Georgia braces for Kentucky's Hefty Lefty

Jared Lorenzen

Georgia players have had a few laughs this week at some of the nicknames assigned to Jared Lorenzen.

ATHENS, Ga. - Georgia players have had a few laughs this week at some of the nicknames assigned to Kentucky's 300-pound quarterback, Jared Lorenzen.

Hefty Lefty? That's Terrence Edwards' favorite.

Pillsbury Throw Boy? "I like that one,'' said David Pollack.

J-Load? "Yeah,'' said Pollack with a grin.

Round Mound of Touchdown? That drew a few snickers.

No Georgia player is laughing at Lorenzen the player or the task of containing the massive and  highly productive junior quarterback.

Two years ago as a freshman, Lorenzen passed for 528 yards - the most by any opposing quarterback in Georgia history - and two touchdowns in a 34-30 loss to the Bulldogs. Last year, Lorenzen threw for 377 yards and three touchdowns in a 43-29 loss in Athens.

This year, Lorenzen and the Kentucky offense has been doing more than putting up big numbers. The Wildcats (5-2 overall, 1-2 Southeastern Conference) are winning and stand as a dangerous test for No. 5 Georgia (7-0 overall, 4-0 SEC) in Saturday's 3:30 p.m. game.

Instead of directing the one-dimensional, pass-happy attack of the Hal Mumme era, Lorenzen now leads a balanced offense that also features the SEC's leading rusher, Artose Pinner.

Kentucky leads the SEC in scoring with its average of 35 points per game.

Lorenzen ranks 13th in the nation in passing efficiency, as he leads the conference with 17 touchdown passes while throwing only three interceptions.

Georgia counters with a defense that ranks 10th in the nation in points allowed and 18th in yards allowed. Pollack leads the league with eight sacks, but past performance against other teams means little when preparing for Lorenzen.

"I bounced off him like a ping-pong ball (last season),'' Pollack said. "I came flying in there and hit him. I was full speed and he was just standing there.''

Added Pollack: "He just kind of stumbles back a little bit but doesn't go down. It seems like nothing bothers him at all.''

Georgia coach Mark Richt says he remembers hoping last year that Kentucky would start Shane Boyd instead of Lorenzen at quarterback. Instead, Lorenzen reclaimed his starting job and gave Georgia a major scare.

"The shots that he takes  would bring most quarterbacks down,'' Richt said.

Added Richt: "I thought he was a great player last year who could single-handedly change the game.''

Lorenzen is more than just a big quarterback. He also is creative and surprisingly quick.

Two years ago in Lexington, when in the grasp of Georgia defensive lineman Josh Mallard, the left-handed Lorenzen switched the ball to his right hand and then flipped the ball over his head for an improbable completion.

"He just has a knack for getting rid of the ball,'' Richt said. "Right when you think you've got him, he does something big like throw it away or throw it to a back downfield.  It is going to take a bunch of guys to bring him down.''

Said Georgia defensive end Shedrick Wynn: "He can make good things happen out of bad situations.''

Despite his success, Lorenzen's weight has been a constant issue in Coach Guy Morriss' two years in Lexington.

"The first year we got him under 270 and it helped his quickness,'' Morriss said Wednesday. "This last year it has been a nightmare to get him down so we threw out the scales and said 'Let's get him in the  best possible condition.''

Morriss said the 6-foot-4 Lorenzen weighs "within four pounds, eight way'' of 300.

"I think the thing that makes it hard to bring him down is that he's a big guy to start with,'' Morriss said. "It's hard to get your arms around a big, 300-pound quarterback. He's also not a soft guy. He works hard in the weight room. He's a big old kid and he's a good athlete as well.''

Georgia defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder has painful memories of Kentucky surprising him last year by having Lorenzen run the sprint option for the first time. In addition to passing for 377 yards, Lorenzen led the Wildcats with 61 yards rushing and a score.

Watching Lorenzen with the ball makes Edwards, Georgia's leading receiver, glad he plays offense.

"I don't know how you tackle him,'' Edwards said. "Hit him high? Hit him low? Guys like Charles Grant and David Pollack have had him in their grasp and can't take him down. I'm glad I'm not doing that.''

Kentucky led Georgia 22-7 midway through the second period and 29-22 midway through the third quarter last year before Georgia scored the last three touchdowns.

The task of preparing for Lorenzen has been a humbling experience for the defense.

"I think the guys are concerned about Lorenzen, but they're looking forward to the challenge,'' VanGorder said.

"They know they did a poor job a year ago. He's tough to tackle and we have to do a better job of swarming and getting more bodies around the quarterback.''

Added Wynn: "Trying to sack a 300-pound quarterback will be a tough task. It also will be a lot of fun.''

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