VAUGHT: Smith sees opportunies with Joker Phillips

Alfonso Smith has the speed and size that Kentucky wants in a running back. But if Joker Phillips was not UK's offensive coordinator, Smith would likely be preparing to start his college career somewhere other than Kentucky.

"It was Joker Phillips getting the offensive coordinator's job and him telling me I would have a chance to play running back right away," Smith said when asked why he picked Kentucky.

Smith was not that high on Kentucky because of the offense former coordinator Ron Hudson ran. He says if a change had not been made, he probably would not have be preparing to join the Wildcats now.

"It would have been tough for me to come into the offense they were using," Smith said. "You want to have a chance to score. That offense last year didn't do that. I want to help the team and that offense last year just didn't seem to me like it was helping the team very much. But I really like what coach Phillips is doing."

Smith is from Louisville and his family members are Louisville fans. Or they were until he signed with Kentucky. "I guess they have to be UK football fans now," he laughed and said.

But he still hears plenty from his friends about playing for Kentucky.

"They remind me a lot of what Louisville has done to Kentucky, but I remind them what I plan to help Kentucky do to Louisville," Smith said.

He's playing in the Kentucky-Tennessee All-Star Game Friday. After that he plans to stay in Lexington to attend summer school, lift weights and start learning the Kentucky offense.

"I also want to get my blocking skills better. I know if I want to play early, I have to be a better blocker. I have put on a few pounds since last season, but I have kept my speed," Smith, who now weighs 195 pounds, said. "But I also understand I have to get started right on my academics."

Smith says Friday's game is just what he needs to get ready for Kentucky's preseason camp in August.

"The speed of the game is different in college, but this is helping me adjust to that," Smith said. "I'm getting used to having big guys hit me. I am getting the bruises out of the way now so I will be adjusted when we get started in August."

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