Tamme, Begley 'excited' for Smith

December 26, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

Taylor Begley has no doubts that his University of Kentucky teammates are going to enjoy having Chuck Smith on UK's football coaching staff.

"I was just a kicker at Boyle County, but I would run though a brick wall for coach Smith," said Begley, a junior placekicker at Kentucky. "He is a guy that players are going to want to play hard for."

Begley and Kentucky redshirt freshman receiver-tight end Jacob Tamme both played four years under Smith at Boyle County. Now they are both looking forward to him joining them at Kentucky after he accepted an offer from UK head coach Rich Brooks last week to become the Wildcats' new linebackers coach.

"I am very excited and think he will be a great addition to what is already a very good staff," Begley said. " I am tickled for him and for the guys at UK that are going to get to play for him."


"I am excited for him, but I am also excited for us at UK," Tamme said. "Obviously, it's going to change the Boyle program a little bit, but they have a lot of great assistant coaches there. I am just glad to have him on our staff at Kentucky now.

Ties to Kentucky will help

Both players think Smith's ties to Kentucky - he lettered at Kentucky from 1978-80 and was one of the team's top tacklers from his linebacker spot his final two years - will help him do an even better job.

"Coach Smith takes pride in everything he does," Begley said. "I think coming back to the school where he was a top player will be just an extra bit of motivation for him. He's always bled blue and been Kentucky, Kentucky, Kentucky. He has a lot of pride in this program.

"He is a guy that expects nothing short of your best effort. He's a real perfectionist. He's very intense and a great motivator. At Boyle, he never talked about anything but winning championships. I know that's how he'll be at Kentucky, too."

Tamme said if any of Kentucky's current linebackers call him before the players return to school next month, he already knows what he'll tell them.

"I was going to give the linebackers a heads up and tell them they had better bring their lunch pail to practice because he's going to put them to work," Tamme said. "They better get ready to work. I am glad I will indirectly be playing for him again. It's going to be fun to see him walking around up there and getting to put his mark on our defense. There is no doubt there will be a lot of teaching of discipline and toughness."

He will be an effective recruiter

Both players agree that Smith will make an effective recruiter even though he has no experience as a recruiter.

"When I talked to him (after he got the job), he was real excited about getting to do that," Tamme said. "He said he was going to see the linebackers who had already committed along with some players around the state. He will be straight with you. He's kind of like (assistant) coach (Joker) Phillips, who is a great recruiter. Coach Smith has a lot of the same personality traits that make you like him and there's no doubt he bleeds blue."

"I think he will really be a good recruiter, especially in Kentucky," Begley said. "Why shouldn't he? He can go in with a (state championship) ring on each finger. That shows he can develop talent. Why will that change just because he's coaching at Kentucky instead of Boyle?

"He loves Kentucky so much. There will not be any act to it when he tells players and their parents about Kentucky. He is pure and genuine. He will be someone parents can trust and players will want to play for."

Tamme and Begley both had heard rumors that Smith might in line for a coaching position at Kentucky. They both knew the timing was perfect for him since his son, Brandon, will be graduating in May and heading off to play football at Western Kentucky.

"I guess it will be kind of hard on him not getting to see Brandon play because even if we have an open date, he'll either be out recruiting or we will be practicing," Begley said. "But if he was going to make this move, this was the right time for him."

Jacob Tamme knows his brother is a little disappointed

Tamme's brother, Seth, was Boyle's leading receiver as a junior last season. Jacob Tamme knows his brother is a little disappointed that his coach is leaving.

"Seth loves playing for him," Jacob Tamme said. "Inside he is probably a little disappointed over this, but he knows this was a dream of coach Smith's. There are other great coaches at Boyle. Seth talked to coach Smith after he took the job and he could tell he was really excited to fulfill his dream. Coach Smith is one of the best coaches in the history of Kentucky high school football. He deserved this opportunity."

Begley says the only problem he might foresee is the 20-hour rule that limits coaches to that amount of instructional time with players each week.

"He is used to putting in an unbelievable amount of time," Begley said. "Maybe he'll excel even more now because he'll just be focusing on one position (linebackers) rather than an entire defense. He's used to getting the most out of his players. He might have to cut down on the time he's with them a little bit, but he'll still expect the same results. That's what makes him a great coach."

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