The senior offensive lineman from Greenville started the first two games of the season at left guard before going down with a shoulder injury. Inserted into his place was Brandon Thomas, who's started seven of the eight games since, even after Smith was cleared to play.
"I've accepted the role and fully embraced it as a backup, because that's what the team needs," Smith said. "I was willing to give for my team. That's what we're here for, to help each other out."
With Phillip Price now on the shelf because of an MCL sprain, Thomas takes over as the starting left tackle. And Smith is back in the starting lineup at left guard.
"There won't be too much adjustment. We've all been prepared and cross-trained at different positions," Smith said.
FILLING IN FOR THE SUPERSTAR: All-everything wide receiver Sammy Watkins will be a game time decision on Saturday because of an AC sprain. If Clemson's leading pass catcher is unable to play against N.C. State, fellow freshman Adam Humphries will start and play in his place.
After Watkins went down in the third quarter against Wake Forest last week, Humphries caught three passes for 24 yards, upping his season total to nine catches for 70 yards.
Watkins has 68 receptions for 1,034 yards and 10 touchdowns.
"With Sammy's talent, I can't promise I'm going to do the same thing he's going to do. I just try to play my role and do the best I can at our position. I feel I do a pretty good job of that."
TWICE IS NICE: Brandon Ford has three touchdown catches during his Clemson career. Two of the three have required replay reviews to confirm that they were indeed catches.
The first was in last year's Meineke Car Care Bowl.
"I had possession of the ball and came down. After both of my knees hit, the ball came out a second after," Ford said. "I really didn't think I caught it. They reviewed it and they gave it to me."
No. 2 was last week against Wake Forest.
"I started in the back of the end zone. I had [the defender] beat on the route, but Tajh [Boyd] got forced out of the pocket. I saw him running and I knew I had one-on-one. I tried to go around [the defender] and he gave me a nudge," Ford said.
"Had he not touched me at all, they would have ruled it no catch. I slipped around him and I just got both feet in bounds. They confirmed it."
Ford is hoping for more confirmations Saturday afternoon against the Wolfpack, too.
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