Pack Pride Q&A: Rashard Smith

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Pack Pride talks with NC State senior wide receiver Rashard Smith about spring practice.

Pack Pride talks with NC State senior wide receiver Rashard Smith about spring practice.

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Talk about being able to now focus exclusively on receiver.
It's a big difference. Now I can just focus on the offensive playbook. When I was playing on both sides of the ball I had to focus on the offensive playbook when I was on offense and the defensive playbook when I was on defense.

Now that I'm just a receiver there is a lot more coaching, and I can just hone in on skills that I need to improve on to be a great receiver.

Do you feel this system fits your skillset maybe better than what you've done previously?
The system is great.

Just like last year, coach Bible's system fit guys. This system with coach Canada, he has a system that fits guys.

We just come out here and work hard. Coach says players play so we just have to make plays when they put the ball in our hands.

How much confidence do you gain from returning punts?
Being able to return punts and make plays for the team, it builds the team up. If I can get the confidence in my team, they pick me up from there.

We just get rolling. We always try to get the offense an extra first down as a punt returner. That's what I try to do... get an extra 10 yards every punt return to gain momentum.

What's it been like to work with Pete and Manny?
They are great guys. Two different quarterbacks... they both have their own skills. We all have something to work on, and they both are great at quarterback.

They are coming out here and working hard, competing, to see who is going to get the job. I like playing with both of them.

What are the goals this year for the receivers... with Tobais [Palmer] no longer out here?
We have players that have to pick it up for Tobais. Tobais has a great senior season, and we're going to miss him. He was a great player.

We need to have extra players like Maurice Morgan, Charlie Hegedus, myself, Bryan Underwood, Quintin Payton [step up], and we have some freshmen that we have to bring along.

We need guys to step in and pick up where Tobais left off.

You're one of the veteran wideouts. How have you been working with the younger wideouts?
We've got two seniors, myself and Quinton Payton. We try to keep each receiver focused. Coming back, there's only three receivers that played last year, me, Bryan and Quinton. And Charlie, Charlie got some time last year, plus a touchdown.

So we still have to keep everybody focused. We have to bring them in and watch film. We have to talk to them when they do wrong. We've got to congratulate them when they do right. We can't jump them because I mean they've got no experience, but we've got to get on to them so they won't lack off.

So we've got to pick everyone else up so they can come along too. We've got to have everyone with us on this train.

Not a lot of receivers out here right now... more work for you?
It's good. Being able to come out here and get reps with the fast-paced offense, I can run myself into shape and get more reps where I can understand the playbook more.

A lot of times when there is a coaching change that first season is a wasted year because of the change, but it doesn't seem like you guys want it to be like that.
We have a bus-load of seniors this year, and guys want to win this year. Coach Canada always says where else do we wan to be than right here, right now.

We can't wait until next year to win the ACC. We have to do it this year. We have to come out here and work hard every day... take the coaching, take the criticism. We have to learn from it.

How much different is the offense?
Coach Canada bought in a more up-tempo offense. We've got different formations. It's a 360-degree turn. In the pro-style offense you know it's more hot reads, it's more running the ball. We're more balanced. Here, we're keeping the defense on their toes. We've just got to come out here and execute the offense.

How excited are you for the spring game?
We're looking forward to the spring game. More competition to see who's going to be on what team, what quarterback is going to be controlling the other team.

Everybody comes out. We're just looking to put on another show in the stadium.


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