Macomb, Ill. Marc Bulger can feel Kirk Farmer's pain.
Bulger emerged as a backup quarterback with the St. Louis Rams last year, leading the team to six straight victories after Kurt Warner was sidelined by injuries. Before that, though, he was Mike Martz' whipping boy in practice.
The perfectionist coach, widely regarded as a quarterback guru, never hesitated to heap abuse on the young player.
"I don't think there is a look in his eye like he wants to kill me anymore," Bulger said. "He just wants to yell at me.
"I honestly thought he wanted to kill me a couple of times in the past."
The former Missouri quarterback was booted out of the huddle two times by Martz in the first three practices. At one point, the coach was heard to say, "You stink," to Farmer.
The team's afternoon workout Friday was a first for Farmer because he didn't get kicked out. But that doesn't mean Martz is happy.
"They have their own tempo and pace," Martz said. "If you allow them to practice and work at their pace, then that's what they'll do and three or four years from now they might be ready."
Farmer is accustomed to adversity after losing his starting job to redshirt freshman Brad Smith his senior year at Missouri. He said he doesn't mind the abuse.
"I don't want him to yell at me, but I want him to coach me up and tell me when I do something the slightest bit wrong," Farmer said. "I don't want him to lay off and not coach me."