VAUGHT: Bowl bid means a lot to Smith

It would be easy for Alfonso Smith to be a little bit peeved at not playing more the last few weeks after clearly establishing how good he could be when starter Rafael Little was out with a knee injury. However, rather than pout about his limited playing time since Little's return, Smith understands what has happened and is thrilled that UK is going to a bowl game.

"Going to a bowl means a lot," said Smith, a reshirt freshman running back. "I wanted to come down here and help change this program and take it to a bowl game. It came faster than I expected. Hopefully, I can do this three more years after this.

"I think a lot of people don't appreciate how much it means to players to help build a program, but now they are starting to. I had a lot of people at the beginning think I could help change UK immediately, but then I got redshirted and it brought me down a little bit. Now when I am on the field I will do whatever it takes to get us to another bowl game."

Smith is proud of what he's done this year. More than the numbers will ever show, he's answered questions about his toughness by making runs inside and sometimes running over tacklers. He's shown his speed is a huge asset in the open field and that he can make tacklers miss.

"I am pretty proud of what I have done and I really have not been on the field with the ball in my hands as much as I want yet. In a couple of years, just imagine how it will be," Smith said. "But I am not frustrated because Rafael and Tony (Dixon) are getting the job done. They are older and more experienced. I know the coaches have confidence in me when I am needed. But there's no disgrace playing behind those two guys when they are healthy because they are two of the best in the league."

Smith never had a chance to play for a state championship in high school even though he was one of the state's best players. That's another reason he's happy to still be practicing at the end of the year and able to play in a game at the end of the season for the first time in his football career.

Plus, he's a bowl junkie.

"I always watched bowl games. I always wondered what it would be like to play in a bowl game. I watched the games last year and saw Louisville playing against Virginia Tech and all the other games. It looked like fun and we were sitting at home. That really got to me. I really wanted to get to a bowl game and I am glad we accomplished that," Smith said. "Now I just want us to get to a bowl game every year I am here. That would really be something."

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