You can sum up Brad Smith in one word, "scary". He is simply that. Brad has size, he has speed and a maturity well beyond his freshman youth. You can just ask Oklahoma how dangerous this young man is as he single-handedly kept MU in the game against the Sooners and if not for a couple of very freshman-like mistakes in the end, Smith could have taken his "star" status and turned it into instant "hero". Smith both won and lost that game, but what you saw from someone so young is a sign of things to come.
Is he the scariest QB that NU will have faced thus far? That is saying something, considering the fact that Nebraska just got done recently getting schooled by Heisman hopeful, Seneca Wallace. You know what? This kid is better. Quit looking at me like that. I am serious. Ok, he's not as refined a product as Seneca, but in terms of sheer talent, I'll take Smith over Wallace.
Here's a few reasons why:
Just looking at the numbers and when you factor in that Brad Smith is a frosh., my argument tends to find a little validity. While Wallace is averaging apprx. 294 yards in total offense per game, Smith betters him by almost 40 yards. While Wallace's mobility seems to be an issue, Smith clobbers Wallace, running for almost a full 500 more yards on the ground this season. Seneca does have the completion percentage to spank Smith thoroughly, but Smith is still throwing it at a rate of 53 percent. For a freshman, that's just pretty damn good. Especially as much as he throws on the run.
If you compared them straight-up with no regard to experience, Seneca would get the edge, but you can see my argument on talent. What Smith has done thus far in his first year is amazing.
At 6'3", Brad has more than ample size for his position. Smith might be considered a little light at around 200 lbs., but based on what you have seen him do when running the ball, I wouldn't put much more on if I could help it. Initially, I compared him to a Daunte Culpepper type, that was bigger, but could move well and make people miss. Smith is more agile than Culpepper and realistically, Smith's size would be compared to that of a wide receiver, whereas Culpepper could try out for defensive end. Regardless of the measurables though, their impact on their schools was and is amazing.
What you are looking at, when you see Brad Smith is a budding star, just coming into his own. He is the reason Missouri has won and gave teams like Oklahoma a real go. As young as he is though, you expect him to make mistakes and against the Sooners, those mistakes cost MU the game. By the same token though, MU wouldn't have even been in that game if not for him.
Much respect can be given to his two very talented wide-receivers, Justin Gage and Thomson Omboga. Each is impressive in what they can do to get open, but especially after the catch. Their effectiveness has made Brad Smith look good, but oh how Brad looks good all by himself. I know this kid is young, but to be this good at this age, it's "scary" to think at what the Big XII is in store for in the coming years.
And now, Nebraska has to stop him. Thus far, it's been Smith stopping himself most of the year, but there will come a time when he does put it all together in a game against a major opponent. The Huskers can only hope that it isn't this up-coming weekend.
Missouri has a lot of years of payback to give Nebraska and this year seems to be the opportunity everyone has waited for. Iowa State just did it, Colorado did it not even nine months ago and now, Missouri comes calling. Nebraska has seen this type of QB already this year and each time, they have lost.
When it comes to Brad Smith's talent and his youth, the Huskers can only hope to meet more of the latter, hoping the atmosphere of a home game in Lincoln and the dwindling mystique of playing the Big Red will cause (if but for a moment) those freshman mistakes to kick in.
Nebraska wanted to prove itself. Well, beating McNeese state doesn't do it, but beating Missouri and stopping Brad Smith might do just that.
Mr. Smith, meet Nebraska..........Nebraska , meet Mr. Smith.
May the best "team" win.
Just a small footnote. Thomson Oboga will not be in this game against Missouri as he cracked a rib against Troy State. He will be sorely missed by the Tigers and his absence is for an indefinite period of time.
Steve Ryan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 402-730-5619