After Thursday's camp workout in Knoxville, the Ooltewah, Tenn., native and former U.S. Army All-American spoke of how much more comfortable he feels with his new role on the Volunteer defense. His expectations for himself and his teammates continue to raise.
"The best way to become a good football player is to know how to do, what to do and why you're doing it. If every single football player on the field knows that, then I think we have a great chance of being a good football team," he said.
Vol defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri delivered a lengthy message to Smith and the linebacker corps following Thursday's workout.
"We just need to continually improve no matter how we feel, no matter how our mind feels no matter what play busts and no matter what opportunity may come in the game. We've just got to be able to adjust to whatever happens, especially adversity whenever it's not in your favor."
See what the Tennessee junior had to say to reporters at the Neyland-Thompson Sports Center in the video below:
No member of the trio has clearly set himself apart from the others and, as of right now, all three are likely to get carries every Saturday.
Given his success picking up free blitzers and picking up chunks of yardage on dumpoffs his freshman campaign, Lane does look like he has third-down duties locked down.
Lane is now roughly two years removed from a knee injury sustained on the prep level as a back at Mainland (Fla.) High School. Thus, Vol fans did not see the 100-percent version in 2011.
Take a gander at what No. 15 said to reporters Thursday in this interview:
Sophomore linebacker Curt Maggitt along with fellow teammates got a long talking to from defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri after what Maggitt called a "bad day" from the Tennessee defense. Maggitt, who is slotted as the starting SAM linebacker told reporters he has learned as many as four positions in Sunseri's new 3-4 defense.
The 6-foot-3, 240-pound West Palm Beach, Fla., native is coming off an amazing freshman season in which he tallied 56 tackles, eight tackles for loss, one sack and one forced fumble. Maggitt ranked second among all SEC freshmen with 5.1 tackles per game behind teammate and fellow sophomore A.J. Johnson.
Despite a monster season under Justin Wilcox, Maggitt could be more excited about the possibilities for production in Sunseri's new defense where the playmaker could have his hand in the dirt more often rushing the passer. Maggitt cites Sunseri's "more aggressive" play calling for the possibilities in 2012.
Fore more on how Thursday's practice at the NTSC went, see what coach Derek Dooley had to say: