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Image 15 of Lexington Herald-Leader, September 14, 2012

Part of Lexington Herald-Leader

COLLEGE FOOTBALL LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER | KENTUCKY.COM FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2012 B3 WESTERN KENTUCKY Defensive end Quanterus Smith sees his hard work pay off in sacks SENIOR NOW LOOKS HEADED FOR NFL By Chad Bishop Daily News (Bowling Green) Quanterus Smith has always been sort of a diamond in the rough. There’s no hiding now. S mith, a 6-foot-5, 250-pound defensive end, made a statement last week when he recorded three sacks for a net loss of 27 yards at No. 1 Alabama. The senior now appears destined for the NFL. He’s ranked No. 20 of 194 defensive ends, according to nfldraftscout.com. The NFL once seemed like an unlikely destination for Smith, a high school senior who was virtually unrecruited. Smith “I had JUCOs, but I didn’t want to do JUCO,” he said. “I didn’t want to do two years and then go somewhere else. The one, if I had to, it was going to be Georgia Military.” Instead, Smith left Grayson High School in Georgia in 2008 and headed to Bowling Green, knowing full well he’d be redshirted his freshman season as he worked to get bigger and stronger. Between that time and now, Smith has put on 50 pounds and become one of the Sun Belt Conference’s top pass rushers. “We’ve done a good job here in the strength program FOOTBALL From Page B1 this season came Saturday against Kent State, when Avery Williamson stripped Dri Archer and Miles Simpson scooped it up, returning it to the Flashes’ 7-yard line. The coaches believe it’s only a matter of time before the team gets a few more like that. “We’ve put an emphasis on stripping the ball and attacking the ball and when the ball’s in the air, breaking on and attacking the ball,” head coach Joker Phillips said. “We do need some turnovers.” Senior Taylor Wyndham agreed. “You can always see it on film that guys are just a hair off from getting a pick. Last game, I was just a hair off myself from having one,” he said. “It’s fun to see in this early part of the season, it’s fun to see because you know you’ll get it before you go into the conference play.” Kentucky’s defense got four picks last season on quarterback Kawaun Jakes, who accounted for the Hilltoppers’ fourth miscue against STORY DAVE MARTIN | ASSOCIATED PRESS Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron (10) looked for a receiver as Western Kentucky defensive end Quanterus Smith (93) defended last week in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Smith had three sacks in the game. and developing him, and obviously he’s got some stuff you can’t coach,” WKU defensive line coach Eric Mathies said. “He’s got some God-given talent. He’s motivated and he’s extremely athletic. Anytime you’re athletic and you’re motivated and you’re a pass rusher, you’re going to have success. He had a look in his eye last week that was just — almost like a prize fighter. It was like he was stepping into the ring with Mike Tyson and he knew he could knock him out and that’s how he played.” Smith said he’s also be- come more of a student of the game — studying film, working on technique and anticipating what move his opponent will make. He led WKU with 7½ sacks last season and entered the season with 11½ for his career to go along with 54 career tackles. “He’s improved a lot from a maturity standpoint,” WKU senior defensive tackle Jamarcus Allen said. “He’s always been a great football player, he’s becoming more of a student of the game. He’s got speed and the ability to bend Alabama last week when he threw an interception on the first possession of the second half. It was the 29th career interception for the 6-foot-3, 194-pound senior. That was frustrating for Taggart, too. “Whenever you turn the ball over, you limit yourself on opportunities for possessions,” the Western Kentucky coach said last Saturday. “You kill your drives and you kill your team’s positive mentality. It was uncharacteristic of our guys. Never in a million years would I have thought that they would have played like this today.” Who knows which Jakes will come out on Saturday? In the Hilltoppers’ season opener this season against Austin Peay, the senior quarterback had the game of his career, throwing for 296 yards and four touchdowns. UK freshman J.D. Harmon, who had two pass breakups against Kent State last week, said afterward that the younger players getting more comfortable with the defense could be the difference in those centimeters and seconds. “I have confidence now that I’ve got the defense down,” Harmon said. “It feels good to get out there and let myself play, to let myself go. We’re always going over our assignments. (The young defensive players) stay late and go over film. And I think that showed.” winless in SEC play 13 times. Even Kentucky’s seven winning SEC seasons come From Page B1 with something of an asterConnecticut and Louisville isk. are all thought to be positionThe first three of those ing themselves to use the teams were coached by Bear ACC as a lifeboat. Bryant. The fourth winning Which brings me yet again SEC season for UK came in to the University of Kentucky the first year after Bryant left and its membership in the Kentucky. Southeastern Conference. Late in life, Bryant admitIf, as now looks likely, the ted that in his UK days he ACC is going to survive as was operating with, let’s say, one of five top-tier college a loose