Jesse Smith Q&A

From an all-stater at Southeast Polk to a walk-on at ISU, Jesse Smith has finally arrived as a Cyclone. On Wednesday, Gene Chizik awarded him a scholarship, which only seems fitting for a young man that is vying for a starting position at linebacker.

Q:  Talk about what it was like when you found out they were going to put you on scholarship.


Smith:  Amazing…exciting…relief…all of those. It's basically the last two years I've walked on.  This was my goal besides helping the team win and you can imagine how I felt.


Q:  Talk about the summer…going through Coach Shepherd's conditioning program.  What impact did that have on your game?


Smith:  It was amazing.  Coach Shep did a wonderful job with us this summer.  All summer he worked us hard and got us in shape and it's really paying off this fall.  I don't feel out of shape one bit and we can run the ball all day.


Q:  Talk about the guys that you're playing next to and overall the unit and how you guys are feeling about where you guys came from and getting ready for the Kent State game.


Smith:  We've come a long ways.  Of course, when Coach Chizik got here we had to learn a new system and I think right now we've got the system down and right now it's about making plays.

Q:  How good do you think this defense can be?


Smith:  Potential is there.    We've just got to work hard and do our stuff and work for the next game.


Q:  Who right now is running with the ones?  We know the ultimate decision is on the 30th at kickoff, but right now who is running with the ones right now?


Smith:  We've got lots of competition right now.  It'll be whoever works the hardest.


Q:  What are some of the things that you all have to do between now and the beginning of the season to be ready for the Kent State game?


Smith:  Get in the film room…that's a big part of it and we've got to practice.  If you're not getting better every day, you're getting worse so we've got to get better.


Q:  How important has the competition been to the morale of this team?  Yesterday, Coach McFarland shared with us some of the starters and a lot of them are guys that we would have thought were there, but how important has it been for the team to know that every guy could earn a spot if they competed and showed up.

Smith:  As a walk-on, that's all it is…competition.  You see the guy ahead of you and basically you try to beat him out.  It's like being second place in a race.  You strive harder to get in first.  Competition is very important and we've got a lot of it here so it's working well for us.


Q:  How good can this team be?


Smith:  We can be very good.  We've got to be fundamentally sound and do our job.  If 11 players do their job, we will win.

Q:  We know that there has been right before the season, some off-season problems.  How do the players pull together to make sure that doesn't happen here?


Smith:  We're very close off the field.  We hang out together at night and if we hear about someone not doing the right thing or not going to make the right choice…we tell them not to.  We're a unit on and off the field.  We're going to try to make the right decisions no matter where we are.

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