On Thursday fifth-year safety Christopher Smith gave updates on what he’s seen after completing half of Fall Camp. With 13 of 25 practices done and did, Smith has been able to observe a lot of change and assess what this team (particularly the defense) still needs to work on. If you listened to the way he spoke, you could see that there was no room for complacency on this team. He often critiqued himself and the rest of his team who’s already expected to return as a top-5 defense nationally.
Heading into their second scrimmage of Fall Camp, Smith was asked what improvement on the defensive side of the ball he wanted to see this go-’round. He emphasized the importance of the basics. “Tackling, playing the ball” were highlighted, but Smith wants the defense to keep improving on everything. Smith erased any accusation of complacency, saying, “We never feel like we’ve arrived…We can always get better.”
It doesn’t hurt that the offense Smith and his guys have to practice against keeps the defense on their toes.
No one has played in a real game since January. With that in mind, Smith was asked what it was like going against the same offense every day. Surely one would get bored seeing the same faces, but Smith didn’t think so. “It’s very tough going against those guys.”
A testament to that toughness is the physical feat that is Darnell Washington. The senior said, “Not often does the first person get him down.” When he gets the ball, Smith encourages all 11 defenders to swarm him because that’s the only thing that’ll work.
Moving past scrimmages and onto the season opener, Smith was asked how he felt having the first game of the season in his hometown of Atlanta. “It’s nice for me personally…I expect to have a good crowd.” He told reporters that his parents would bring many friends and family to see him play; it brought a smile to his face.
That game isn’t too far away. The two weeks that stand between now and then are going to fly by, and in that time, Chris Smith still expects his defense to get even better than it already is, “That’s all we’re trying to do. We’re trying to be great.”