James Smith Interview Transcript

A transcript of our interview with one of ISU's fastest players, who slowed down long enough to chat with us this week.

CN: Now, there's obviously a change from last year. Talk about some of the differences between this year and last year, and what it's like playing for Coach Chizik.

Smith: You, know, obviously there's been a change, forming another coaching staff and different things like that. Expectations are always great in college football, so with every coaching staff, we've just got to work hard, come out and work every day.

CN: Now, what are your expectations for the season? I know it's early, but what are you looking for this year?

Smith: You know, every team expects to have a good season, but we're taking things one day at a time, learning the new system and things like that. So, we need to have a winning season next year, and just go out there and play football like we know we can.

CN: Coach Sheppard . . . in talking to Bret he said that first time he got up at 4:30 in the morning was an eye-opener. Talk about Coach Sheppard, his intensity and also the program that he put you guys through the last five weeks.

Smith: Okay, it was a big eye-opener, the intensity and the effort, the level was great; everybody was just going out there, you know, busting their butts. It was just crazy and everybody was just ready to go.

CN: What have the first three practices been like?

Smith: They've been like a learning session, basically, you know, just learning the plays and the alignment and things like that. So, it's kind of frustrating for us, and probably the coaches, too, but at the same time we're learning new things, so it's going to eventually come to us.

CN: Now what are some of the individual things, or unit things, that they have you working on right now?

Smith: It's like the same thing, you know. We work on alignment, footwork, things like that, just our keys, just the basic stuff.

CN: Are you guys working a lot more, say, on technique this year than you did last year, or in terms of even the early part of practice, what are some of the differences between before and now?

Smith: I mean, I don't really want to compare last year to this year, because obviously that was a different coaching staff, but this coaching staff, they expect a lot out of us, you know, technique and all that, but it's basically the same, we just work on technique and things like that.

CN: In talking to Alvin Bowen on Saturday, he absolutely believes you guys are going to compete for and win the Big 12 North. Talk about competing for that, and then also, are those expectations based on the résumé of the coaching staff that you have now, or are they based on what's been done on a day-to-day basis in the last few weeks?

Smith: I mean, we're all coming out here every day working hard, working hard in the weight room, working hard indoors, working hard in practice. So, as players we expect . . . we expect great things out of each other. So we're going to hold each other accountable to just come up and step up to the plate and help each other out, so we can possibly have that chance to win the Big 12.

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