Smith Has Skills, Confidence to Succeed

Wide Receiver Brandon Smith was clocked at the end of winter conditioning as the fastest player on the team – running a 4.3. QB Rudy Carpenter has recognized the dangerous passing target at his disposal, and has taken the sophomore under his wing. All Smith wants to do now is repay his signal caller's faith and elevate his game to the level his teammates and coaches believe he can reach in 2007.

The 6-2 200 Brandon Smith quipped that if he ran a 4.5 or slower, Carpenter would probably not show that much interest in him. Yet with his physical assets, he hears nothing but encouragement and motivating words from his quarterback. "Rudy has been telling me since last year ‘you're what we need on offense. Let's do it.'," said Smith. "I'm just trying to give back and give all I got on the field, make Rudy look good and make me look good."

"He's always (saying) ‘Let's catch the ball. Let's get better at this today.'," Smith continued. "One day I wasn't getting out of my brakes right, so he said ‘let's focus on getting out of your breaks today.' As we take it day by day we get better as a whole. He's always on me telling me ‘let's do something extra.' He shows a lot of faith in me and I love that."

Smith believes that the Dennis Erickson offense is tailored to players such as himself, who with their athleticism can make plays. "We got the speed, we got the talent, we got the quarterback, we got everything," he noted. "This offense – I believe it's perfect for us. I expect big things out of this. We should do pretty well in the fall."

A 37-yard touchdown reception in the Hawaii Bowl, showed a glimpse of Smith's blazing speed. Despite the bitter 41-24 loss in that game, the sophomore was able to take some positives with him. "It definitely carried over some confidence," he admitted, "but that was last year and I'm looking forward to this year. I just put it behind me and keep on rolling and trying to get better."

Improving shouldn't be too hard, as he will be under the tutelage of WR's Coach Eric Yarber. His resume includes coaching former Oregon State receivers Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who are two of the star WR's in the NFL. Naturally, this does nothing but excite Smith for what may lie ahead for him. "I'm ready to put it all together," Smith stated. "Coach Yarber is a real good coach and it seems like he knows exactly what he's doing, and I'm paying attention to what he's telling me. I'm gonna do whatever it takes. He's telling me that I'm the next receiver he's gonna put in the NFL and I'm ready to do whatever we need to do…. He coached some of the best receivers in the NFL and I'm trying to get there."

First things first, the 2007 season will be the first arena where Brandon Smith will get to strut his skills, display the complete package and have a chance to prove the old sports adage that ‘you can't beat what you can't catch…'

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