Now Smith will find himself coaching linebackers next season for Steve Brown, UK's secondary coach the last four years who is being promoted to defensive coordinator now that Archer has left for North Carolina State.
Smith will miss Archer. He knows the players well. However, he says change is part of the college football landscape.
"Every player develops a relationship with a coach. Our players did with coach Archer," Smith said. "I think in this business, they have gone from middle school to high school to college and had different coaches along the way. It is part of the game that coaches comes and go.
"Now they will develop a relationship with the new coordinator or new position coach. The sun will still come up and they will be just as good of players and continue to work their butts off to be best team and players they can be for a new coach. That's just the way you have to approach it because change is part of football. Guys adapt to that. You are sorry to see anybody go, but yet it does happen. You just adjust, move on and build new relationships."
Smith says it should help that the defense has developed more confidence because of the way it played against Tennessee and Clemson in the final two games and because of the extra month of practice UK got before the Music City Bowl.
"Our defense has a lot of confidence now. We made a lot of progress the last part of the season, especially the last two games when we played well and played physical," Smith said. "It all came with age. We were young, but we matured as the season went along. That will carry over to spring practice and next fall. We are going to be better because we not only will be older and more experienced, but we will have a lot more confidence because of the way we finished the season."