During his time at Florida State, Antone Smith has been living his lifelong dream. He says he has used his opportunity to play football for the Seminoles and has not taken it for granted one bit. "I come from a place where there isn't a whole lot of opportunity so for me this has been a way out for me."
When is comes to keeping his focus on doing what he knows is right and staying on track, he gives all the credit in the world to one woman. "My mom is my everything," Said Smith, "She motivates me more than anything. She keeps me focused more than anything else. She came up this weekend just to spend time with me. Things like that make me and my mom so close."
While Smith is extremely close to his mother, he has never really had a true father figure to look up to. Since arriving at Florida State, that continued to be the case until Coach Bowden hired a new running backs coach in Dexter Carter last season. "It's a privilege to work with him (Carter)". Smith said of the former Florida State standout, "He inspires me. He has been more than just a coach. He's been a great friend and he's been like a father figure to me. I don't really have a significant father really back home outside my step dad but he has been like one to me."
When it comes to on the field performance, Antone said the only person he wants to prove anything to is himself. "I don't have anything to prove. The only person who I have to prove anything to is myself and I know I can do it."
Antone is finally 100% healthy heading into his 2008 campaign and is expecting big things out of himself personally. Smith had underachieved to most during the 2007 football season but blew up in the bowl game for over 150 yards on the ground; and Antone was pleased with that performance but wants to do more this season. "I don't just want to give them (the fans) that. I want to give them more. I want to run for more touchdowns, more yards, more everything."
Smith isn't just talking the talk when it comes to his plans for his final season in garnet and gold; he has been working hard off the field to ensure he achieves all of his goals. "I did a lot of yoga this summer. It's going to help a lot. I can definitely feel the difference."
Smith says fans can expect a much more elusive running back this season. "I feel like I can really cut on a dime and I'm a lot more precise with my movements now. I'm not necessarily more flexible but it has definitely helped with my hip movements. I've also been doing a lot more swimming trying to get my shoulders stronger. I want to be a lot tougher to bring down this year than I was last year."
When it comes to overall team performance, Antone thinks that the talent level of the Seminoles is the least of the problems. The senior running back says it all comes down to doing the little things in order to bring Florida State back to dominance. "Look at it like this" Smith said, "a team like Wake Forest doesn't have a lot of talent. Then you have FSU who has all the talent they need. But Wake Forest beat us in back to back seasons. The main reason for that is attention to detail. They do a great job of it and we don't."
Smith believes by paying more attention to the little things, the team can have a solid season that shows in the win column; and he won't accept anything less. "This university has fallen in the past and we need to get it back to where it used to be. 7-6 seasons are not acceptable at all. I want to go out with at least a 9 or 10 win season. Anything less is unacceptable."
Smith enters the season at the team's starting running back but is expected to be pushed by junior college transfer Tavares Pressley. As far as if the job is open heading into camp, Coach Bowden doesn't think so. "Smith is our guy," said Florida State's head ball coach, "and the job is his to lose."