Brendon Kay has already earned a bachelor's degree in health education and is working toward a master's degree in business education. But right now, the Bearcat quarterback is also studying a foreign language - as in the offense of new head coach Tommy Tuberville.
"We're teaching them a different language on offense
and defense and when you do that, you have to start from ground zero and work
up," said Tuberville.
"You've got to live it," Kay told me. "You've got to be in the office and the film room. Before you go to bed, you've got to study and get this terminology down because you're learning a new language."
But the changes on offense aren't strictly limited to terminology.
"The plays are a little bit different too," said offensive coordinator Eddie Gran. "We're more of a pro-style, multiple set - but there is a lot of carryover. They have to learn the terminology and understand where we're coming from and where we're trying to go offensively."
"We've kept as much in common with the past offense as we could, but obviously there are a lot of different things," said Tuberville. "So when you change just one or two things it throws everything into a spin."
Tuberville said he was pleased with how the offense functioned at UC's first spring practice on Friday, and added that it is helpful to have experienced quarterbacks in Kay and Munchie Legaux.
"You couldn't ask for two better guys," said Tuberville. "They come to my office and talk, and they ask about the quarterbacks that I've coached before and what they can learn from their experiences.
"I've had fun talking to both of them about life,
and football, and leadership, and little things that can help them be better."
After starting the final five games last season and passing for 332 yards and 4 touchdowns to earn MVP honors in the Belk Bowl victory over Duke, Kay is the odd-on favorite to be the starting quarterback next season, although Legaux will be given the opportunity to win his old job back.
"It feels good, but at the same time, I have to go out and compete every day," said Kay. "The big thing about competition is that it keeps you on your toes. You have to stay ready and can never relax. That's going to help me and Munchie get better."
Kay didn't know that he would be on the team this year until December 17th when he was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA after suffering multiple injuries that limited his participation in 2008 and 2011.
"I got the news during our bowl prep," said Kay. I talked to (trainer) Bob Mangine beforehand and he was pretty sure that I would get it. Then (compliance director) Maggie McKinley came down and gave me the news. I gave her a big hug, celebrated a little bit, and then told my family. Everything happens for a reason, and God has a plan for everything."
"He's a sixth-year senior and he's a guy that has all of the leadership qualities," said Gran. "I'm excited about how he comes in and wants to learn. When we first started with him we had to say, 'Hold on, hold on...we still have to install.' I'm excited about it because the guys at that position have bought in to what we're trying to do."
It's only a matter of time before they're speaking the same language.
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