The beginning of a dictatorship?

While attending his first Big Ten conference media event in Chicago, John L. Smith talked about the direction of his team, the status of Jeff Smoker and why you will no longer see No. 1 on the field.

Smith told his team that he is dictator and that they will have to follow his rules in order to become the disciplined team he demands.

In doing so he has put a ban on the No. 1 jersey and had the names on the back of the jersey removed to enforce the team concept. He said his coaching staff is still working to instill the discipline and it'll be up to the team to determine their success.

In the press conference on www.bigten.org, Smith stated: "The want is there, but we're going to have to see if the talent is there. Not a lot of people are expecting too much from us and that's good. The biggest question is how much we're expecting from ourselves."

On too personnel decisions, Smith said that quarterback Drew Stanton is still the No. 1 option, but that the competition is far from over. Smith even hinted that Jeff Smoker will hopefully find himself in the mix vying for the top spot. Smith said he doesn't know if or when Smoker will get his chance, because the ball is in his court.

Smith said he and the staff have worked hard and will continue to work to help Smoker get on the right track.

Smith also indicated that he expects junior running back Tyrell Dortch to man the backfield and that the offensive line is by far one of the biggest strengths on this team. He said he expects to lineup freshmen at the wide out position and is real comfortable at tight end with Eric Knott and Jason Randall.

The biggest question of this team continues to be the defensive. Smith said the lack of depth at every position makes for a fragile situation. He believes his D-Line of Greg Taplin, Brandon McKinney, Matthias Askew and Clifford Dukes will be strong and that the linebacking core is young and because of that there will be mistakes. The secondary is also very young and there is still a need for quality backups.


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