Smythe Talks Summer

Following Belton's 48-42 overtime victory over Lake Travis at the Lake Travis 7-on-7 SQT, tight end Durham Smythe said he was excited to see the Tiger offense take off.

With the scores often pushing up against Playstation numbers, it would be easy to place blame on the defense. But Smythe said that it was up to the offense to take advantage of matchups.

"7-on-7 is definitely an offensive game," Smythe said. "So you can't really count on too many stops from your defense, even when they're playing well. So as an offense, you have to go out there and try to score every time. At the end of the game, we started catching on and doing that."

That included several clutch catches from the Texas commitment, renowned for his ability to act as a target in the passing game. And despite the absence of pads in 7-on-7 contests, Smythe said it was a great way to improve as a football player.

"At the high school level, it's very important because you have to develop chemistry with your quarterback," Smythe said. "But you're also out here running routes and catching balls, so that helps you not just at the high school level, but at the next level, too."

If Saturday's 7-on-7 was any indication, several of Smythe's skills project to the next level. He's tall, at 6-foot-5, and has the frame to put on plenty of good weight without losing any speed. And he excelled as a route-runner and pass-catcher, rarely letting the ball get to his chest, and plucking it out of the air with big, soft hands.

Indeed, the one knock on Smythe coming in was his lack of ideal bulk, but Smythe said that he was 233 pounds, and said that he wanted to put on more weight — ball-parking a goal at 240 pounds by the start of the season — while retaining his speed that makes him a threat in the passing game.

Once the season does kick off, he should be one of several threats on a talented Belton team that could put together a strong season.

"We do have a lot of key starters returning from last year on both the offensive and the defensive sides of the ball," Smythe said. "Really the only position we needed to rebuild this spring was the offensive line, and they've come a long way. You have to have some luck, but if that goes right, we definitely have the pieces to make a run."

Smythe said he felt good about his high school team (which qualified for state 7-on-7 at that same SQT), just as he feels good about his college choice. But unlike a lot of players raised in the Lone Star State — especially those so close to Austin — Smythe didn't grow up wanting to be a Longhorn.

" It's weird because growing up, I never really liked Texas," Smythe said. "My dad played at Baylor. My sister went to Tech. So (Texas) was always kind of a rival. We were always against them.

"But when I started taking my visits, it really comes down to where you're the most comfortable," Smythe said. "And it really wasn't close. I went to Stanford, I went to all the Texas schools, things like that, but it wasn't close. I was by far the most comfortable at Texas."

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