One on One With Chris Smelley

Quarterback Chris Smelley saw action in USC's first two games of the 2006 season, but after suffering a heel injury, he sat out the remainder of the year in order to be granted a medical redshirt. The highly touted signal caller got back to work this spring, and while he had his ups and downs like any young quarterback, Smelley showed progress while battling for the back up quarterback spot. recently caught up with Smelley and spoke with him about his progress this spring and much more:

Question: How would you say this spring went for you?

Answer: My spring was decent. It started out a little slow, and it got better… I got a little better at the end of the spring, and I had a good time out there (Saturday). We still have stuff to work on. We made some good plays, but we definitely have a lot to work on over the summer so we can get better. We have a lot of areas for improvement.

Question: Did Tommy Beecher's injury open the door for you to establish yourself more in the Garnet and Black Game?

Answer: Yeah, I wasn't really expecting to play the entire game, but I think it was good for me to get out there. We had a good crowd out there, and it was a chance to see what I could do with a little pressure on.

Question: How valuable was the game experience that you received early last season?

Answer: It was definitely valuable. I got in there for two games. Those were my first two game to put on a college uniform, and I think that definitely prepared me a little bit. It knocked down the nerves some for when I do get my shot again.

Question: What areas do you think you've improved the most in during your first year in the program?

Answer: I've gotten more comfortable with the offense and what we're trying to do with the scheme we're running. Feeling a lot more comfortable under center will help me be more confident out there.

Caption: Chris Smelley attempts a pass during Saturday's Garnet and Black Game.

Question: What are your thoughts on the wide receivers this spring?

Answer: I think our wide receiver group has a chance to be real good. We've got some fast guys, we've got some juky guys, and we've got some guys that are tall. We've got all the kind of receivers you need to put it together and have a good combination.

Question: Have any of the new or younger receivers caught your eye out there?

Answer: We've got a lot of guys that look good. Moe Brown, Larry Freeman and Jared Cook are a few that have done some good things out there.

Question: Can you talk about Jared Cook's progress since last season?

Answer: Jared Cook has looked great. He's one of those tall, fast guys that when you get in trouble, you can put it up to kind of like Sidney (Rice) was last year. I think he's got a chance to do some real good things this year.

Question: What's it like working as a quarterback under Coach Spurrier?

Answer: It's as good as it gets for a quarterback. With his track record and the guys that he's coached, what he's done speaks for itself as far as teaching quarterbacks and getting the most out of guys.

Question: How's the recruiting process going for your brother (Brad Smelley) so far?

Answer: He's getting some attention. He picked up an offer from Alabama not too long ago, and he's got some other schools looking at him. I think I might be more excited about it than he is as far as the whole recruiting thing and him going through it.

Question: Do you think your brother will end up playing football or baseball?

Answer: He's real solid at both, and that's just something that he's going to have to decide what he wants to do, but he's got a chance to excel at both I think.

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