Kentucky wide receiver Chris Matthews was one of the most highly regarded members of UK's 2009 recruiting class. A four-star wide receiver from Los Angeles Harbor College, Matthews had an impressive fall camp and was viewed as a player who could bring an immediate big-play threat to the Wildcats' offense. Matthews has made some plays through seven games (19 catches, 212 yards, one touchdown), but he has also had to deal with the typical adjustment period for junior-college receivers. Matthews talked this week about his UK experience so far.
Question: You were expected to come in and have an immediate impact, and while there have been some moments, there have also been plenty of struggles. What was the main thing that held you back early?
Answer: I was out there and didn't know the plays. I'd look over on the other side of the field to see what the other guy was doing, and I was hesitant at times. I feel real good about things now. I can see things coming together. I know the plays well enough now that I feel like I can go out there and perform.
Q: You got off to a good start with a big game and touchdown catch against Miami in the opener. Then things started to get difficult. Did you lose confidence?
A: The first game I wasn't really worried about it. By the second or third game I started to get a little frustrated, not at my teammates or coaches, though. I was more frustrated with myself because I knew I could be doing better.
Q: How has (head coach for offense and receivers coach) Joker Phillips been handling you?
A: He's really pushing me because he sees a lot in me. He just wants the best for all of us. He doesn't want me playing two years here and then having to go off and get a job somewhere. He wants me to move on to the next level.
Q: This time next fall, you'll have winter workouts, spring practice and another summer under your belt. How much more prepared do you think you'll be in 2010?
A: It will be a huge difference. I'll come out here with no intentions of playing around. I want to get bigger and stronger. By next year, we'll really see some things happen. I think a lot will be out there for me."