Q&A with new UK assistant Steve Pardue

Steve Pardue: "I am not looking at it as going into a college job. I am looking at it as going to the University of Kentucky and working for Joker Phillips. Obviously I have a lot to learn in terms of terminology, but I don't think it is any different at any level."

Here's the conversation KSR's Larry Vaught had with new Kentucky running backs coach Steve Pardue:

Question: Does a team have to run the football well to win in the SEC?

Pardue: "That's a given. We go back to mine and Joker Phillips' similarities. If you have watched my teams at LaGrange, you would know we were known for great defense, really good special teams and running the football. We always based our success off running the football because in most games it will come down to who runs the football well."

Question: What have players you have sent to UK told you about the Kentucky football program? Pardue: "They have all kind of fallen in love with the place. I kind of kiddingly sent a text to Wesley Woodyard and said, ‘I sent you guys up here to win a championship and since you guys didn't get it done, I guess I have to do it.' That kind of got a charge out of him. They have all had a love for the university. I had that inbred in me at a young age. It might have been a little different if I was not somebody from the state, I probably would have got more from them. But I know they enjoyed their time up here and we will enjoy our time."

Question: Do you know any high school coaches in Kentucky?

Pardue: "I know several. I coached in western Kentucky for four years. Both of my brothers-in-law are retired coaches. Pat Gates won two state championships, one at Crittenden County and one at Caldwell County. My other brother-in-law, Rodney Bushong, won one at Heath High School. I have a lot of connections in the state and will definitely be calling on those.

"That's why I had to win three state championships. I had to find a way to top my brothers-in-law a little bit."

Question: What is your philosophy as a football coach?

Pardue: "If you watched our teams play, people would characterize us as being very, very much defensive minded. We played hard-nose defense and got after you. We also put lot of importance on the special teams and we liked to run the ball when we could. But I think you could say we were a tough team and that's the way I like to play."

Question: Will you be recruiting the state of Georgia?

Pardue: "If they have players that fit us, I should have a relationship there. I think Joe is going to give me south Georgia and I think I will spot recruits (in) some other areas I have friends coaching. Hopefully we can do a good job selling Joker Phillips and Kentucky football."

Question: Any chance you will get any advice from linebackers coach Chuck Smith on the move from high school to college coaching since he did the same thing?

Pardue: "I have had a couple of other friends who were in the same situation. The head coach at Valdosta High School now was with Chris Hatcher at Georgia Southern for three years and decided to go back to high school. I think it is a little different for everybody. But I am not looking at it as going into a college job. I am looking at it as going to the University of Kentucky and working for Joker Phillips. Obviously I have a lot to learn in terms of terminology, but I don't think it is any different at any level."

Question: Describe the relationship you have with Joker Phillips?

Pardue: "We have a unique relationship, but now he is the boss. I was driving here the day I came and talking to Braxton Kelley and telling him how excited I was and told him there would be a day coach Phillips would have to chew me out. I understand that comes with being an assistant. We have a unique relationship and we have not hid that over the years when he was recruiting my players and it didn't affect that. But because of the things he is doing here, I wanted to be part of this."

Question: In a way, do you already feel part of this program because of the players you have sent here?

Pardue: "It's more just my conversations with Joker and knowing about the pulse of the program and where they stood with players and what was going on on a day-to-day basis."


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