Chuck Smith Live Chat Transcript
McCloud : Are we going to another bowl game this year?
Chuck Smith : That should be one of our goals obviously. Our players have had a great attitude and work ethic this winter and through the early stages of spring practice. I think everyone associated with the program would be disappointed if we didn't go to a bowl game.
CorbinCatFan : Spring is the time for teaching, what is the area for improvements this spring?
Chuck Smith : One of the sreas for improvement has been tackling. If we improve on just one thing this spring and it was tackling, I think we would be a better linebacking corps. It was one of our focuses the last three or four games of last season and there was a major improvement. Hopefully that will continue this year.
Ralph Donaldsn : With so many linebackers on the roster, how do you decide who gets playing time in practice? Can you tell which players can play before you see them on the field in scrimmage situations?
Chuck Smith : Linebackers' playing time is based upon performance with the reps they are given in practice. We want guys that can make plays within the scheme. They have to know their responsibilities because they have 10 other guys counting on them to be where they're supposed to be. You really have to see them on the field in scrimmage situations. That's the true test. Some LBs perform well in the drills but don't play as well in the scrimmages.
Bill : AJ Nance played really well on special teams and impresses me with his size, speed and physical play. Do you see him challenging for significant playing time this year? Also, is there any change in scheme/assignments for the LBs with coach Brown?
Chuck Smith : Yes, A.J. has been very impressive in the offseason and early on in spring practice. If he continues to work, he can compete for some playing time. I believe Coach Brown will use the LBs for additional pressure this year. You'll be able to see that as an added wrinkle to the defensive scheme.
Ryan : Do you think are going to improve from last year
Chuck Smith : Absolutely. We are older and we have more experience. Based upon our performance in the last couple of games last year, we should come into this coming season with a lot of confidence. For those reasons I think we'll be a much improved team.
Ed T : Will Terry Clayton see any playing time besides special teams? How good is he?
Chuck Smith : Terry's a wonderful young man. He's a class act and he's competing for playing time other than special teams but there are some other guys ahead of him at this point. I think he could be a factor on our special teams this coming year.
lagrange followers : Where do you see Wesley Woodyard in the SEC by the end of the upcoming season?
Chuck Smith : Wesley is a young man that is a very hard worker. He plays with a lot of desire and determination. I think he would be disappointed if he weren't an All-SEC performer by the end of the season.
Droops : Coach, how would you grade Chuck Smith's performance over the last couple of years? How tough has it been coming here from your previous coaching position? Thanks, and good luck!
Chuck Smith : There is a big difference between college and high school. I feel I'm getting better as a college coach every year. I'm around a lot of great coaches that I've been able to learn a lot from. Hopefully I'll continue to learn and improve as a coach.
kevin : what do you think of the baseball team this year
Chuck Smith : I think they have been outstanding. They're very well coached. They are a class program and we wish them well.
Nick : Do you think our linebackers this year can handle the linebackers at the other bigger schools like Florida, LSU, etc.
Chuck Smith : I have a lot of confidence in our linebackers. I think they're as good as any linebacking corps in the SEC. I'm very excited about them this year.
Scott Hopkins : Have you all discussed moving woodyard to a safety position considering that is what he came out of high school playing
Chuck Smith : Wesley is an All-SEC linebacker and I don't think you'd want to move an All-SEC LB to another position.
Blake Hopkins : other than woodyard, who do you think could be another star linebacker.. braxton kelly or micah johnson... they both have super potential thanks for the time coach and GO BIG BLUE!!
Chuck Smith : Braxton Kelley definitely has the potential to be a star player. The second half of last season, he played as well as anybody on our defensive team. He's an extremely conscientious worker. He pays special attention to detail and I'm looking for him to have a very big year. Micah has the potential and is still in the learning process of the defense. I think once he feels comfortable with his assignments, we'll see the real Micah Johnson.
Blake Napier : How has Mikhail Mabry progressed after his redshirt season last year.
Chuck Smith : Mikhail is a great young man and a pleasure to coach. He used his redshirt year wisely and worked hard as a scout team player to improve his skills. We're only in the first few spring practices but I love his attitude and work ethic. He's getting reps as a middle linebacker but he's an intelligent kid and can really be a swing guy that can play any of the three positions.
JC : Coach, do you expect to have Micah back by fall or will he be done at the college level due to grades?
Chuck Smith : He's been removed from the suspension list and seems to be doing better academically and have his priorities in order. He's back on the practice field and we're planning on him being here in the fall.
bigblueuk22 : how is our linebacker core going to be with woodyard and others. with speed and experience for the 07 season and how is our depth at linebacker spots. thanks al see you in 07
Chuck Smith : I'm very excited about our linebacking corps this season. They're all returning starters and they're becoming veteran, experienced players. There's no substitution for experience. We're developing depth with our younger players who I mentioned in a previous question.
Jason : Everyone knows Wesley Woodyard and Micah Johnson's names. What young guys, or unsung heroes, should we expect to hear from in the linebacking corps.
Chuck Smith : Braxton Kelley has been a two year starter and is an excellent player. Johnny Williams is a returning starter and we look for him to be better with a year of experience under his belt. Other players to look for would be Sam Maxwell, Brandon Thurmond, A.J. Nance, Mikhail Mabry and Chris Cessna.
UKLaw10 : Are we going to see a more attacking style defense this year? Seemed with the Clemson and UT game, we put more numbers in the box and pressured the run.
Chuck Smith : I think there will be some subtle changes in the way we attack an offense. The guys are excited about it and I know we'll be better defensively because we're older and more experienced.
ukathletics.com : Thanks to Coach Smith for joining us today. Next week's live chat will be with offensive coordinator Joker Phillips.
Chuck Smith : Thanks for the support of our football program. The Music City Bowl atmosphere with our fan support was something I'll remember for the rest of my life. It was awesome. We'll see you this fall. Go Cats!