to be excited about that. When we boo Mike, we set the team up for failure, yes the other players hear the boos as well, yet they know that they have to stand behind Mike because we either win or lose with him. By booing him, we cause dissention and distrust within the team, and that is never a good thing.

For now, it looks like the 2010 season will begin with Hartline as the starter, with the increase in talent and game experience, he is now set up for success as never before as the QB for this team.


1 comment:

  1. With Hartline as the starter, it's obvious the state of QB in Lex is very low. I'm 58 and have as much zip on the ball as Mike. Any decent DB can break on the quick route to the wide side of the field and go to the house. Heaven help us when he throws the lame duck deep. His arm showed NO improvement at the spring game.