regard for NCAA football conferences, why rules. UK was on probation shouldn’t UK be the school to in 1964 under Charlie Bradfill the final slot in a 16-team shaw for conducting illegal ACC? off-season workouts. The As prestigious as it is to NCAA let Kentucky decide be a part of the Saks Fifth whether to accept a bowl ban Avenue of college football in 1976 or ’77 after UK went leagues in the SEC, the on probation under Fran historical facts scream that Curci in those years. UK can never consistently Bottom line: Accepting succeed on the gridiron in that Bryant recruited most that league. of the players on Blanton They have played SouthCollier’s first team in 1954, eastern Conference football it’s possible that Kentucky for 79 years (UK sat out has never had a winning SEC the World War II season of league record in football with1943). Of those 79 prior out the aid of rules breaking. seasons of SEC football, Some say leaving the SEC Kentucky has produced a would unmoor UK from its winning conference record all rich men’s basketball tradiof seven times — 1949, ’50, tion. I say so what? Kentucky ’53, ’54, ’64, ’76 and ’77. has proven beyond all doubt By contrast, UK has gone it can dominate basketball in Notes around the corner. He’s also strong, too. He’s just got it all.” Smith also played basketball at Grayson, which was just laying the foundation as a football powerhouse in Georgia. He had his sights on playing college basketball until a high school assistant coach told Smith learning how to handle the ball and shooting may be imperative to make that work — something Smith wasn’t all too good at. “I would just post up and rebound,” Smith laughed. The final decision has worked out. Smith was named one of the Sporting News’ five defensive linemen to watch this summer. He was also named second team all-Sun Belt in 2011. “He’s always been a hard worker,” said senior defensive tackle Rammell Lewis, who attended Grayson with Smith. “He’s just finally got to this point where it’s finally paying dividends.” Smith said the difference between the player he was in 2008 to the player he is now is “a huge gap.” He has also simultaneously tried to ignore, while use as motivation, predictions that he’ll play on Sundays. Three sacks on one day against Alabama, however, won’t punch his ticket. “What I told him is, ‘Never be satisfied,’” Mathies said. “It’d be a dang shame if he goes out and three sacks is all he has on the season, but I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen.” about you guys. It’s about being able to hang out with these guys and spend some time.” ■ There also was a question for the head coach about unsourced Internet reports that say there has been a rift between Phillips and defensive coordinator Rick Minter since the loss at Louisville. Phillips said their “relationship is great.” When asked if the staff was on the same page, Phillips said yes. “Here’s the thing: There’s only one page,” he said. “There’s only one page and we’re all on the same page. There’s not two pages in this program. It’s one page.” ■ There were no big updates on the injury front. CoShik Williams (back) and safety Josh Forrest (hip flexor) will both play on Saturday. Gabe Correll (hip flexor) or Trevino Woods (ankle) will sit out the WKU game. Josh Clemons (knee) and Glenn Faulkner (ankle) will not play for the third straight week. In the past week, Kentucky has started paring down media availability with Coach Joker Phillips, first announcing that the coach would no longer do his Sunday teleconference with reporters and then two days later announcing he had cut out his Tuesday post-practice availability. It came up as a joke after practice on Thursday, and Phillips said the Tuesday cut in availability was to spend more time with his team. “It was seven days a week I was doing things,” he said. “I’ll tell you guys the reason why: doing two-a-days, I got a chance to walk from the field over here to hang out with my guys and in the locker room. I never get to see them in the Jennifer Smith: (859) 231-3241. locker room. It felt really good Twitter: @jenheraldleader. Blog: to be able to do that. It’s not ukfootball.bloginky.com. a football-first SEC. Why not take a shot at going into a league with North Carolina and Duke and (coming soon) Syracuse and showing them who the hoops boss really is? Adding UK would allow the ACC to enhance its already regal basketball brand. Who knows, a league with three of the top five men’s programs of all time might actually defy conventional wisdom and gin up a basketball TV contract lucrative enough to move the financial needle. UK would give the ACC the same benefit adding U of L would — access to the Louisville TV market — while also bringing along the rest of the state of Kentucky. You couldn’t even consider leaving the SEC unless you knew you were headed to a league that was secure enough among the top tier conferences that the move would be financially rational. Now that Florida State, Miami, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech seem to be anchored to the ACC by a new $50 million exit fee, the Atlantic Coast Conference should have secured its future viability in the marketplace. Some will fret that if UK left the Southeastern Conference, it could be replaced by Louisville. I say so what? Let U of L cash that big $EC check and go 2-6 most years in league football games. The fun in that wears off. Of all the schools that have moved during the recent college sports game of conference