The Alex update
Q: Are you starting to get a little more comfortable out there every day? Smith: I'm getting there, yeah, absolutely. I think it's something the more reps I take, the more I do it, the more I get comfortable with it. I'm still not where I need to be, but I'm getting better. Q: Are you getting used to the speed of the game at this level, too? Smith: Oh, yeah. I think if you take as many reps as I have the last three days, you're going to get more comfortable. I got a lot of reps in the (organized team activities) and minicamps, and that helped a lot. To get out here in pads, it's a little faster, but it's great getting adjusted. I'm getting better in that way too. Q: Did you expect to spend this much time with the first-unit offense in the first four days of camp? Smith: Honestly, I didn't know what to expect. I'm pretty fortunate right now. I'm getting a lot of good looks and learning a lot. Q: Would you expect it to stay this way? Smith: No expectations, you know? I'll know when the coach tells us, and right now it's staying like this. So I just need to take advantage of those reps. Q: Do you take it as sort of an affirmation that you are doing well that you continue to be up there with the team? Smith: I think it's more of the fact that they want to see what I can handle. I think they want to see how much I can take and how well I'm going to do with that much on my shoulders. I'm just trying to do the best I can to meet those expectations. Q: But you have no problem with the expectations, right? Smith: Absolutely. I'm kind of living in the playbook right now, but yeah, coming out here it feels good to take all those reps. It feels good to learn as much as I am. I feel pretty fortunate. I knew I had a lot to learn coming into this camp, and as much as I've learned in the last three or four days, who knows where I'll be at the end of the month. Q: And, in this day an age, it's not like you have to wait years to step in as the starter. You could be ready to play as a rookie, right? Smith: Obviously, that's the goal I have for myself, so we'll see. It's pretty early in camp and there's a long road ahead. Q: Do you feel like they're throwing a lot at you, that's there's been a lot of volume of stuff to absorb? Smith: Not necessarily right now. I would have definitely felt that way (in the spring). I don't think I was at this skill stage in the minicamps, and putting my time in early, I think that's what made a difference. I got to actually get the whole offense installed once. So, right now, at least I've gone over everything. At least it's somewhat in my mind. Obviously, I'm still learning, but it's not everything for the first time, which is nice. Q: How difficult is it to learn how to read defenses? Smith: It's just different. Obviously, I read defenses for some time (in college). But each offense is more specific, and it's going to be different, it's going to be unique, you're going to read defenses a certain way. You're going to look at certain things, and I'm just trying to get used to that. Q: Is one of the keys to all these reps getting used to all your wide receivers that you're going to be throwing to? Smith: Absolutely, to get familiar with everyone. I think that's the one thing during OTAs and minicamps, we were so focused on just getting the offense installed that we didn't really have one-on-one periods. We didn't just quarterbacks and receivers throwing routes. And it's nice now because you actually do get those periods where you throw one-on-one with the (defensive backs), so you get comfortable with throwing certain routes. Whereas in OTAs and minicamps, sometimes I threw up the first time in the team period. I didn't know what it was going to be like. So now, to really get comfortable with the receivers is nice, it's refreshing. You feel confident when you go into team drills. Q: Is it valuable to you have a veteran receiver such as Johnnie Morton around to work with? Smith: I've talked with him several times. I think it's just great for the whole passing game to have a guy like that to refer to, to ask him questions. Not only for the receivers, but for the quarterbacks as well. Q: How does he help you specifically? Smith: For a lot of different things. From a certain route and how we're throwing it and the way we're breaking it. Things I'm looking for. Things he's looking for. Adjustments – you know, some of the adjustments have to be made on the fly in the passing game. It's nice to have him there as a resource. Q: When you came out of college, did you realize there was so much more about football that you had to learn? Smith: Yeah, I've learned a lot. I think I knew this was a big deal, but I think I underestimated it a little bit. There's a lot out here. It's on and off the field, and you have to deal with all of it. But, you know, I'm enjoying it right now. A lot of people ask me that. This is very enjoyable for me right now. I'm having a lot of fun, and it's great to be out on the field and finally and playing.
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