Smith Learning the System

Freshman linebacker Scott Smith from Highland Park, Ill., is beginning week three of the Notre Dame Fall camp. As a senior in high school he had 143 tackles, four sacks and two interceptions. The inside linebacker made a school record 23 tackles against Vernon Hills in 2004 and also had an 18-tackle game in the 2003 Cary Grove contest. Irish Eyes spoke with the freshman about the transition from the high school game to the college level.

Although Scott Smith was a three-year starter in high school, he knew there would be challenges in his first camp on the college level.

"It's going good," said Smith of his first fall camp with the Irish. "It's just a whole new learning experience for me. Everybody has been great and helping me learn. I'm just doing everything I can to help the team win and get on the bus to Pittsburgh.

"The biggest challenges are adjusting to the speed of everything and just coming out every day and keep learning and keep getting better--ultimately pursuing that one goal of just getting on the bus."

About this time last year the Illinois native was preparing for his outstanding senior season but said this year it is a different story.

"It's a lot different. It's very different but it's an exciting time," he said comparing this year and last season. "Everybody here is really excited about the upcoming season, and we are all focused on Pittsburgh coming up on September 3rd. We are doing everything we can to get ready for that game."

The rookie linebacker says there is a lot to learn about the defense and he has been impressed with the experienced Irish coaching staff.

"All the coaches have been great," Smith said. "They are trying to teach us everything they can and make sure everybody is on the same page with everything all the time.

"Coach Minter is doing everything he can to make sure that everyone knows what they are supposed to do and knows where they are supposed to be. All the coaches are making sure we are prepared, so that when we get the opportunity to be in the games, we are ready."

Smith says he's not worrying about the depth chart at this time, and he just wants to make a positive impact on the team this season in some way.

"I don't know anything about the depth chart," he said. "I'm just trying to do everything I can to get out on the field and help the team win. I'm not really sure what helping the team win is going to entail. But whatever I can do to help the team prepare to go into a game or actually playing in the games is what I am going to do to help the team out."

The former Illinois all-State player is impressed by the help offered by his teammates but has special praise for two of the veteran linebackers.

"All the players have been real great, especially the two fifth-year senior linebackers," said Smith. "Brandon Hoyte and Corey Mays are great guys and they are willing to help out any way they can. They know the situation for freshmen coming in and what we have been through. They have advice that only comes with experience. I am trying to learn a lot from them and how to improve my game. They have just really been a big help."

Smith says he has only one definite goal at this time for this season. "The biggest goal is just to get on the bus for September 3rd. Just to be out there at Pitt," he said.


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