Sunday, August 25, 2002

Kentucky insider

By Neil Schmidt,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Remember me? Hello again. It's good to be back in the Bluegrass.

        By manner of reintroduction: I'm Neil Schmidt, the Enquirer's Kentucky sports editor. I was our lead writer for Northern Kentucky sports from 1996-2000, after which I spent a couple of years covering various teams on the other side of the river.

        The Enquirer plans to build its coverage of the Commonwealth, and I'm glad to return to be part of that. I enjoyed my first go-round here, and I asked recently to change assignments so I could further the paper's presence in this area.

        I will be charged primarily with coverage of high school sports. Football and boys and girls basketball in particular will get spotlight treatment.

        We plan to increase coverage of Northern Kentucky University and Thomas More College sports, and I again will be aiding in coverage of University of Kentucky basketball. This column, inclusive of all things Kentucky, will appear each Sunday.

        In addition to strong event coverage, I'd like to provide insight into the newsmakers, trends and issues of this region. We'll attempt more big-picture stories and investigations. Contact me by e-mail ( or phone (859-578-5586) with any ideas.

        This is a big region, and we won't be able to get to everything. But we want to do the best we can. If you don't see your score in the paper or a name is misspelled, let me know.

        Suggestions, concerns, complaints and story ideas are always welcome.

        SMITH TRIES TO STICK: Saturday marked four months as an Indianapolis Colt for Derek Smith, but the Highlands grad now must count the hours slowly. The team's roster must be cut from 83 to 65 on Monday, and to 53 when the season starts. Signed as an undrafted college free agent, he's listed as the fourth tight end on a team that probably will keep three.

        “I'm praying, hoping that things work out,” Smith said. “But if I get cut, I still have a lot of possibilities.”

        Smith plans to play football this year, be it in the NFL or in Europe, Canada or the Arena League.

        “I'm 21,” he said. “I'm the youngest guy on this team by a year and a half. Guys don't hit their peaks until they're 25, 26, so I've got a lot of time to show what I can do.”

        Smith is wistful about having left school a year early.

        “I wish a few things could have been different,” he said. “Things weren't going well for me at Kentucky. It was really heartbreaking that I knew I needed to move on.”

        Smith had 50 catches as a sophomore, tops among Southeastern Conference tight ends, and was a consensus all-SEC pick.

        But last year after the opening game, new coach Guy Morriss made an example of Smith, singling him out for poor preparation. Two games later, Smith loudly questioned the schemes of offensive coordinator Brent Pease in the locker room.

        After the season, in which Smith totaled 30 catches, Morriss suggested Smith redshirt. Smith said he was told it was because he had fallen behind academically and wasn't committing himself to physical preparation.

        “I could have easily made up what I needed to in order to be eligible,” Smith said. “When they said I wasn't as good as I thought, I got upset. It was probably mostly my fault.

        “I've grown up a ton in the last year. You're told you're going to make mistakes that make you realize what life's all about, and you don't understand until it happens to you. Then you grow up, mature. Things happen, but I'm happy where I'm at now.”

        DUSING IN JAPAN: Swimmer Nate Dusing, a Covington Catholic alum, is representing the United States in the Pan Pacific Championships in Yokohama, Japan. The meet began Saturday — when Dusing swam on the second-place 400 freestyle relay — and continues through Thursday.

        Dusing qualified for the meet by virtue of his two gold medals at the Summer Nationals. He won the 200-meter freestyle and took part in a winning 400 medley relay. He also finished second in the 100 free.

        Dusing, 23, is making his third trip to Japan. On the first, he claimed a bronze medal in the 100 butterfly at the 1997 Pan Pacs.


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NFL notebook
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Reds chatter
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Cubs 4, Diamondbacks 0
Phillies 4, Cardinals 0
Pirates 17, Brewers 10
Here comes da Fonz
John Fay's MLB Power rankings
Louisville 5, Indianapolis 1
Elder 42, Dixie Heights 7
Moeller 21, Colerain 14
Princeton 30, Springfield South 27
St. Xavier 10, Sycamore 7
Bellevue 33, Harrodsburg 28
Fairfield 41, La Salle 18
Harrison 27, Oak Hills 10
Loveland 49, Northwest 21
N. College Hill 39, Finneytown 14
Norwood 41, Taylor 18
Summit Country Day 40, Mississinawa Valley 16
Winton Woods 31, Hughes 2
Groeschen: Prep Insider
Boys cross country results
Boys golf results
Boys soccer results
Girls cross country
Girls soccer results
Girls tennis
Girls volleyball results