By HAL MORRIS
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have a problem with starting at the bottom and doing what I need to do,Ã¢â‚¬Â Locke said Thursday after UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Pro Day at the Nutter Center. Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s same thing with the NFL. You have to start at the bottom and IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m used to that. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m used to being the underdog, and IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not going to have a problem working with people that are above me, trying to take their spot.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s what it is, a business. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t mind playing special teams and stuff. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s what kind of separates me from other people. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t expect to go in there and start. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m trying to beat you out and play. And if I keep that attitude, I can play for as long as I want to play.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m going keep that with me. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m always at the bottom and never satisfied with anything. If anything, that helped me, coming in here on a track scholarship and walking on for football.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Locke ran for 919 yards and 10 touchdowns and had 318 yards receiving last year in nine games. He was invited to the NFL Combine, along with teammate Randall Cobb, and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.37 seconds, a time he called Ã¢â‚¬Å“terrible.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“To me, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s bad. Everybody was saying thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a really good time, but that sucked for me,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“They kept starting me forward, and I thought I was still but I kept moving, and they kept putting me back trying to help me. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d rather run aÃ‚Â faster time without any false movement. I wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t happy with it.Ã¢â‚¬Â
But Locke felt heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d done enough on the field to show his worth to a team, and wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t going to run the 40 again Thursday.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Film donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t lie. At the end of the day, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re going to look at film (and ask), Ã¢â‚¬ËœCan he separate? Does he have that breakaway speed?Ã‚Â And IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m a lot faster than what my 40 shows,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“And if you watch film, you can see that. So I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t even think about running another 40.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Locke also said he didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t feel the need to show the scouts anything he didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t already shown them at the combine.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“There were a few teams that didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think I could catch the ball. And IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m like, Ã¢â‚¬ËœMan, thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s what we do here at Kentucky.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ We pass the ball out of the backfield and out of the slot. So I definitely wanted to show them I could catch,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I wanted to show them some wide receiver routes, but they were doing a little advanced stiff I wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t used to doing. But if they were doing regular routes, I would have done that, too. I wanted to show them I could do different stuff, and thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s how I want to play in the NFL.
That includes special teams.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a plus for me because I love special teams,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Locke, who had had 15 kickoff returns for an average of 26.3 yards per return last year. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Kickoff return, thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s somethingÃ‚Â I could come in an do and play right away and work your way into the offense. And maybe kickoff and punt coverage, and I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have a problem with that.Ã¢â‚¬Â
After training for the combine since the season ended after UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s loss in the BBVA Compass Bowl, Locke said coming back for the Pro Day was tough.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a lot different from combine prep, I can tell you that. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s specifically just football drills now. It was different, but for the most part I felt I did pretty good,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“It was just a little different, and youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve got to get your body back and adjusted to doing that.Ã¢â‚¬Â