musical chairs, the one I most admire is Texas A&M. After decades of playing Burger King to the University of Texas’ McDonald’s, the Aggies decided to take a bold risk to change their identity. The Aggies left the Big 12 and struck a new course in the Southeastern Conference because they wanted to create a brand other than as Texas’ little brother. If Kentucky really wants its football program to succeed and while there is potentially still one slot left open in the ACC, shouldn’t the powers that be at UK at least talk about trying for a Texas A&M-style reinvention? Mark Story: (859) 231-3230. Email: mstory@herald-leader.com. Twitter: @markcstory. Blog: markstory.bloginky.com GARRY JONES | 2010 ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE PHOTO Louisville’s Damian Copeland gathered in a pass before being tackled by South Florida’s George Baker in a game two years ago. Injuries limited Copeland to one game last season. LOUISVILLE Now healthy, receiver proves to be a catch COPELAND’S STYLE OF PLAY STANDS OUT By Gary Graves Associated Press SATURDAY North Carolina at Louisville When: 3:30 p.m. TV: ESPN2 LOUISVILLE — As a nickname, “Honey Mustard” doesn’t have the same ring to for 41 yards in last week’s 35-7 it as “Honey Badger.” victory over Missouri State, Damian Copeland’s Louis- and expects to see plenty of ville teammates say the moni- time against North Carolina ker is their way of saying they though he’s listed behind redlike the wide receiver’s style. shirt freshman Charles Gaines But what they like even more: at the “Z” receiver spot. Copeland is contributing for “He’s one of those guys the No. 19 Cardinals. (that has been) in the shadInjuries were a problem ows,” Bridgewater said. “He’s before this season and limited been nicked with injuries in the junior with the blond mo- his past, but now that he’s hawk to just eight games — healthy he’s showing that he’s including only one last year not taking a step back.” — and 113 yards. What bothered Copeland Copeland enters Saturday’s most was how his injuries home game against came during practice. North Carolina tied Copeland was redshirtfor the team lead with ed as a freshman after eight receptions and a knee injury, followed his 92 yards are just the next spring by a two behind leader foot injury. Another Andrell Smith. While knee injury followed quarterback Teddy last year’s game against Bridgewater has inNorth Carolina — his Copeland volved everybody in only game of the seaLouisville’s passing game, son — leading Copeland to reCopeland’s inclusion demon- assess everything. His injuries’ strates the Cardinals’ trust in freakish nature told him he had his health and ability. to be in better shape physically, And with a hairdo similar if not mentally. to former LSU cornerback “It had me down a little bit, Tyrann Mathieu, Copeland’s but I kept a smile on my face also showing a willingness to and kept grinding,” the Brastand out — off the field. denton, Fla., native said. “I was “I had a mohawk last year hungry. I never had an injury and it was black, but after the in high school and never sat (Belk) bowl game I just decided out, so that just made me hunto do something with it,” the gry. … I’m just doing the little 6-foot-1, 188-pound Copeland things and staying healthy.” said. “People like it. They call Coincidentally, a seasonme ‘Honey Badger,’ ‘Badger ending knee injury to 2011 Milk,’ ‘Honey Mustard.’ ...” receiving yardage leader MiCopeland’s first reception chaelee Harris opened the this season drew the kind of at- door for Copeland. Known for tention he wanted on the field. his speed, he began showing With U of L facing third down it and improved durability in from its 2 on the opening drive spring practice. Laying out against Kentucky, he made a for that first catch symbolized diving grab of Bridgewater’s Copeland’s all-in approach. low pass near the right sideline “What you saw (against for a 23-yard gain that jump- Kentucky) was what type of started the Cardinals’ offense. spring he had,” Cardinals ofLouisville went on to complete fensive coordinator Shawn a 99-yard drive and a few more Watson said. “He has started in a 32-14 victory, with Cope- delivering plays and the plays land catching a career-high he had on film just weren’t four passes for 51 yards. the routine catches, he started He added four more catches making explosive plays.” 127 ACRE (+/-) SCOTT COUNTY FARM ABSOLUTE AUCTION Saturday, September 15th at 10:00 AM 3862 Owenton Road, Stamping Ground, KY Open House: Sunday, September 9th from 2 to 4 PM and one hour prior to auction FARM DESCRIPTION: Fabulous working thoroughbred, cattle and crop farm features two barns (one 10-bent tobacco farm and a large barn with multiple stalls), paddocks with run-in sheds and waterers, large fenced pastures, spring fed pond, beautiful creek running across the front of the property, and two occupied tenant houses. This property enjoys over 2,400 feet of road frontage along Owenton Road (Hwy 227) and is just north of Stamping Ground. DIRECTIONS: US 460 west from Georgetown, right on Hwy 227 North, go through Stamping Ground-farm is on the left just past Switzer Road. Go to www.halfhillauctions.com or www.rhr.com for auction terms and conditions, Visual Tour and other detailed information Jim Halfhill Principal Auctioneer Rector-Hayden Realtors halfhill@rhr.com (859) 338-5764 John Fister Listing Agent Rector-Hayden Realtors fisterre@iglou.com (859) 533-8777

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