Phil Smith: One Word, "Philthy"

Phil Smith's name didn't come into the 2008 Georgia Tech recruiting picture until the final month of recruiting. The redshirt freshman from Tampa Jesuit continued the pipeline from that school and is looking to make a name for himself as the other Jesuit players did when they arrived at Tech. Phil talks about the offensive line competition and his chances of playing this season.

Phil Smith - Profile

Let's take care of the important question first. How did you get your nickname?

"One day Coach Spencer said that I had a filthy stance. I don't think he realized PHILTHY. He was just saying you have a bad stance. All the other guys just caught on to it and just kept on with it."

How does the fact that the offensive line hangs out together translate to play on the field?

"What I think it really helps with is that we know what the other guy is thinking. We know that if the linebacker walks up on the line before the snap we don't have to call something. We know what the other guy is thinking and it generally works out for the best."

This preseason you've played on both ends at offensive tackle. Is there much difference depending on which side you're on?

"No, not really, it's the same steps on both sides. You just have to think about which way you're stepping depending on whether you're on the right or the left. It can be confusing but after a while you get the hang of it."

Do you feel like you have a stronger side?

"Not really, we practice both steps on the field and it's really not that big of a deal."

What has the competition been like out there this preseason?

"It's been pretty strong for all positions. I feel like we have a group of solid tackles out there. Everyone's working hard and everyone is trying to get that starting spot. For the rest of the team, I feel we have some good competition everywhere.

What was it like having to take that redshirt season?

"It was tough knowing that you weren't going to be able to play, but the good thing was Coach Ciano really helped me out. We set up extra workouts aside from the regular team workouts. What it really helped me do was get a grasp of the offense and I got a lot stronger."

Did the coaches have you working on anything that they wanted you to improve?

"Not specifically, they just told us to work on our steps in practice. We'd go to all the meetings. The thing we really missed out on was going to the away games with all the preparation for the games."

Did you have any goals going into the preseason?

"My main goal was to get stronger and faster so that I could compete for the starting spot. My goal wasn't necessarily to get the starting spot but to work my hardest to help the team out in any way I could."

It looks like you have a great shot at being in the two deep. Have they talked to you at all about that?

"They really haven't told us. I'm sure they'll tell us before the game."

Do you feel that you'll be out on the field this year?

"I'd say so. I feel like I've been working pretty hard. I won't say I deserve it because a lot of the other guys worked just as hard. It will come down to the last second as to who will be in the two deep."

Does the offensive line have any goals set for the season?

"Pretty much all of us feel we didn't do a good job last year, or we didn't do as good of a job as we could have done. Our job is to open up lanes for Dwyer and get the team as many touchdowns as possible."

Are you looking at tomorrow as one of the last chances to audition for playing time?

"Yeah, I think it is but it's also a day to get better. It's also a chance to work on my steps in a game situation. That's really going to help me especially since I redshirted last year."

What's your perception of the new defensive line now that you've had a chance to go up against them?

"They are a very hard working group. They're all very good in my opinion. I worked against the guys that left last year on the scout team. That really helped me out a lot. These guys are all very strong, big, and fast. They're all just as good." Top Stories