August 26, ICtfO
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THE CATS' PAUSE Q&A • KENTUCKY ASSISTANT FOOTBALL COACH JOHN GUY • THE CATS' MUSE Q&A • KENTUCKY ASSISTANT FOOTBALL COACH JOHN GUY
friends there. It was just crazy.
1 really like the excitement here. I just like the feeling.
TCP: You can already get a "feel" for it?
Guy: Yes. There is such a togetherness here. People are pulling for you. Sometimes you can take that for granted when you're at different schools. This is my sixth school. Some schools didn't have it and some schools were unfair about their own expectations. But this is great.
Coming from the last experience...this is great. I guess it's like being seasick and finally getting on land.
TCP: Why is this situation greater than at Alabama?
Guy: I just felt like I was in a phone booth. I don't feel that way here. I felt cramped, completely. Socially. I couldn't go to the gas station. I was limited to what I could do.
I'm not knocking Alabama, but the first two things I did when I went to Alabama was I upgraded my TV. That is, I went to a 51-inch screen. I upgraded my stereo, but I couldn't get the music I needed. I couldn't get the movies I needed. So here, I haven't really turned my TV on, but I've had great music. I listen to the public broadcasting station...it's a great station. I listen to it a lot.
TCP: Recently you were promoted by Bill Curry as the assistant head coach. Is this something extra special for you?
Guy: I'm not a title guy; I never wanted a title. Coach offered it to me. He said he wanted me to be it. I really felt like whatever he wanted me to do I could do it without the title.
He gave me the title. Whatever goes along with it I'll do it, but I've never really been a title guy. I've been more of a guy who just
does what he's told to do.
I understand what Coach Curry expects. I can sometimes figure out how he would do things in certain situations. I have a good feel for what this program is supposed to be about. Having been with him as long as I have, I think he feels comfortable with me being that person. It is an honor. It just hasn't hit me as it has other people.
People say, "You're the only black assistant head coach in the South and there are very few in the country." I don't see black. I just see me, see people. I'm here to do a job and that's what I'm going to do.
TCP: That sounds like Bill Curry.
Guy: Maybe, but I'm just here to do a job. I want to win. I want the players to be better than they are. I want them to better than what they think they can be. That's it.
I'm pretty sure I can (handle the responsibilities). I'm not sure I can do it as well as he can. Along with the two coordinators, we've been together and we all understand each other. I know where my limitations and attributes are. They know that. Things will work out just right.
TCP: Do you want to be a head coach? Is that a goal of yours?
Guy: It's really strange how people talk about goals. When you're an assistant coach it's hard to say. You can say you want to be a head coach, but you don't have a choice necessarily as to where you can be a head coach. I wouldn't mind being a head coach. But, I don't want to be a head coach at a smaller program.
All my life I've coached at big, successful, academic-type programs; top universities in that particular state. That's what I'm used to and that's what I want to do. If I can't be a head coach in that kind of environment then maybe I can be an athletics director or maybe I can get into pro football. You don't really have control over your goals. You just load your gun, aim your sights and whatever happens along the way...if you do a good job, good avenues will open up. What you have to do is pick the right one for you.
I'm comfortable with what I'm doing right now. I'm not out trying to be a head coach. I'm not out trying to be a coordinator. I'm just out trying to do a job right here at Kentucky.
I take one year at a time and reassess my goal for that particular year, see what avenues are there and then I go.
I came here in January and I (then) was offered one job twice. I turned it down twice. It was at a top-notch program in a top-notch state with great climate. There were a lot of great things that went along with that job. But you've got to know who you're with.
A guy that was very important to me in my life of coaching during my formative years was Tom Harper, a Kentucky player who played for Bear Bryant and who was very dear to me. He passed away a year ago. One of the things I learned from him was that you never really know a person until you go through a personal ordeal.
When you change jobs you have to go through a whole new transition of getting to know people, and finding where you get on and get off with them.
Since I've been with Bill Curry I've been through personal ordeals with him and me, my family and his family, football families. I know who I'm fighting with. That's important to me, to know who I am in that foxhole with. If you're
I'm going to tell you this, I've learned as much, probably more, from the great players than they have from me. The thing about coaching those great players is that they learn so much from each other, and I learn so much from them. I feel like each great player that I've coached, the next ones I coach benefit from what I learn.
coaching football you're always in the foxhole, and every game is a new game. The last play is forgotten and you've got to reload and play again. I like fighting with him.
TCP: What about fighting alongside the current Wildcat assistant coaches?
Guy: That has something to do with it, too. If we weren't the way we are or the way we have been...when I say Coach Curry I include the staff. This is a staff—we win together, we fight together. If he hires a new guy, I believe he hired the best at that position; I feel comfortable with him and I can fight with him.
I don't have any doubts. If I've had I've said it to him and he's listened and he's either agreed or disagreed and it's been forgotten. That's the way to work and to get a job done. It's like I've said. I know who I'm fighting with. These guys on the staff, I know who I'm fighting with, which makes it easy.
It's easier to fight when you know where the ammunition and the bombs are coming from and who is going to stand up with you.
TCP: What school was it that you turned down?
Guy: It really doesn't matter. It was a nationally ranked team that played in a major bowl last year. It's in a warm climate. Very warm. Extremely warm year-round. It wasn't in California and it wasn't in Florida. So it's pretty easy (to guess). And it wasn't in Jamacia. But that's that.
