LEXINGTON, Ky. – Having returned from an out-of-state trip, Kentucky Coach Rich Brooks held a news conference on Thursday to address the situation with quarterbacks Curtis Pulley and Will Fidler, who have been involved with legal issues recently.
Here are excerpts from the news conference, held at Fasig-Tipton before Brooks spoke to the Lexington Rotary Club:
Opening statement …
“First, I want to address Will Fidler’s situation. Will will be disciplined in-house, no suspension or loss of playing time. Will has been an outstanding young man and the circumstances were a little ‘iffy’ if you will. He shouldn’t have been in the situation, but it wasn’t something that he started. The situation with Curtis; found out last week, on Friday actually, the day of (SEC) Media Day. There will be in-house discipline as well as loss of playing time. That will be determined sometime within the next two to three weeks, but at this time I’m not ready to make that decision. Obviously Mike Hartline goes into fall camp now with the lead over Curtis Pulley. But that decision on who will start will be on the field, not off the field. We’ll go forward with it, dispense the discipline as I see fit at the proper time.”
On the possibility that Pulley might miss the opening game …
“That means that he could miss games, or a game, or parts of games. I’m not ruling that out. He’s lost a little ground. He doesn’t go in (to preseason practice) flat dead even (with Hartline). He’s got some ground to make up with his teammates and his coaches.”
On not finding out Pulley’s situation from the player himself…
“It’s always disappointing. That’s one of the things - I knew about Will Fidler the very morning after it happened. And that’s what my players are informed to do rather than have me find out from other sources, and that’s part of the process we’ll be working through in the next two to three weeks.”
On the amount of leeway a player has with disciplinary issues …
“It’s kind of like if you’ve got money in the bank you can withdraw only so much. If you overdraw you’ve got a real problem. We run our program that way, our federal government doesn’t (laughter from media), but we do.”
If having issues with a quarterback makes the situation more complicated …
“It doesn’t make it more complicated but you expect that part of the deal about being a quarterback is obviously the visibility, the accountability, the publicity and you have to understand that you are a little bit different animal than the left tackle or the linebacker or the safety. All of those people are as accountable as anybody else, but the quarterback really is held at a different standard because he is the guy that you look forward to on the field for outstanding leadership. So these are things that have been addressed and will be readdressed not only with our quarterbacks but with the entire team.”
More on disciplinary issues with a quarterback …
“I’ve had other quarterbacks that struggled academically that showed great poise and leadership on the field. I’ve had a few that have had minor problems off the field. You know, we’re talking about young men here. I do want to say this, that this team has been void of this kind of problems, and I’m very, very proud of that and want to make sure that we keep a better image than what these two incidents bring to us. For the most part we’ve been able to do that over the several years, so I’m looking forward to getting back to a quieter time on these kind of issues.”
More on Fidler’s situation …
“Will … yes he’s upset, and he’s embarrassed, just (an) unfortunate situation, but we’ll move forward.
“Let’s say this, there were six people involved in the incident, he and a friend that he was trying to warn that these guys were going to jump him. Two of them got arrested, one of the other four and him (Will), not his friend. It’s kind of a bad deal, he did get jumped, yes, (but) he did not start this incident. He was trying to be a mediator.”
Do you feel a need to readdress the situation about players going out and being careful? …
“I address it all the time. I address it almost on a daily basis and I will continue to do so. This will just be a great example to our players on the team that any transgression will be met with not very popular publicity.”
On the team’s good record with off-the-field behavior …
“Well, I was saying (about that) a couple of weeks ago, knock on wood, (then) the wood turned real hard because all of a sudden we had a couple. We’ll deal with it and move forward and do the appropriate thing.
“I think they’ve been pretty cognizant of what goes on, on and off the field. Doesn’t mean young people aren’t going to do something on occasion that they shouldn’t do. And that’s all part of the growing up process.”
On what Mike Hartline needs to do …
“He has to do what he had to do before all this happened. He has to go on the practice field and make plays. Not make bad plays, and make good plays, and that’s exactly what all the people have to do.”
Media Advisory, Player Availability on Reporting Day: The players officially report for the 2008 season on Monday, Aug. 4, at the Nutter Training Center. Offensive players have their first meeting at 3 p.m. and defensive players meet at 3:45 p.m.
Interviews will be conducted in the normal interview area at the practice field beginning at 2 p.m. As usual on this day, media should be flexible with requests, as some players come in early and others arrive just before reporting time. Video and still cameras desiring to get shots of players being fitted for equipment must be escorted by a member of the media relations staff.
Media Day on Tues. Aug. 5: The annual Kentucky Football Media Day is Tues. Aug. 5 at Commonwealth Stadium.
The Wildcat Den (Gate 3 of the stadium) will open at 9:15 a.m. Media guides, posters, schedule cards, a photo CD and media gift will be available. Media members should fill out request forms for player interviews.
Coach Rich Brooks will have a news conference from 10 a.m. to approximately 10:40 a.m. in the Den. During that time, players will be available on the field for special photographs as needed.
At 10:45, Coach Brooks will go to the field for the team photo. Following the team photo, players and assistant coaches will be on the field for interviews until noon.
Please note that on-the-field activities could be moved into the Nutter Field House in the event of bad weather. Media Day is not open to the public, so please do not publicize the timing schedule.
Kentucky Football Calendar:
Fri. Aug. 1 Kroger Kickoff Luncheon at Radisson Plaza Hotel, individual tickets are available for $45 by calling Leslie Bray at (859) 257-2589
Sat. Aug. 2 Women’s Football Clinic, SOLD OUT
Mon. Aug. 4 Players report
Tues. Aug. 5 UK Football Media Day, 10 a.m.
Sat. Aug. 9 Fan Day at Commonwealth Stadium; gates open at 6:30 p.m., photos/autographs at 7:30 p.m.