Vaught: Q & A with Coach Thom Kaumeyer

New Kentucky defensive backs coach Thom Kaumeyer shares his thoughts with the Kentucky program with KSR:

Question: Why did you want to be part of Rich Brooks' coaching staff?

Kaumeyer: "Obviously the relationship I have had with coach Brooks in the past is a big reason I am here. I have played for him and coached with him in Atlanta. I have always been in contact with him. This was opportunity where he had a position open and it worked out and was the right opportunity for me.

"It was a tough decision because I have worked with coach Toledo (at Tulane) only one year and he was also offensive coordinator when I played at Oregon. He is a great guy to work for. But with the relationship I had with coach Brooks, I felt this was a rare opportunity I would have to work with him because he had a job open.

Question: What is the perception of Kentucky football and has it changed it the last two years?

Kaumeyer: "I think it has changed. The big win over LSU this year put a bigger spotlight on Kentucky. I think probably the last couple of years going to the Music City Bowl made people look at Kentucky more. The win over Clemson in 2006 solidified that Kentucky was a good team. Obviously, competing in the SEC is tough. I found that out this year at Tulane when we played LSU and Mississippi State.

"It is a situation where I have always had that confidence with coach Brooks. I have followed his career and what he has done getting to the Rose Bowl, going to the Rams and coaching with the Falcons. I have been a little biased on him wanting him to turn the program around and believing he would. But I think the west coast perception, and even more across the nation, is that Kentucky is now a team that is going to compete for SEC championship. It is not something where Kentucky is a flash in the pan with Andre Woodson and then done. This program is on the upswing."

Question: What do you think of the other defensive coaches?

Kaumeyer: "I met a lot of the coaches and you can tell why the program has been successful. The coaches are nice. They are very good in their recruiting. It is one of the better places I have been that knows who exactly who is out there and can come in and make this program better. I am excited to be a part of it.

"Coach (Steve) Brown has done a good job as defensive coordinator. He will get better. The coaching staff is very good. I like coach (Chuck) Smith. I met coach (Rick) Petrie. They are very knowledgeable and get their players playing hard. I want to do the same. I think any time we can help and make coach Brown's job easier to call defense, then I think we will be very good.

Question: Do you feel pressure knowing Brooks is counting on the defense being better next year and what do you think of your personnel?

Kaumeyer: "I didn't have a chance to even look at the personnel before I came. Obviously I have had talks with coach Brown and coach Brooks. The players I had here had nothing to do with my decision to come. I have watched film. We have some good talent. People play well. Trevard Lindley played well. Paul Warford did a nice job at the other cornerback. We have some young safeties that are good. It is a good situation to come in.

"Any defensive or offensive coach feels we have to do well and play the best every week to win. I don't think it is necessarily putting more pressure on the defense. I just think it is maybe put a little more spotlight on defense because Kentucky lost some offensive weapons, but sometimes that can actually make your offense better.

"Sometimes people rely on one or two guys and when you don't have them, it makes you spread the wealth. Obviously, Joker (Phillips) knows how to do that because he has been successful with more than Andre Woodson. I don't think it will be a huge drop-off and hope it will be an even stronger team deal for all of us."

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