TCP: Turning our attention to the current players at the strike and defensive end positions. How are they shaping up?
Guy: I have some hungry guys. I just have to take them to where they want to be. ..take them where their goals are. I really like this group and their effort. They do exactly what
you tell 'em. I like 'em.
TCP: Any concerns?
Guy: There are always concerns. We just have to work with what we have. We'll get it done with what we've got.
TCP: Is outside linebacker (strike) Zane Beehn a unique talent for a freshman?
Guy: He's a freshman. He's green; he's never played a down. He's got a lot of athletic ability and a lot of tools. He's got to learn to play. I've had some good freshmen. Athletic-wise, he ranks with some of the best...talent-wise he's pretty good.
This is a very talented freshman group. And you can expect some great things from this freshman class. They've all got ability, size, quickness and good attitude. And to single one of them out, I don't want to do that yet. A lot of times people want to give them credit before they ever get anything done. But they haven't even scrimmaged in pads yet. So until they scrimmage I'll hold my comments.
TCP: You coached a great player at Alabama named Derrick Thomas. It's kind of odd that you'll coach a player named Derrick Thomas at Kentucky.
Guy: They're different kind of players. Derrick Thomas here has a lot of athletic ability and is a very good football player. But, ^^^^^^^^^^^^ again, we have to work together to accomplish what he wants to accomplish.
Players, they all want the same thing. Alabama players are no different than the Kentucky players, they all want the same thing. It's just how hard and how deep our commitments are to what we want to be.
It's interesting. You find yourself comparing. The thing about it, players admire great players. Regardless of who they are they admire great players. Regardless of
admire great players. A great player does one thing and the player who is trying to achieve greatness tries to do the same thing and work that way.
TCP: Is the desire the one thing that separates the Lawrence Taylors, Derrick Thomas', Pat Swillings from the others?
Guy: A great desire. Great willingness. Focused on what they want. Full speed on everything. Hungry. Practice hard. Reckless. They are students of the game. Along with athletic ability and talent you have to be a great decision maker. You get to be a great decision maker by working with that playbook and studying football and watching other great players.
TCP: Did you recruit Lawrence Taylor to North Carolina?
Guy: I just assisted. I was not the person who signed him, but I assisted in recruiting him. I worked with Lawrence.
A lot of people try to 'give' Lawrence to me. Lawrence does not belong to me; I was just there when Lawrence was there and happened to work with him. At the time (Guy was at UNC) Lawrence was in his freshman and sophomore years...Lawrence really developed in his senior year and I wasn't there.
TCP: Could you tell when you were at UNC that Lawrence was a going to be a special player?
Guy: Yeah. The other thing too is that Derrick had a lot of potential. There were a lot of things Derrick needed to get worked out, as far as personally and little things that make you a great player.
I'm going to tell you this, I've learned as much, probably more, from the great players than they have from me. The thing about coaching those great players is that they learn so much from each other, and I learn so much from them. I feel like each great player that I've coached, the next ones I coach benefit from what I learn. Great players aren't afraid to take chances at doing things with their body and their ability.
Having worked with those great players and seeing the things they can do, it gives you something to shoot for with a player who is trying to achieve greatness. You just learn so much from great players.
I was better with Derrick because I had worked with Pat Swilling and because of Lawrence and some other players. People always talk about Derrick, but for us in our system if a guy who has played that position as a senior he's been drafted.
Every football player who has played strike or end for us in his senior year has been drafted.
TCP: At Georgia Tech and Alabama?
Guy: Yes, at Georgia Tech and Alabama every player has been drafted. At Georgia Tech we had three players make it their rookie year who basically played the same position. Last year I had Lawrence, Derrick and Pat Swilling all in the Pro Bowl.
Last Saturday in there were (former 'Bama players): George Bethune and Derrick Thomas playing against each other in West Germany (NFL exhibition game). And there was Anthony Smith, who went on to Arizona, playing with the Raiders, their No. 1 draft pick.
But I think good players create good players. They copy each other. But I don't want to talk about (Kansas City's) Derrick Thomas. I want to talk about these players here.
TCP: How involved are you with the kicking game?
Guy: I work with the placekickers. I've worked with placekickers a long time. I work with the punting team...kickoff coverage, punt return and the holders.
TCP: What do you see from this year's UK placekickers, especially Don Rubin?
Guy: Don has a lot of potential and talent. He's got to work on getting the ball up. He's got competition. There are probably four kickers right now who are leading the pack with (Doug) Pelfrey leading. Then there's (Bill) Hawk, Brent Claiborne.
It's whoever ends up the most consistent. Every day we grade 'em...so it's not going to be a thing we just decide. It's going to be from what we see.
TCP: Is it difficult for Hawk to be a punter and placekicker?
Guy: No. If he does both, he does both. If he's fortunate.
TCP: It won't affect his mechanics or timing? Guy: No.
TCP: When Kentucky takes the field against Central Michigan in this staffs debut, what one thing are you expecting that if it didn't happen you'd be disappointed?
Guy: The only thing that would disappoint me is that if we lost the game. I'm expecting a win. That's all. That's the only thing I'm expecting. I'm not expecting disappointment, I am expecting a win. If we don't win there will be some lessons learned to help us win the next one.