You will find more of that on defense, as they live their on-field existence a little closer to the mental edge than those on offense. On offense it's about style, but for Dallas South Oak defensive end Jacquies Smith, he leaves style to those who assume football is a prettier game than what it was meant to be.
"There's nothing pretty about football. It's not a sport for nice people, and you aren't asked to be nice on the field, at least on defense," Smith said. "That's like my whole approach to the game. I am aggressive, and I am not going to be shy about letting you, them or whoever, know just how I feel,"
Smith's vocal nature is something he enjoys as much as he uses it as a tool to get inside the minds of his opposition. I actually asked him to give me a few examples of just some of the milder things he might say to a QB once he put him down or any other player on that side of the ball.
I made the mistake, however, of asking for the "G"-rated version.
"I don't think I have one of those," Smith said with a hearty laugh.
OK, how about PG?
"Nope, probably not going to hear anything like that either," Jacquies continued with a chuckle.
"Ummm….I might have to think about that for a bit," Smith said, laboring to remember a single tirade where what he said might even be printable.
"Oh yeah, I've got a few for ya then," he said laughing even harder.
"I'll just tell you that when I am on the field, the quarterback knows, the person trying to stop me knows, the refs know and everyone who can hear, knows where I am."
And that's before the ball is even snapped.
With an average of around 11 tackles per game as a senior, including approximately 15 sacks, he had a lot of opportunities to talk to other guys laying on their back.
And he did
But if all Smith did was talk, he wouldn't be sitting on around a dozen offers, and we wouldn't be talking to him right now. His value comes from the fact that no matter how much he says, he seems very capable of backing it up. At 6-5 and just over 220 pounds, it's no secret what Smith is going to try and do to offenses. However, knowing it and stopping it are two different things. "I get off that edge fast. They know it's coming, but those tackles can't get off the ball like I can," Smith said. "I've got the heart to go all-out the entire game and I know how to finish off a play.
"This isn't a nice-guy sport. The nice guys are the ones who get beat while the aggressive ones are the ones doing the beating and the ones out there making plays. That's me."
It's no secret that Nebraska probably could have used some of those last year, as the Husker defense ranked as one of the worst statistical defenses in all of Division 1-A. The pass rush for the much-maligned blackshirts was almost non-existent. And due to the recent changeover in staff, some potential impact players, most specifically superstar defensive end Simi Kuli, who changed his mind about the Huskers, are no longer heading to Lincoln.
That means replacements and whereas coaches have been recruiting some of these young man for years, Nebraska has a couple of months. But for Smith, and what he's learned about Nebraska, he's willing to give them an honest look. "I know their new head coach (Bo Pelini) has done some great things with the LSU defenses the past couple of years. I guess you have to think they are going to try and duplicate that at Nebraska," Smith said.
"But I just started talking to them this week. I don't know much about them. But I'm willing to give them a look."
Smith said that as of right now, he hadn't been offered in writing by the Huskers, and that was mandatory if he was to even think about making an official visit to Lincoln. His favorites thus far are Michigan State and Missouri, who have both obviously offered the standout Texas prep DE. Jacquies even said that if Minnesota were to offer, he might consider them. But until the offer comes, the interest from his side will be minimal indeed.
"It's got to be legit. I have gotten to know the coaches from Missouri and Michigan State well enough, I feel really good about both those schools. I don't need to start looking at places who I don't think really want me there," he said. "So, if the offer comes, I'll probably make a visit, well, if it comes in time."
Smith said that he didn't have a strict timetable for his decision, Jacquies stating that he wouldn't mind playing this situation out with both Nebraska and Minnesota, just to see how interested either team really is. He still has an impending visit to Missouri around the second week of January, but he said that the actual date hasn't been set as of yet.
Jacquies said that he isn't overly concerned with what Nebraska or Minnesota does, because he likes his choices as of right now. But he admitted that more choices is always better.
"Yeah, the more schools you can look at as real possibilities, that's a better situation for me, because I really get to see stuff from a lot of angles," he said. "But I have my top two right now. I'm not ruling out those teams when it comes to having a chance. But they have to offer first or else there's no need for me to even take a look.
"That's what I am waiting for. I guess until that happens, my top two will probably stay the way it is."
Smith said that he currently has a 2.9 GPA.