Kentucky senior QB Lorenzen ready to take on Hoosiers for 4th time
He's been called the 'Round-Mound of Touchdown.' He's been called 'mobile, agile, hostile and hungry.' He's senior Jared Lorenzen. He weighs 260 pounds. And he's the quarterback of the Kentucky Wildcats who are preparing to face IU this Saturday.
Lorenzen said his favorite nickname is more celebrity-like.
"I like J-Lo," Lorenzen said. "I say that it's my favorite because maybe the real J-Lo will want to meet me."
Ever since Lorenzen was named starting quarterback the summer before his freshman season, the main discussion about the Ft. Thomas, Ky. native has been his weight. But after three years of jokes and jibes, Lorenzen has silenced most of his doubters with a rocket arm and surprised them with mobility that makes him one of the hardest signal callers to sack.
Lorenzen said all of the insults don't bother him anymore.
"When I was younger, I'd read the newspaper and I'd be concerned," Lorenzen said. "Now I don't worry about it. I just think it's funny, and I'm the first person to crack jokes about myself."
IU junior Herana-Daze Jones doesn't make jokes about Lorenzen. Jones, who ranks fourth on the team in tackles from his safety position, has the responsibility of leading a very young secondary against Lorenzen and his favorite receiver, senior Derek Abney.
Jones said that Lorenzen is in better condition in '03 than he was in '02 when Kentucky defeated IU 27-17.
"He's a lot smarter with his throws," Jones said. "He's a lot stronger and he's in better condition. Last year he'd get tired in the fourth quarter."
When Kentucky brought in coach Rich Brooks in the off-season, conditioning became a huge priority. And Lorenzen has benefited from the work.
He said that the team runs every day after practice and hit more in '03.
"Last year I was getting to the fourth quarter and I'd be dead," Lorenzen said. "This year I'm getting to the fourth and I'm excited about it."
Opposing quarterbacks have reason to be excited when facing IU's pass defense. The Hoosiers are surrendering 263.7 yards per game through the air and have given up six touchdown passes.
Lorenzen said he isn't licking his chops to face IU's secondary that at some times has three true freshmen on the field in Will Meyers, Ryan Skelton and Cedric Henry.
"If they're true freshmen they're starting for a reason," Lorenzen said. "Occasionally they're out of place but very rarely. I might test them a few times."
IU Coach Gerry DiNardo didn't expect this many freshmen to be playing this early. And DiNardo said Lorenzen has improved for his fourth season starting.
"He's harder to bring down if you can believe it," DiNardo said. "He has always been a hard guy to tackle. I say that's the biggest difference. He has a terrific arm, been a terrific competitor and he has always been a good quarterback. He's bigger than the guys who are trying to bring him down."
Lorenzen, who weighed 13 pounds, three ounces at birth, is used to the comments about him being bigger than the defensive players. And "J-Lo" doesn't care.
"I'm sure (opposing coaches) laugh," Lorenzen said. "I hope they are. If they're focusing on my weight, they're not focusing on our offense."
And Lorenzen, who's 2-1 against Indiana, said football fans should get ready for a show Saturday.
"This rivalry is a dog fight," Lorenzen said. "I love the intensity."
-Contact staff writer John Rodgers at email@example.com.
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