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From the Pressbox: Lorenzen helping Towles prepare to compete at UK

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Bill Ransdell, Pookie Jones, Tim Couch, Dusty Bonner, Andre' Woodson, Randall Cobb and Mike Hartline have all quarterbacked Kentucky to winning seasons and/or bowl games in the last 30 years but none of them started in their very first game as a Wildcat. But Jared Lorenzen did - as a redshirt freshman at Louisville in 2000.

Patrick Towles would like to top that feat by doing it as a true freshman. He talked about his plan to prepare himself for the starting job last week at his national signing day news conference. It includes coming to UK during spring break to watch some practice sessions.  

It also will include working with Lorenzen, who was his quarterback coach at Fort Thomas Highlands High School.

"I think he can compete," Lorenzen said last week on "The Leach Report" radio show. "I'm going to do everything I can to have him as ready as he possibly can be. If I had my perfect world, he would redshirt and learn for a year, just because that's the easiest and best way to do it. But I want to make sure he's 100 percent ready (to compete) when he steps on campus."

Lorenzen redshirted and got to watch Dusty Bonner lead the Wildcats to a surprising Music City Bowl bid in 1999. He knows his job would have been much harder than it was the next year without that experience.

"I can't imagine (how hard it would have been)," he said. "Kentucky high school football has come a long way but it's not where it needs to be compared to Georgia, Florida, all of those places. The speed of the game is so much faster. There's not a bigger jump you'll ever make than high school to college. I'll have him ready but if I had my way, he'd sit out and learn the system and learn the game."

Lorenzen says they will work on "everything it takes to be a quarterback, so that when you set foot on campus, you're ready to go" and that will include plenty of tutelage on taking snaps from under center, something Towles did not have to do in the Highlands' system.

"We're going to find ourselves a center and we'll take 200 or 300 snaps a day if that's what it takes," Lorenzen said. "We've got to work on explosiveness and getting away from the line of scrimmage, but he's smart and he'll pick it up. You tell him once and that's it. He proved that this year, throwing just one interception."

Towles is 6-foot-4, 230 pounds and like Lorenzen, possesses a cannon for an arm.  Is it stronger than Lorenzen's?

"It's right there," Lorenzen said. "I don't know if he has velocity coming off ( his hand) but he can throw it as far (as I did) if he wants to."

Joker Phillips called Towles "the face" of this latest recruiting class and noted to reporters that Towles' letter-of-intent was the first one to arrive on signing day.

"That's Pat," said Lorenzen. "That's what it takes to be a quarterback."

He says leadership comes naturally to Towles.

"That may be because he was thrown into it as a sophomore," Lorenzen said. "The more you're in that situation, the easier it becomes. To Pat, it's just there. He's one of those guys that all of the guys in the locker room just gravitate to."

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