Lineman Experiences Dramatic Improvement

ASU has always prided itself in securing the services of the best local prep players. Defensive Lineman David Smith was the EV Tribune 2003 Defensive Player of the Year, and certainly qualified as that type of prospect. Smith had to take care of business in the classroom to qualify, and that level of dedication on the field is making ASU thankful they were able to secure his services.

At Hamilton High School in Chandler, Smith ended an illustrious three-year career as the Huskies' sack leader (25 1/2). In his senior year, where he won the 5A state championship he collected 9 1/2 sacks, 90 total tackles, including 45.5 tackles for loss. In 2005 he came off a redshirt year, and saw limited time mainly towards the end of the season. In 11 games he had five total tackles, two tackles for loss and two fumble recoveries.

"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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