From KSRCollege’s Austin Monnett
I had the opportunity to sit down with Andre Woodson Tuesday afternoon to discuss everything from Rex Ryan to beating Louisville. The former Kentucky football superstar has decided to take the next step in his life. Woodson has been hired as the receivers coach for Morehead State, and he says that this is just the beginning.
John Harbaugh and Rex Ryan both coached here at Morehead State early in their careers. I didn’t realize this until a few days ago.
Me too. I’ve know about Rex Ryan for about a year, but I just found out about Harbaugh as I was returning from Louisville, today, actually, from a recruiting trip in the Jefferson area.
You’re the second former UK player to be added to coaching staffs this year, with Sean Woods coming in earlier to coach the men’s basketball team. Have you spoken to Coach Woods?
I haven’t. As soon as I was hired, the first thing [Morehead] had me do was get on the road and start recruiting. I haven’t had a chance to settle down and get a chance to meet everybody. The only people I’ve really met so far were people at the application to sign my contract. But, no, I haven’t had the chance to meet him. Obviously, at some point, I’d like to sit down and talk with him, though.
I noticed on your Twitter that you said they had you on the recruiting trail. Did they have you doing that at UK or is this something new to you?
As a grad assistant, we find film of players and then locate them. We were allowed to contact them, but weren’t actually allowed to get on the road. Coach Stoops actually had us, before he had the new staff assembled, as part-time full-time coaches. That was the first time I had ever heard of that and I didn’t even know that it was allowed. [Stoops] had us recruiting some, and that was the first experience I had with being on the road. But now, I actually have the entire Jefferson, Fayette, and Hardin County areas to cover. It’s been wonderful, though, and a great experience. I’m finally getting my feet wet, and just jumping in there and enjoying it. I get a chance to sit down with these kids and talk with them, while trying to build a relationship with them, and let them know why they should be [at MSU].
Why should they come to Morehead?
For one, it’s a great opportunity to play. Secondly, we have a young team, so a lot of kids that come here will have a shot right off the bat to compete and either start or play. Those two things right there, kids love to hear. They want to hear anything like that. You can see their eyes light up when they hear that they get a chance to play and ask to know more. And for three, you come to this institution and it’s a 20-1 student-teacher ratio, and that’s great for a kid coming here, because academics are obviously going to be important. It’s not that far from any type of cities. Lexington is only 45 minutes away; Cincinnati and Louisville are both a little under two hours, so it’s not like you’re that far away. There’s hunting and fishing here, and a lot of kids enjoy doing that. I’m actually starting to get into fishing, myself. There’s a lot of different things, and I’m still learning more as I go, but there’s a lot of good things about this community and area that attracts kids. We have some pretty talented kids here already, and it’s a great spot for a lot of young kids to come here to get a great education and to play football at the same time.
What do you tell a recruit when they ask about Morehead not giving scholarships? I’m sure that’s one of the first questions they tend to ask.
It’s tough, you know? I mean, obviously, you want to be honest and not beat around the bush. You want to be completely blunt and say, “This is a program that doesn’t offer scholarships, but there is ways to get grants and KEES money and other scholarships outside of athletics.” The kids, they understand that, and they’re just happy they get a chance to come play football. And that’s just awesome, because when you get into the SEC, those guys realize that they have a chance to reach their dream, but at the same time, they can take it for granted sometimes. It’s awesome, and these kids get it, and so far it’s been real cool and I’ve enjoyed every bit of it.
I saw in another interview that you said you didn’t want to be a head coach.
As of right now, it’s not something I’m concerned with and I have no desires in going that direction. If somebody wanted to offer me that opportunity, then it’s something I’m going to think about, but my main goal is to become an offensive coordinator at some point down the road. That’s what I love to do. I love to make play calls, take advantage of watching film, and those types of things. Being a head coach, that’s a load. There’s just so much that goes on those guy’s shoulders with decision making, juggling kids, wins and losses. Anymore, you realize that it’s all about wins-losses, and that’s all anybody cares about. They don’t recognize that some of these coaches are doing a great job of just turning kids’ lives around and making sure that they get their education. So much money is invested into football that people don’t realize or see the values in that. For me, I would just love to be an offensive coordinator.
What did Coach Stoops say to you? Was there no chance you could stay on the coaching staff at Kentucky and move up within the program?
Stoops actually asked me to stay. I just felt like it was the best situation for my family to move on. Obviously it’s a tough situation and decision, because I played there, been a fan of theirs, came back and was a graduate assistant, got my degree there, and even met my wife there at UK. It was one of those deals where I realized at some point I would have to move on for my career of coaching, and I knew I would have to detach myself from there. This was a situation where Morehead reached out to me and offered me to be the receivers coach. It’s a great place for me to get started, and there are so many good things about this place. Talking with several other coaches, they all felt that this was the perfect situation for me to start my college football-coaching career. Especially at a great institution like this where I can get started and learn from some great coaches, and go from there. I truly believe I made the right decision, and so far I’ve loved every minute here.
Seems like they waited on you to leave before they started the all of the new renovations.
They’ve been trying to get it for a while and they just weren’t announcing anything. But it’s just one of those deals, and Mitch Barnhart and Coach Stoops know which direction they are going and those guys are doing a great job. I don’t think it had anything to do with me [laughs], and I’m proud with what they’re doing there.
It seems like the first time since your team was around that the excitement level has been this high for Kentucky football.
I’ve had a lot of people contact me and stated how excited they are. As an alumni, I’m proud of what they’re doing and I hope they continue to do that. I’m proud to see how excited people are about Morehead football as well, and it’s the same type of excitement that’s going on. I see already that the season ticket sales here, just like at Kentucky, are rising. People are excited to see a new staff come in, and they’re anxious to see what the team is going to be like. I’m really glad to see what both programs are doing.
Now, I realize you may not be able to give me an answer here, but does Maxwell Smith have the starting job at QB going into the spring?
I won’t be able to answer that [laughs]. That’s between Coach Stoop and Coach Brown, and they’ll make that decision. All three of the guys they have are truly blessed and are very talented and very athletic. Whoever takes that spot will do a great job and will get it going. Maxwell Smith took a redshirt season, so all three of them will be sophomores.
One more question for you. Which win felt better, #9 Louisville or #1 LSU?
[laughs] Always Louisville. There’s not a better feeling than that one. Especially when I threw that pass to Stevie, to this day I’ve not heard the stadium get that loud. I could actually feel it tremble. It was feeling I could never describe or put into words.