bah...not the slimmer chance i was lookin for...but ah well....
QB TRIMS DOWN TO BATTLE HOLCOMB By Mark Story HERALD-LEADER SPORTS COLUMNIST
The true beauty of competition: It yields wildly unexpected results.
Already, there have been surprising losers in Tim Couch's quarterback duel with Kelly Holcomb.
And the bakers of bread all around Northern Ohio.
"I've hired a nutritionist," Tim Couch said yesterday. "I've always been a guy who worked out hard, but I'd never worried much about my diet. Now, I am."
Out: Fried chicken.
Says Couch: "And, I had always been a big bread guy."
In: Lots of broiled fish and chicken.
And, though it's killing him, the pride of Leslie County is cutting way back on pizza.
"I miss pizza bad," Couch says with a rueful grin. "That's the one where I cheat a little bit. I can't go cold turkey on pizza."
Know this: A man willing to give up fried chicken and cut back on his pizza is a man dead intent on retaining the job title of starting quarterback, Cleveland Browns.
So if you were wondering why Couch showed up in Lexington this week for his now annual football camp looking fitter than a tailored Italian suit, here is why.
He's lost "five good pounds" from 230 down to 225, and has redistributed the weight on his 6-foot-4 frame "in some good ways," he says.
As he watched over the 85 or so quarterbacks and wide receivers going through his camp at the University of Kentucky, Couch seemed like a man at peace with where he stands in the great Browns QB Derby.
"If you look at what Coach Davis has been saying, it sounds pretty good," Couch noted of Browns Coach Butch Davis.
Earlier this month, Davis said publicly that "Tim has not really lost the job. I think it's a bad assessment when people say it's a 50-50 because it really isn't 50-50."
Still, "I plan on going into training camp ready to compete," Couch says.
Of course, the QB finds himself in this unexpected duel for his job because his 2002 was rockier than many quarries.
After a rapier-sharp pre-season, a balky elbow sidelined him for the regular season's first two games.
Holcomb, a career backup out of Middle Tennessee, played lights out in both.
Used to public adulation, Couch returned to a city smitten by another QB.
He got booed at home. Faced cheers in Cleveland when injured against Baltimore. In response, he ripped the fans who had cheered.
Bouncing back, Couch led a number of epic fourth-quarter comebacks. Got the new Browns to the verge of their first-ever playoff appearance.
Only to be sidelined by a broken leg in the season finale. Meaning he had to watch Holcomb re-emerge to throw for a whopping 426 yards and three TDs in what became a heartbreaking playoff loss to the Steelers.
By that time, many were noting that the Browns offense just seemed to function more crisply -- throws made sooner, receivers more apt to get balls in stride -- when Holcomb was in the game.
Meanwhile, others were pointing out that for one who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1999 draft, Couch's career touchdown-to-interception ratio (57 TDs, 61 ints.) is hardly that of a franchise quarterback.
Yet, for what it's worth, I suspect those writing off Couch are overlooking a couple of key factors.
By NFL quarterback standards, he is still a babe, turning 26 on July 31. His best football should be ahead.
Plus, thrown immediately to the expansion-team wolves, he may have taken the greatest physical pounding of any QB in NFL history. In four years, he has been sacked a staggering 147 times.
And there is this: The guy gets off on being doubted.
When he left behind a legendary high school career in Leslie County for UK, the knock Couch recalls was that a small-school QB could not hope to thrive in the SEC.
When he left behind Hal Mumme's Big Blue throw-athon having rewritten the UK record book, the knock he remembers was a QB used to throwing 60-plus times a game in a "weird offense" could not hope to succeed in the NFL.
"My whole thing," he says, "has always been proving people wrong. This is just another chance."
Skipping the fried chicken and pizza (well, most of the time) is worth it, after all, if it helps you force your critics to eat their words.