VAUGHT: Q&A with Coach Chuck Smith

Kentucky linebacker coach Chuck Smith, a former UK player, knows the Cats missed a chance to end their losing streak to Tennessee last week and it will be a game he won't soon forget for a lot of reasons.

Question: Will this loss stay in your bad memories for a long time?

Smith: "Absolutely. These kids, especially these seniors, wanted to get this thing done and end the losing streak to one school. They played their hearts out and it just wasn't meant to be at the end.

Question: What will you tell guys when you practice again, or is it good to have a few days to get away from football for everybody?

Smith: "In this case here, it might be better that we have a few days to get away from it and sit back and reflect on what the regular season was like and understand there is just one last game for this season. As hard as it may be, we have to put this behind us and get ready for the bowl game."

Question: Is this loss a step back for this team considering how well the season started?

Smith: "It is frustrating. It has been frustrating for the players as well as the coaches. This league is so tough. Anybody can beat anybody just like Arkansas beating LSU or this game with Tennessee. It is just a matter of who makes a play at the end to be the team that wins. It makes it tough on everybody."

Question: Did it shock you that your players played so poorly in the first half against Tennessee?

Smith: "It did. I was really frustrated with it. We ran those plays over and over in practice. For whatever reason, we didn't cover who we needed to cover. That is very frustrating from a coaching standpoint. That is the way it is."

Question: Did you cry in the pregame when they introduced Jacob Tamme, a player who played four years for you in high school?

Smith: "I didn't. I wasn't out there, and I didn't want to be out there for that because I didn't want to be in that situation. I know I probably would have. I tried to avoid that situation."

Question: What did you think of his final game in Commonwealth Stadium?

Smith: "He plays his heart out just like he has always done. He wanted the win desperately -- just like the other seniors -- but Jacob sticks out a little more in my eyes because of the relationship I have with him. I think he can hold his head up, as all of them can. They fought hard, but we just didn't get it done."

Question: How important will it be now to come back and get a win in the bowl game?

Smith: "It is real important. Everybody here knows it and everybody here wants it. It is not enough to want it. You have to go work for it."

Question: Does the finish to the season hurt recruiting and does a bowl win help recruiting?

Smith: "I think the finish of the season needs to be what you sell. By the time you get to the bowl, a lot of times you already have a good idea of who you have a chance to get. You might be able to sway somebody at the end with a bowl victory, but we just have to take care of business. Everybody within the team itself knows we have a good team and are very capable of winning. We have the talent to do it. We just have to find a way to finish it because we definitely have the talent to get it done."

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