By LARRY VAUGHT
How good was Lynn Bowden’s season for Kentucky?
That’s what I asked three former all-SEC players at Kentucky — tight end Jacob Tamme, defensive back Van Hiles and receiver Derek Abney.
“It is really hard to say just how good his season has been because it’s been such an abnormal season for him individually. When you think about quarterback, running back, wide receiver … there have been better seasons at each position but other than Randall Cobb for a year or two, there may not have been anyone mean more to a team than Lynn means to this team,” Tamme, a nine-year NFL veteran, said.
“Obviously he’s a tremendous athlete but I’d say the thing that has impressed me the most about him, and maybe something we would not have been able to fully see without him taking on a role like this, has been his toughness. His toughness and grit have been on full display since becoming our full time quarterback.”
Hiles says what Bowden has done ranks with the individual seasons running back Moe Williams and quarterbacks Tim Couch, Andre Woodson and Stephen Johnson had.
“I’m partial to Moe because he carried that offense that year (when he ran for a school record 1,600 yards in 1995). He had three or four games with 200 yards rushing,” Hiles said. “This is a close second, though.”
Hiles was impressed with Bowden’s ability to learn from his mistakes.
“He wasn’t patient in the pocket earlier in the season,” Hiles said. “He wasn’t patient with the quarterback draw and allowing the defensive line to establish rush lanes and allowing the guards time to enter the hole, not pitching the ball to the pitch man, etc. In every instance he’s improved on those the next game. Preparation and committing to the process during practice is probably the reason for his success.”
Bowden ended his regular season with a record-setting 284-yard, four-touchdown performance against Louisville.
“It’s hard to argue Lynn Bowden not being in the top-10 of UK football athletes,” Abney said. “(Offensive line coach) John Schlarman and his guys up front have been amazing but to be the receiver Lynn is and to transition so successfully to quarterback in the SEC is a testament to the athlete Lynn is.
“His speed, strength, durability, competitiveness and breadth of abilities is what makes Lynn so exceptional. He certainly has that special ability to bring those around him up, which is a quality only found in the elite ones.”
Abney says Bowden’s “competitive fire” separates him from most players.
“Although he has it all, the great ones refuse to be denied, putting everything on their shoulders and succeeding more often than not,” Abney said.