Smith Gets His Chance
Matthew Smith
TBS Managing Editor
Posted Mar 23, 2005


With Todd Watkins recovering from recent foot surgery, Montana All-State wide receiver Matt Smith has been performing well in his absence. Smith talks about the improvement and development of BYU’s offense over the past week.

Smith is making the most of this spring’s opportunity at his outside receiver position. Now that he is practicing with the first team offense, Smith is showing what he can do.

“Well the offense is a lot different,” said Smith. “It’s a lot easier but at the same time, the route combinations makes it a lot easier to attack the defense. A lot more routes are open, but obviously it’s all brand new so we’re trying to get into the swing of things and have everyone on the same page. It’s really coming along great you know. It’s only been a week and we’re already starting to get on the same page and starting to click.”

Smith, a humble and patient person, has worked hard ever since he came home from an LDS mission to get to in his current position on the depth chart. As a true freshman he caught passes from former BYU quarterback Brett Engemann. This will be the year Smith will most likely get his chance to be in the wide receiver rotation.

“Well, you know obviously when Todd (Watkins) comes back he’s obviously got the number one spot,” Smith acknowledged. “I’m actually right behind Todd and Todd’s been hurt, so I’ve been lucky enough to fill in right behind him. Hopefully I can get some reps within this next year, rotating with him every now and then, and I’ll be there if anything happens but hopefully nothing happens because Todd is awesome.”

Now catching passes from John Beck and Matt Berry, Smith sees first-hand that the offense is starting to gel together becoming more comfortable with doing instead of reacting within Anae‘s offense.

“It’s kind of like the BYU of old, just strap it up and air it out,” Smith said. “Obviously it’s going to take awhile and it’s not going to be one of those things that’s going to happen over night, but the improvements from just a week ago till now has been a drastic improvement and you can see it. You can totally see it where the first day you were all over the place and the receivers and tight ends didn’t have a whole lot of confidence when you’re doing something new just trying to make sure you run the right route.

“At the beginning of last week we had a lot of dropped balls and a lot of mental errors, but things are starting to click and we’re starting to know what we’re doing and have a lot more confidence and be able to attack the defense a lot more now. It’s more natural to us now than having to go out there and think, ‘Okay, what am I doing and what am I doing again,’ and things like that. You have to rely a lot more on timing and a lot more on good route running. It’s a lot different where last year it was a lot more reading the defense and trying to be on the same page was a lot harder, but this year it’s now more simplistic.”

With Nate Soelberg and newly converted cornerback Chris Hale manning the outside cornerback positions, Smith has also seen an improvement in the secondary over the course of spring practice.

“Actually a lot of the secondary I’m really good friends with like Chris Hale and Nate Soelberg and they‘re really coming along great” said Smith. “Nate Soelberg has gotten a lot stronger and a lot faster if you can believe it, so he’s really made some drastic leaps just over the last couple of months from last season till now. Chris Hale has really come along great, and you know he’s also making some jumps and catching the flow of it quickly, so they’re both doing really good.

“The other guys are starting to get into the string of things and they’re working hard and they’re starting to pick it up too, so I think we’ll be good especially when Kayle [Buchanon] comes back. He’s a good corner and he’s very good at reading routes and breaking on the ball, so I think we’ll be solid. Especially when the new guys coming in. Apparently we have some great JC DB’s coming in and they’ll add to the power we’ve got.”


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 -by TotalBlueSports.com  Mar 23, 2005
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 -by TotalBlueSports.com  Mar 22, 2005
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 -by TotalBlueSports.com  Mar 21, 2005

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