Kentucky junior defensive tackle Ricky Lumpkin is one of 12 Wildcats from the state of Tennessee, growing up just outside of Nashville in nearby Clarksville. Lumpkin's career had been slowed by injuries coming into this season, but he managed to start all 12 games in 2009. With senior tackle Corey Peters graduating, Lumpkin is expected to be one of the anchors for next year's defensive line.
Question: You grew up in Clarksville, which is around 40 miles from Nashville. How have you viewed a third trip to the Music City Bowl in four years?
Answer: The big thing with me, honestly, is none of this is new to me. I still have fun, and I'm looking forward to the bowl game, but a lot of it is repetitive. I've shopped in the Nashville malls before, I've seen all the sights with my family, been to the Opryland hotel. At the same time, though, it's good for me because my family was pretty close for the holidays, and a lot of guys were far away from their families on Christmas.
Q: How did you feel about the year you had?
A: I accomplished my No. 1 goal, which was to stay healthy and play all 12 games. There's some things I still need to work on. I'm still learning. This is actually my first full season. That's what I needed. My goal wasn't any individual accolades or All-SEC or anything like that. It was just to stay healthy. Could have I done better? Yes, but at the same time, I'm still learning.
Q: Next year, you'll be the most experienced holdover from a line that once featured two NFL players (Myron Pryor and Jeremy Jarmon) and a probable future NFL'er (Corey Peters). Will you feel a little extra pressure to step up and anchor the defensive line?
A: I'll feel a little pressure because I'll be a senior, and we'll lose more good players. But we've shown people we can lose people and still improve. I'm going to step up and be a leader going into off-season workouts.
Q: You came to UK in the same class as Corey Peters. You redshirted your first year, and he played as a true freshman, now he's leaving. What did you learn from him?
A: I learned patience from Corey. He got to play his first year, and I was hurt, and I was in a hurry trying to learn everything. Corey just told me to calm down, and everything will come together. He's still teaching me stuff, but I love when he messes up and has to come to me. I feel like I'm teaching the mentor.