Uk football notebook

Woodson taking UFL detour

Herald-Leader Staff WriterJune 20, 2010 

  • Non-conference preview: Louisville

    Here's the first in a series evaluating UK's four non-conference opponents in 2010. First on the slate is Louisville, Kentucky's season-opening opponent on Sept. 4.

    Record last year: 4-8

    Starters returning: 12 (eight offense, four defense)

    Players to watch: RB Victor Anderson, WR Doug Beaumont, TE Cameron Graham, CB Johnny Patrick, LB Brandon Heath

    Story lines: All eyes will be on first-year coach Charlie Strong as he tries to jump-start a Cardinals program that had flat-lined under Steve Kragthorpe. Some pieces are in place. U of L has some talent at the skill positions, led by veterans Anderson and Beaumont, and the offensive line is experienced with four starters returning. But there are also some major questions. First and foremost, Strong must find a quarterback. Senior Adam Froman is the front-runner. Strong comes to Louisville with one of the best defensive reputations in the business following his stint at Florida, but he's got his work cut out for him early on. U of L lost its top four tacklers from a year ago and is extremely thin up front.

    Early forecast: Cardinals fans will have to be patient as Strong rebuilds the talent base, but UK certainly can't take this game for granted. The Cards will be at home, the fan base will be re-energized with Strong at the helm, and this series has always been known for the unpredictable.

    Next week: Western Kentucky

    Chip Cosby

Andre Woodson still hasn't given up on his dream of being a starting quarterback in the NFL. But he's certainly taking a different road than he originally anticipated after leaving the University of Kentucky in 2007.

Woodson recently participated in a mini-camp for the Hartford Colonials of the United Football League. He hopes that will lead to a call from an NFL team seeking a quarterback.

Shortly after being released from the Washington Redskins' practice squad, Woodson was contacted earlier this year by Chris Palmer, his former quarterbacks coach with the New York Giants who's now the head coach of the Colonials.

"Coach Palmer told me that if nothing worked out he wanted me to come play for him," Woodson said. "He's running the same offense he ran in New York, and I know that offense very well."

It wasn't exactly the path Woodson envisioned when he was receiving Heisman Trophy consideration and was named a first-team All-American by ESPN.com going into his senior season.

"It's been a tough road for me," Woodson admitted. "I thought I'd be going in the top 15 of the first round at one point, and when the draft came, I was sure I'd go no later than the third round."

An ill-fated trip to the Senior Bowl that raised questions about Woodson's throwing motion and mechanics hurt his stock more than he even realized, and he ended up dropping all the way to the sixth round, where the Giants picked him up.

But the Giants situation was less than ideal. Eli Manning was firmly entrenched as the starter, and the team had invested money in former No. 1 pick David Carr. Another veteran, Anthony Wright, was also in camp, as was Woodson's former UK teammate Jared Lorenzen.

"Everybody was telling me that my mechanics weren't great and I was basically starting from scratch," Woodson said. "In the NFL, they don't really want to deal with players they have to start from scratch. The NFL is such a business. When teams have millions invested in one guy, he's allowed so many mistakes. But a player who gets drafted in the sixth round and is barely making anything, if he makes one mistake, the mindset is, we're not paying him that much so we can move on. It's not fair, but that's business. It took me awhile to understand that."

Woodson was eventually cut from the Giants after spending a year on the practice squad. He was then picked up by the Redskins and spent a couple of months on their practice squad, but Woodson wasn't a good fit for then-coach Jim Zorn's West Coast offense and was ultimately released.

Still, Woodson insists his confidence hasn't been shaken. He noted that he won't turn 26 until next April and that an off-season working with Palmer and former Louisville quarterback Dave Ragone, the quarterbacks/wide receivers coach at Hartford, has done wonders for his mechanics.

"The quarterback position is one position where there's not really a time frame," he said. "Look at guys like Kurt Warner. I'm just waiting for that one opportunity, a real opportunity, to showcase that I can play. I don't feel like I've really had that yet. I've cleaned up my throwing motion and I'm still very confident in myself and the way I practice. Hartford will give me an opportunity to showcase myself on film, and hopefully I can get another shot at the NFL."

Woodson will still have to compete for a job in Hartford. Josh McCown, who has 31 career NFL starts, is on the roster as are former prep All-American and LSU quarterback Ryan Perrilloux and former UK commitment and University of Pittsburgh starter Bill Stull. Woodson will report back to Hartford on Aug. 16.

If Woodson wins the job, he would get decent visibility in the UFL, which will be going into its second season this fall. The UFL features several former NFL players and coaches, including Dennis Green, Daunte Culpepper, Ahman Green and Jim Fassel.

Lindley shines for Eagles

Media reports out of Philadelphia indicate that former UK cornerback Trevard Lindley was a standout during the Eagles' organized team activities that concluded last week. Lindley was impressive enough that he could push for a starting job by the fall. Lindley has moved from the left cornerback spot he played at Kentucky to right cornerback, but could push veteran Ellis Hobbs for the right to start opposite Asante Samuel. Hobbs is coming off back surgery and was limited during off-season training activities.

ESPN's Low high on Cobb

UK receiver/all-purpose player Randall Cobb was named the No. 14 overall player in the Southeastern Conference by ESPN.com's Chris Low. Low will continue to update the list daily throughout June.

SEC Media Days

Junior wide receiver Randall Cobb, senior tailback Derrick Locke, and senior defensive end DeQuin Evans will accompany Kentucky Coach Joker Phillips to Southeastern Conference Media Days in Hoover, Ala., which will be held at the Wynfrey Hotel from July 21-23. UK will appear on Wednesday, July 21.

Chip Cosby covers UK football for the Herald-Leader. This article includes his opinions and observations. He can be reached by e-mail at ccosby@herald-leader.com.

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