Does anybody remember Andre Woodson’s senior season? It was an easily forgettable season, as the Cats only beat Top 10 Louisville and #1 LSU. But in all seriousness, Woodson was hearaled as a Heisman hopeful after the Louisville game that season, which was UK’s 3rd game of that season. He was going after the NCAA record for number of consecutive passes without an interception, and was thought of, at the time, as a 1st round NFL draft pick. Just a quick peak at how Woodson did in those first 3 games, all wins:
65-99, 743 yards, 9 TD, 0 INT (Eastern Kentucky, Kent State, Louisville)
Woodson’s Average Score in First 3 Games: 48-21 (27 points average)
Now, just for the poops and giggles, lets compare Mike Hartline’s stats this season, through 3 games:
54-75, 680 yards, 5 TD, 0 INT (Louisville, Western Kentucky, Akron)
Hartline’s Average Score in First 3 Games: 44-18 (26 points average)
Hmmmmm….so it looks like Mike Hartline is completing 72% of his passes, against the 66% of passes that Woodson completed. It looks like neither man threw an interception, not to mention Hartline has given up snaps to Randall Cobb. It looks like Woodson was only throwing for 22 more yards per game. It looks like Hartline has been leading Kentucky to similar point totals and margins of victory. And keep in mind that Hartline also had to play the Louisville game ON THE ROAD. Also keep in mind that Hartline has played 3 Division 1-A teams, while Woodson threw in a 1-AA team. Also keep in mind that Hartline has done all of this WITH HUGE DOUBTS FROM THE FANBASE.
Now, can somebody PLEASE explain to me why Hartline does not have 100% APPROVAL from this UK fanbase? I remember Andre Woodson struggling pretty damn hard in his sophomore AND early junior seasons, just like Hartline. I remember accuracy and mobility were issues for Woodson, just like Hartline. And I remember both guys have had to deal with competition during their time in Lexington. I also remember coming into their senior seasons, both guys had won a bowl game, AND Hartline had done something Woodson hadn’t, and that’s beat Louisville (twice).
Need more reason Hartline should have complete support from the UK nation? How about the fact that the kid blew out a knee last season and has come back better this season. How about the fact that this fanbase has done everything except throw tomatoes at him during games in the past, yet he has never said a negative word about the fans. How about the fact that when he had every reason to let Morgan Newton take over the program, he instead worked his ass off to become better and EARNED the starting position back and is now excelling.
I will say that I have had my critical words towards Hartline in the past, and in the summer felt that Newton was the better option. I WAS WRONG!! Mike Hartline was the best choice at quarterback for Kentucky this year, and he has EARNED the right to quarterback this team as it’s starter for the rest of the season. And it is my opinion that it is time for the entire fanbase to get over their bitterness over Hartline. This is a new year, and this guy is not only our best option at quarterback, but he is a damned good option that many teams don’t have.
Mike, you may not ever get the whole fanbase behind you, and that’s a shame, but you have the BTI seal of approval, and anybody who is a fan of this program and looks at it objectively can see that you have earned our respect. And I for one am excited what you might be able to do the rest of this season.