Brandon Smith saves best for last

Senior wide receiver <B>Brandon Smith</b> finished the season vs. Tennessee with the finest game of his Vanderbilt career, hauling in 8 passes for 160 yards including an 80-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown. Smith talks about the game, the big plays, and about what his future now holds.

Q: Today you guys were able to get some quick openers today in order to keep the rush off of Jay Cutler. Is that something you were hoping to do today, catching the ball and turning it into some big yards after the catch?

Senior wide receiver Brandon Smith: Yeah. That's what I tried to work on during the off-season, getting yards after the catch. We did a pretty good job of that today with the stuff underneath, trying to keep the heat off of Jay. We knew they had some pretty young cornerbacks, so we were going to try to get some things off of them. I didn't know I was going to do anything like that though. But that's football for you.

Q: It just kept happening. What was it that they tried to do that didn't work?

A: I don't know. We just looked for the underneath stuff. The linebackers were dropping out of there really quick. That's UT's M. O., try to get pressure on the quarterback. We just took advantage of that.

Q: How nice is it to finally play these guys where you really scare them in a game.

A: It's real big. Especially the past couple of years, you know we kind of went in there and laid down. We couldn't really get our offense going. So this was pretty big for us. I don't think they were really expecting that. We just tried to keep it going, and I wish we'd had a little more time. Maybe we could have pulled it out.

Q: Talk about the "play" [an 80-yard touchdown catch-and-run].

A: It was a slant. Just a 188. I caught a ball and the cornerback slipped off me, and I was off to the races after that. I think he just missed the tackle. In this league when you miss one tackle, somebody's got the potential to take it to the house.

Q: Talk about the other play, when you tipped the ball.

A: I talked to Jay, and he said he was throwing it to me, but it just worked out like that. I thought Marlon White was going to take that one to the house too, but he got caught. I got turned around and I thought the ball was going to be intercepted. I'm like, "Oh, no!" Then I saw Marlon come out of nowhere and turn it up. I'm like, "OK, we're all right."

Q: Your career is over now. Talk about your emotions. You certainly haven't won as many games as you would have liked.

A: This was my last one. I had to play big, for myself, for my family watching. And I did that. But I would probably give all that up for the win. We went out pretty good. I wish we could have got the win, but unfortunately it didn't work out for us.

Q: What does your future hold?

A: Hey, hopefully I'll be able to get to the next level. I'll work out and work hard during the off-season, and hopefully I'll look good in front of some of these scouts.

Q: Are you going to give it a full-bore effort to try to make it to the NFL?

A: Everything. Whatever it takes.

Q: Is it going to be kind of weird to wake up tomorrow, and there's no more games to play?

A: Yeah, it's gonna be really weird, especially this coming off-season, knowing that I don't have to go to winter workouts any more. I'll get used to it, hopefully. But hopefully not too used to it, so I can get ready for next season.


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