Jen Smith on UK Football

Q&A: House on offensive players causing his side trouble and ‘chomping at the bit’ for game


On Southern Miss’s offense: “I think they do a good job running the football. They’ve got explosive playmakers at receiver. I think they do a good job mixing the tempo, they try to formation you with the tempo, give you a lot of eye-candies with motions.”

On Eli Brown playing some “Mike” linebacker: “He just brings speed and athleticism. For his size – I’ve said it before: He’s a physical guy for his size. He gives you some versatility.”

On difference from last year: “I think attitude and confidence. You could tell we’re more mature. By no means have we arrived. It’s an ongoing process, but you can definitely tell we’re a year more mature.”

On if Derrick Baity has taken a big step forward: “I think Derrick had a good camp, and I think he’s put a bunch of pressure on himself to get better, like we all should. Certainly he’s a guy who’s played a lot of football now, so the more football you play the higher your expectation should be for yourself and the program’s expectation of you.”

On how excited he is to be back in the coordinator’s seat for a game: “I’ll be honest with you: Coordinator, no coordinator, I’m just excited for competition. Right? At the end of the day, you finished that Georgia Tech game and you get on the bus and you’re not satisfied and you’re chomping at the bit. So it’s been a long time since that game, and I think every player, every coach, anybody that’s a competitor is ready for the game.”

On if they’ve changed which assistants are on the field: “Mostly the same. I’ll go up.”

On why he likes to be upstairs: “I think it just gives you another set of eyes. It’s no secret Coach Stoops is real involved in our side, so it just makes sense for one of us to be up and one of us to be down.”

On what guys look like they could force turnovers in the secondary: “I hope all of them. Right? Shoot, hopefully we come away with five-plus picks and every one of the DBs that played got one. I don’t know. I mean, it will be interesting to see. That’s why they play the game.”

On biggest challenge facing motion from Southern Miss: “Eye control and just getting lined up properly. Having your eyes in the right spot, keying what you’re supposed to key.”

On if they’re doing a good job of that: “Yeah, but as you prepare for a new opponent it’s obviously a little different than our offense. Although I will say this: Our offense through training camp gives you a ton of different stuff and a ton of different pictures, which is great for preparation.”

On if Ito Smith represents a good barometer for progress of run defense: “No question. I mean, he’s a great back, they do a great job in the run game. Their offensive line blocks it up well for them, finishes, so there’s no doubt. I think that will play a huge role to our success on Saturday.”

On lessons about stopping Smith from last year: “Yeah, I think at the end of the day the biggest thing in a lot of these first games – I don’t care who your opponent is — it’s usually the team that executes, plays fundamentally sound football and on defense plays with great leverage and tackles that wins.”

On guys on offense that give defense most trouble: “I think Stephen’s been really good. Benny’s been really good. We got good tight ends. Our offensive line is physical. Offensively, I think they’ve got some pieces. Obviously, Juice can do some things with the football, go up and get the football. They’ve got some pieces.”