Smith Excited To Be Back

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Sophomore cornerback Rashard Smith missed all of last season with a knee injury, but he was cleared to return to action in January and is participating in spring practice. Smith talks with Pack Pride about his progress in this exclusive Q&A.

Sophomore cornerback Rashard Smith missed all of last season with a knee injury, but he was cleared to return to action in January and is participating in spring practice. Smith talks with Pack Pride about his progress in this exclusive Q&A.

Could you have returned to action at any point during the 2010 season?
I didn't have my surgery until July, so that backed it up. There wasn't any point of me playing at the end. We were having a good season and everyone was playing well. Plus, I wasn't 100%.

When were you cleared to return to action?
The doctor cleared me in mid-January. Hearing those words that I was good go to go... it felt like being a little kid in a candy store. I knew I was back doing what I love to do... playing football again.

What was it like out there that first day of practice when you returned?
It was like starting all over from day one. Being able to come back out there, just be around the team and help them out... it was exciting. Words can't really explain how I felt coming back out that first day.

How do you believe the secondary performed last year?
As a unit we played pretty good. We had spurts where we gave up plays we shouldn't have but every secondary gives up some big plays. As a unit we played well. We held up our end of the bargain and came through at the end of the year.

How do you feel the group is performing this spring?
We are looking good. We're a veteran group, probably the most experienced outside of the linebackers with Audie Cole and Terrell Manning.

Everybody came back. We have one senior, Justin Byers, and he's doing a good job leading the group. We have back C.J. Wilson, David Amerson, Jarvis Byrd, all of us. We're doing real good.

Have you been playing the boundary cornerback or field cornerback position?
Well, I play both sides, but most of the time I play in the boundary. We rotate a lot though so we can play both.

Sometimes coach will tell me to go to the field, but I'm penciled in at the boundary corner. However, if we go to another grouping I can play in the field too.

Do you have a preference?
I don't care. I just want to play. It doesn't matter which I play. I want to help the team win.

Are you still returning kicks on special teams?
As of right now I'm doing punts, and I think I'l be returning them with T.J. Graham, but I don't know for sure. That's up to coach Petercuskie.

What's it like as a defensive back to be able to return kicks?
That's exciting. I feel like it's high school all over again. I was a quarterback in high school, and I had the ball in my hands making plays. It's exciting. I love returning punts.

What are your thoughts on defensive backs coach Mike Reed?
Coach Reed is a good guy. He played in the league and coached on all different levels. He knows what it takes to win, and he knows the tools we need at defensive back to be good.


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