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By LARRY VAUGHT
Former Kentucky recruiting coordinator Chuck Smith believes adding Neal Brown as offensive coordinator will do more than just help UK’s offensive production.
Smith understands how important having a recruiting base in Texas could be for UK, and that’s something Brown has after spending the last three years as Texas Tech’s offensive coordinator.
“I think that will be really big,” said Smith, who was Brown’s high school coach at Boyle County. “He obviously has a pretty good name in Texas because of the things he did at Texas Tech. His name has a lot of notoriety. I was in Target (in Lexington) and two guys were talking about Neal Brown’s offense and how much things will change next year under him.
“He has already brought a lot of excitement to UK. His name is very recognizable. People know who he is. They all have a lot of respect for what he has done. I think Neal will be a very good recruiter for Kentucky because he’s fun to be around and believes what he says. That will come across to recruits.”
Smith always knew that Brown had the potential to be a successful coach long before he went to UK as a walk-on receiver, played his last two years at Massachusetts and then started his coaching career that eventually took him to Troy and then Texas Tech.
“I knew if he ever decided to coach that he would be a really good coach. He was always thinking when he was playing,” Smith said. “He was always saying this would work, that would work. He was always coaching in his own way when he was playing. In his mind he was always thinking like a coach and what would work or not work in a game.
“He just had that kind of personality where he was not cocky, but had a swagger that he could be good in what every he was doing. That had a lot to do with his success as player. He believed he had all the answers, and I don’t mean that in a bad way. He just had a lot of confidence in his ability and thought process. But he was always fun to be around because he was always thinking of ways to help you win.”
Smith, a Jeffersontown native, also played at UK and spent eight seasons as linebackers coach at Kentucky under Rich Brooks and Joker Phillips that he enjoyed. He sees no reason Brown won’t enjoy coming back home as well.
“I think it will be all good. He has a lot of confidence in what he knows and what he believes in. He has always been confident in what he does,” Smith said. “There is no doubt in his mind that he is going to get the offense going the way he wants.
“Being back home and at his home school, there is a lot of good to it. I am sure he will feel comfortable and feel happy back at home. I think it is a good move for him and Kentucky because I expect him to do really well.”
But he’s only 32 years old and next season he’ll have to match wits with Alabama and coach Nick Saban. Is Brown ready for that?
“He will do absolutely fine,” Smith laughed and said. “He knows in his mind he will and I know he will. I know that he will do really well. He is ready for this. No question in my mind about that. He doesn’t need my approval. He has proven himself nationwide. He’s earned this chance and he’ll make the most of it.”