Maxwell Smith after Wednesday practice

MAXWELL SMITH

FELT ANY DIFFERENT OUT THERE THIS WEEK? “Nope. Just going about my business same that I always do, just trying to be better every day.”

WAS IT TOUGH WATCHING FROM SIDELINES FIRST THREE QUARTERS? “Yeah, it was tough. As a competitor, you know I wanted to be out there and be out there with my team and play, but that wasn’t the case, so I was competing on the sideline, trying to get them going. And then when I came in, just do as good as I could.”

SEE ANYTHING ON SIDELINES THAT HELPED YOU WHEN YOU CAME IN? “Just kind of what they were doing. It was nothing we didn’t talk about after every series or whatnot. I was just kind of seeing maybe tendencies in certain guys and whatnot.”

IS IT DIFFERENT LEADING AS A BACKUP VS. THE STARTER? “I don’t know. I think I’ve been doing that the whole time: trying to get these guys to rally up and to try and win games and put good product on the field every week and just get better every week. So, I don’t know that that’s really changed for me really. Every day I try to go out there and do the same thing and lead the same way.”

WHEN DID THEY TELL YOU THAT YOU WERE THE STARTER? “When was it? Um. Monday night? Coach Brown called me and kind of let me know. I guess Twitter let me know.”

ANY PRESSURE TO PERFORM, ESPECIALLY EARLY, ON SATURDAY? “I just feel pressure kind of every game, to be honest with you. I feel the same amount of pressure every time we go out there. It doesn’t matter who I’m playing, who we’re playing, excuse me. I just go out there and compete.”

HAVING NEW TARGETS BEEN FUN FOR YOU? “It’s fun because they bring a lot of talent to the team and they’re very good and they’re going to get a lot better and we’re going to be a lot better in coming years. But we’ve got to get better right now, every day, every practice, every week and I think we’re going to do that.”

AFTER LOSS, WHAT MADE YOU SAY YOU COME OUT AND SAY YOU HAVE TO BE A LEADER NOW? “Coaches are always challenging people, and I don’t know, I feel like they spoke to me and the team sees me as a leader, but I have to take control of the team more often maybe. Other guys lead. I’m not the only one. I think everyone on the offense kind of lead themselves so we can lead each other in a way.”

ANY SORT OF DIFFERENT MINDSET IN THE TEAM AFTER LOSS? “Yeah, we’re not as good as we thought we were. And we’ve got to get better, that’s for sure.”

DID YOU TALK TO TIMMONS AFTER THAT BIG PLAY HE HAD AND THEN THE FUMBLE? “Obviously, he knew he needed to hang onto the ball and that was that. But I told Timmons he’s got a tremendous amount of upside and he’s got a tremendous amount of talent. We see it out here everyday out here in practice. You guys saw it on that one run. But he’s going to be really good here at Kentucky.”

WHAT DID YOU DO BEST ON SATURDAY? “I threw the ball pretty well, but other than that, I didn’t do too much that good.”

HOW MUCH DO YOU GUYS NEED TO EXPERIENCE SOME SUCCESS ON SATURDAY? “I know Demarco (Robinson), that was his first career touchdown and I know even we lost and obviously he was disappointed, I know he just felt good getting in the end zone. I talked to Daryl (Collins). Everybody wants to get in the end zone and I think the harder we work and the more success we have in practice, the more fun these guys are going to have out there: scoring touchdowns, winning games, competing. That’s what we’ve got to do.”

WHEN YOU HEAR MIAMI (OHIO) GAVE UP FIVE PASSING TOUCHDOWNS LAST WEEK AGAINST MARSHALL, DOES THAT GIVE YOU A LITTLE BOOST OF CONFIDENCE? “Coach told me (Marshall) was the leading passing team in the country, so following up that performance might be a little hard. Obviously, Miami of Ohio’s got a chip on their shoulder just like we have a chip on ours, so we’re just going to go out there and really this week, like Coach Brown has been talking about, I think it’s all about us getting better, not really about what they’re doing, but what we’ve got to do.”

About Jennifer Smith

Jen Smith has been a sports writer at the Herald-Leader since 2000, covering everything from high school sports to auto racing to various University of Kentucky sports. A native of Louisville and a graduate of the University of Kentucky (much to the dismay of her Louisville graduate mother and Indiana graduate father), Jen now resides in downtown Lexington with her husband and two young sons. You can follow her on Twitter @jenheraldleader or send her an email at jsmith3@herald-leader.com.
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