Maurice Smith was a welcome addition to the Bulldogs secondary from the University of Alabama because he was already familiar with Kirby’s style of defense. His experience showed in the Bulldogs first game, as he had a very impressive performance.
Smith was the defensive MVP in my eyes as his play saved the Bulldogs defense from giving up a couple touchdowns, which could have made a huge difference in a game that was only won by 9 points. Smith was taking reps with the second team for most of fall camp but his experience with the Kirby’s defense must have helped him win the starting role. Smith said that he found out he had earned the start two days prior to the game and that had to be a welcome surprise after battling with Rico McGraw for the starting job for most of fall camp.
Smith said coming into fall camp he was familiar with about 70 percent of the Bulldogs defense and had a very limited time to learn the other 30 percent. Smith said as soon as the SEC granted him his release he was working with the team trying to learn the defense as quickly as possible. This statement is most definitely true as the media saw Smith out at the Bulldogs practice working out the day after he was granted his release.
Smith said that starting was great motivation for him because he was not able to play much at Alabama. He also feels extremely fortunate to have this opportunity to play for the Bulldogs and the fact that he was able to earn the start was a huge blessing for him. Once Smith heard that he would be starting, it really put even more of a drive in him because it made him want to play better.
It was a blessing just to be out there. Given a shot back there to play with those guys, it was motivation because I hadn’t played much at Bama and it just felt great being back on the field.
Smith’s strong performance is very exciting for the Bulldogs defense and he could end up being one of the best additions to the team this offseason. Smith could be a huge key piece for the defense and it will be interesting to see if he can keep this level of play for the remainder of the season. If Smith does, it will be great news for Kirby Smart, Mel Tucker, and the rest of the defensive staff.