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By Scott Brown
Saturday, Feb. 24, 2007
 

INDIANAPOLIS -- The two players who not so long ago battled to become Pitt's starting quarterback have been thrown together once again.

Tyler Palko and Luke Getsy are in Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine, and their hotel rooms are right next to one another. So if there were any lingering rancor about the outcome of their duel in the spring and fall of 2004, Getsy would know for which room to place a 4 a.m. wake-up call.

"There are definitely no hard feelings," said Palko, who beat Getsy for Pitt's starting job just before the start of the 2004 season. "It's good catching up. It's great to see him do well."

Both hope to do well today when they work out along with other draft-eligible quarterbacks.

The two Western Pennsylvania products are in a situation similar to the one they faced at Pitt. They are not competing for the same job, but they are trying to impress enough people to be picked on the first day of the NFL Draft.

"I think the interview process is going to be huge for me, let these coaches and GMs (general managers) get inside my head and see that my knowledge of football is definitely my strongest point," said Getsy, who started the last two seasons at Akron after transferring from Pitt. "I'm going to go on the field and show them I've got all of the physical tools as well, just show that I can be an elite quarterback in the NFL."

Opinions vary about Palko and Getsy, but the consensus holds there are only two elite quarterbacks in the draft.

LSU's JaMarcus Russell and Notre Dame's Brady Quinn are widely considered the only two quarterbacks worthy of a first-round pick.

Pro Football Weekly rates Palko as the seventh-best quarterback in the draft and Getsy No. 23.

"I'm not really worried about my draft status or where I get drafted," said Palko, who completed 68 percent of his passes his senior season and threw for 2,871 yards and 25 touchdowns. "I need to go be me and not worry about anything else. I can't control anything but how I do and how I prepare."

Palko said much of the combine is about "measureables." What makes it less than ideal for the West Allegheny graduate is that Palko is all about things that can't be measured, like leadership and desire.

If Palko, who stands just under 6-foot-1, is dealing with questions about his size and arm strength, Getsy is trying to overcome his general lack of exposure due to playing in a non-BCS conference.

Not that following former Pitt offensive coordinator J.D. Brookhart to Akron didn't have its benefits.

Getsy, a Steel Valley graduate, got to play in the Mid-American Conference, and it routinely produces NFL quarterbacks.

Ben Roethlisberger is a MAC product, as is the quarterback Getsy followed at Akron, Charlie Frye.

Getsy is still close with Frye, and learning from the Cleveland Browns' quarterback, he said, will only help his transition to the NFL.

Like Palko, he is hoping teams look past the fact that he won't blow them away with his physical tools.

"I'm not 6-6, 270 pounds or throwing the ball 100 yards," said Getsy, who was measured at 6-2. "I do a lot of things well as a quarterback, and (at the combine) and into the next month I'm going to show a lot of people that I'm able to do that stuff."

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