LEXINGTON, Ky. -- When a quarterback's a big meal shy of 300 pounds and fills out a jersey like a lineman, people take notice.
''I still see heads turn whenever I walk out on an opposing field,'' Kentucky quarterback Jared Lorenzen said.
The junior has the 4-0 Wildcats off to their best start since 1984 heading into a nationally televised matchup with No. 7 Florida on Saturday.
''Most people know about the 'big ol' quarterback' now because I've been here for so long,'' Lorenzen said. ''But I still get my share of funny looks.''
Kentucky's media guide lists Lorenzen as 6-foot-4 and 275 pounds. Maybe after a weeklong fast and several conditioning sessions.
Nicknames? He's been called everything from the ''hefty lefty'' to the ''Pillsbury Throw Boy.'' One local writer even dubbed him the ''Lord of the Ring Dings.''
''You can't let that stuff bother you,'' said Lorenzen, who first started playing quarterback at age 5. ''If you do, you're going to be a pretty unhappy person. All you can do is have fun with it and enjoy the attention.''
With devastating arm strength and an ability to shed tacklers, Lorenzen's game has attracted attention, too.
He has completed 64 of 107 passes for 894 yards with 12 touchdowns and just two interceptions to become the Southeastern Conference's top-rated quarterback through four games -- ahead of prodigious passers like the Gators' Rex Grossman, Tennessee's Casey Clausen and Mississippi's Eli Manning.
''We're having a blast right now,'' Lorenzen said. ''Our confidence is at an all-time high right now. For the first time since I've been here, we believe we can win no matter who we play.''
Lorenzen's combination of size and athleticism allows him to make plays most other quarterbacks wouldn't even think about trying.
Against Indiana earlier this season, Lorenzen was being dragged down by two defenders, but spun his body around and fired a perfect pass to tailback Artose Pinner in the right flat. Instead of 10-yard loss, the play went for a big gain.
''He does things every week that just make you say, 'Wow,''' said junior wideout Derek Abney, Lorenzen's favorite target. ''A guy that big shouldn't be able to do a lot of the things he does.
''Think about it. How would you like to be a 160-pound defensive back with Jared coming at you full-speed in the open field?''
In his first two seasons at Kentucky, Lorenzen proved his girth wouldn't limit him as a quarterback.
As a freshman in former coach Hal Mumme's pass-happy offense, Lorenzen shredded defenses for 3,687 yards and 19 touchdowns -- but his team finished 2-9.
Last season, he was benched after a mediocre performance in the Wildcats' season opener against archrival Louisville but bounced back to reclaim the starting job midway through the season.
Over the final five games, he averaged 376 yards with 19 TDs and six interceptions -- and Kentucky finished 2-9 again.
This season, Lorenzen averaging 26 passes and 223 yards per game -- and he wouldn't change a thing.
''You can throw for all the yards in the world, but it doesn't mean a thing if you don't win,'' Lorenzen said. ''That's why this fast start means so much. I want to prove I can win games, not just put up numbers.''
This season, Lorenzen has benefited from a rejuvenated running game behind Pinner, the SEC's leading rusher, that has taken some of the pressure off of him to make plays.
Kentucky coach Guy Morriss said Lorenzen has matured exponentially since setting six NCAA freshman passing records under Mumme.
''Before, he kind of relied on his athleticism, and that sometimes got him into trouble trying to make plays he probably shouldn't,'' Morriss said. ''Now he's more likely to take a sack or throw the ball away because he's realized it's going to hurt the team a lot less than an interception would.''
He grew up in another way, too. He became a father over the summer when his daughter was born.
''She's with me for the rest of my life, so everything I do now is for her,'' Lorenzen said. ''I have to be the best player I can be so I can move on to the next level and secure her future.''
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