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Lineman Experiences Dramatic Improvement
"I'm doing good," said the 6-3 280 David Smith on his performance in camp, which netted him the most improved player on defense award. "I know all the plays and I'm playing with 1's and 2's. We're four deep right now (at defensive tackle). I'm gonna get a lot of playing time and fight for a starting position, but if I don't start I don't care. I have three more years and I just want to play this year and I know I will."
Players that usually have productive spring practices, usually follow that up with a solid fall camp. The lineman certainly falls into that category. "I made a lot of good plays and Coach Koetter said I had a good spring," stated Smith. "So I'm just trying to build on from that, and I'm doing very good right now."
When asked about his most improved skill, Smith didn't have to think twice about an answer. "My hands," he replied. "I'm a lot quicker, but also stronger – I put on 15 pounds and I'm at 280 right now, so I'm one of the big guys out there right now." The aspiring chef quipped that those added pounds are part muscle and part "good food."
Like many players on the team, Smith now has a new position coach, which he sees as a very positive move for him and his line mates. "The way Coach Stretz is getting at us and coaching us, it's a whole different mentality," claimed Smith. "We didn't have that before. Our hands have been a lot better, on all of us."
In last year's 114th ranked defense, the defensive line took the brunt of the blame for the poor performance. Smith is convinced that the fortunes of this unit will change due to its sheer numbers. "Last year we had two tackles that played the whole game," he said, "and this year we have four legit tackles that can rotate in and out and be fresh. That will help us a lot too. Someone will be going ten plays and then I will go in ten plays, that's why it doesn't matter to me who will start. We're all in there to make plays."
Smith has been cooking up a very productive off-season. Soon it will be time for him to dish out his play on opponents and all indications are it should be quite the defensive feast…
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