Locke looks to go out in style

Derrick Locke has not been pleased with the way his season went. After an injury marred senior season he wants to go out with a good showing in the BBVA Compass Bowl against Pittsburgh. Locke told KSR's Larry Vaught, "It's a big deal for me to go out not just in style, but to really, really go out and give the fans what they want to see and what I want to see."

Derrick Locke is no softy.

"I am not soft at all. Stuff just doesn't get to me. I have a soft side to me, but I am not a softy," he said, much in the same way that he always proclaimed he was a football player who ran track and not a track star who also played football. "I am a very caring, loving person, but you have to be strong with the life that I have lived.

"I didn't live in the ghetto or all that stuff, but the life that I did live was hard. I had to be strong, so every part of my life I don't show emotion. You can't be weak and make it in this world. You just can't let stuff get to you. You have to brush it off and just go."

One way he copes with difficult times is by singing.

"When I am in a bad mood, that is what I do. That is one thing that pushes me to my happy place," he said. "When things are going wrong, I just like to sing. It calms me.

"I have never done any public singing. I was going to do it a few times with a few guys, but I have never done it. It's just something I like to do when I can to get me back to my happy place."

Locke has had a lot of happy times at Kentucky. There have been two 100-yard kickoff returns — something no other Kentucky player has done. There were three 100-yard rushing games last year. Yet he will leave Kentucky always wondering what he could have done if he had not missed 12 games due to injuries.

"I felt like there were a lot of things I wanted to do here. I was a dual athlete and also did track, too. I was All-American in track. I proved I was an asset on the football field, but in terms of numbers injuries really hurt me," he said. "I have been here four years and have really only played 2 1/2 years' worth of games, but I feel like I have done a lot.

"I don't know anybody else who has done what I have done in a short amount of time and the games I have done it in. I will be proud of that and will always look at it like, ‘Man, I wish I had those games I was hurt to play and this hadn't happened.' But this is football, and that happens. I hope when I leave people will just remember I was an athlete."

That's why he leaves Kentucky with only one regret — missing those 12 games.

"That would be it," he said. "I can't say that I wish I would not have had them, because my sophomore year when I got hurt, that made me a better athlete.

"I went through something and bounced back and proved nothing would hold me down. That made me a better person and made me stronger and made me more humble. I realized my talent could be taken from me just like that, so get your degree."

Now he's hoping there is a grand exit waiting for him against Pitt.

"The bowl game is my last showing in Kentucky. It's a big deal for me to go out not just in style, but to really, really go out and give the fans what they want to see and what I want to see," he said.

"There is no reason I can't have a 200-yard game. I have never had one, but I might have a career high. That's how I want to go out. I really want to go out in style. Will it happen? I don't know, but that is what I am playing for."

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