So it looks like, according to Joker Phillips, that Mike Hartline has pulled ahead of Curtis Pulley in the race to be the guy that replaces André Woodson at the quarterback slot. From the article above, it is pretty clear that Hartline wants the job badly, and Pulley is thinking it's his. I suspect that will change a bit after this article, but we'll see.
So who should be the guy to lead the Wildcats' offense this coming season? Early on, like most people, I tended to default to Curtis Pulley because of his outstanding athleticism, but recent comments from Brooks (subscription required) have made me wonder if he is the right man for the job. Brooks has already called both quarterbacks, "... farther ahead than Andre' Woodson was the first year he was a full-time starter ...", and that certainly should excite Wildcat fans to some degree. But then again, when we recall the struggles of Woodson in his first few games as a starter, it could give us reason for concern.
What I like about Hartline is his apparent hunger for the job. In no way, and by no means is he going to let Curtis Pulley slide into the starting signal-caller spot without a fight. Hartline is determined to beat him out, and by the look of things, he is making some real progress toward that end. As usual, it can be a little difficult to tell whether or not the coaching staff is trying to motivate Pulley by their recent comments in the media, but it is my inclination to take them at their word.
Neither Pulley nor Hartline has served any significant time at quarterback, although Pulley has played in more games and shown his great running ability, although not so much of his passing side. Hartline, on the other hand, was well-regarded by scouts for his poise, leadership and accurate arm, and although he doesn't have the speed or athleticism of Pulley (4.5 second 40 yard dash vs. Harline's 5.07), he is not athletically challenged by any means. Hartline was the best QB prospect out of the state of Ohio in 2006, and he is apparently showing the coaches at Kentucky why that was. His brother, Brian, is #1 on the depth chart at wide receiver for a pretty good football program nicknamed the Buckeyes, so this family has plenty of athleticism.
In the end, I think it depends upon how Pulley reacts to this latest round of comments by coaches in the media as to whether or not he is the starter come September. Both men seem to have the tools, and it isn't beyond the realm of possibility that both men will see time at quarterback every game, much like other teams have done. Brooks did say that Pulley could run some routes, but that he is a quarterback and will not be converted to a full time wideout. Losing the starting job to André Woodson had a huge emotional impact on Pulley in 2006, and it will be instructive to see if he revisits that if he doesn't respond and Hartline takes the job.
I think the 'Cats will be fine with either man at the helm. Pulley is more versitile, but Hartline is showing the kind of poise and leadership that every team needs at quarterback. Can Pulley respond? We'll see.
UPDATE 03:46 PM: Joker clarifies his earlier comments. I'd be willing to bet somebody got their panties all up in a bunch.