Smith Presents Challenges to Struggling Defense

It doesn't take much effort to figure out the key to the Missouri Tigers offense. It all starts with versatile quarterback Brad Smith. This Saturday, the Texas Tech defense will look to rebound from a tough game by stopping one of the few quarterbacks in the country that can truly run and pass well.

When asked about Missouri, Texas Tech Head Coach Mike Leach was quick to point out that Brad Smith was the biggest potential problem. "The biggest challenge they present is Brad Smith. He's the ultimate multi-dimensional guy," said Coach Leach. The sophomore quarterback garnered national attention during his freshman year, and has continued to receive accolades this season. The real danger from Smith is that you have to account for his various abilities in every situation, because he does everything well. While the phrase multi-dimensional is attached to a lot of players, very few can live u pto the label. "There are all these guys that people claim they can run and throw, and the truth of the matter is that most of them can't. Most of them are better at one then the other. They are good at throwing and then they can run some, or they are really good at running and they can sort of throw," said Leach. Brad Smith breaks that mold by excelling in both areas. "This guy can really do both, he really can run and throw," said Leach.

Brad Smith is an extremely solid passer, throwing for 1,064 8 touchdowns while only giving up 3 interceptions. His passing ability distinguishes him from the rest of the "dual threat" quarterbacks in the conference. He has shown good accuracy and decision making on a variety of routes. Most importantly for Missouri is that he won't hurt his team by passing the ball. If forced to pass, Smith can get the job done.

Smith's running game is what garnered the national attention and for good reason. "Some kids are really quick, but they don't have top-end speed. This kid is really quick and he can really run, and he's very bright. He's a real burden," said Defensive Coordinator Lyle Setencich. Smith has rushed for 560 yards and 7 touchdowns this season. He really becomes dangerous near the endzone, where his scrambling ability has led to several of those touchdowns. Whether it's a designed play or broken down play, Smith will hurt teams with his feet. Texas Tech had some problems containing A&M's McNeal, so they might face some more problems this weekend. The success of the Red Raider defense will really come down to the linebackers' ability to keep Smith contained.


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