VAUGHT: Sam Maxwell, Part 2

Linebackers coach Chuck Smith always stresses the importance of experience at linebacker and how difficult it is for young players to compete successfully in the Southeastern Conference.

Linebackers coach Chuck Smith always stresses the importance of experience at linebacker and how difficult it is for young players to compete successfully in the Southeastern Conference. Yet he's hoping he'll have more than enough choices next year to offset the Wildcats' lack of experience at linebacker.

"We are going to have a lot of pieces to choose from. They all have to be flexible and able to play different positions. The more versatile they are, the better chance they will have to get on field," Smith said.

"But our youth and inexperience does worry me. That is always a concern when you lack experience. Braxton started four years and led us in tackles this year. Micah has been more or less a starter for three years. Johnny has started for three years. We are graduating a lot of experience. When you do that, it is a major concern. That's why these bowl practices again this year were so important for us to get ready for the spring."

Maxwell stresses that UK's starting linebackers have taught him invaluable lessons on and off the field the last two years to help prepare him for his expected bigger role next season.

"I learned you have to have a lot of confidence and a short-term memory. If you make a bad play, you have to get back in the huddle. You correct yourself and think about what is going on. It's like a computer program. You just go through the steps and find out what has been wrong," Maxwell said.

"I tried to put together certain things from other players. Like Wesley Woodyard, I watched his explosiveness. He is going hard every play. My freshman year I learned a lot from Joe Schuler, who told me he was a mental guy. He told me, 'You are good but you have to get to the point when you just know it.' When I did, I called him up and told him I had it. You can see certain things in certain guys that you pull from and put together for one really good season."



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