Texas Tech Red Raider linebacker Will Smith is preparing for his future, which hopefully includes a shot at the NFL. Make sure and follow Will on Twitter @WSInvasion and check out his website, WSInvasion. Will answered a handful of questions via email and I want to thank Will for taking the time to answer these questions. Let's do this.
Seth C: You came to Texas Tech, almost as an afterthought in that head coach at the time Tommy Tuberville was at Riverside C.C. looking at other players and noticed you. Talk about what that was like?
Will Smith: It was a little surreal at first. Out of high school I had a few big schools look at me, so for that to happen was like a dream come true, as well as a sigh of relief, like it finally paid off.
Seth C: Much has been made by Texas Tech fans about how tough it was to have so many defensive coordinators over the past four or five seasons. You were here for the past two. Was it tough on you to adjust from Art Kaufman to Matt Wallerstedt and what did you learn from each coach?
Will Smith: The adjustment was very difficult between two completely different styles of coaches. Art Kaufman was a very strict technician, strictly business, no play during practice; he felt the time to relax was during the games. After a while it grew on me and I understood the concept behind it. But from Kaufman I learned a lot of technique to my game with proper footwork and hand placement. Then you have Wallerstedt, a younger guy but fiery. Everything he does is full throttle from teaching and coaching to his play calling to running into the meeting rooms. What I learned from him is be yourself; you know what you’re capable of doing, go out there and do it. Don't be afraid to take your shot. At first it was a bit strange coming from a guy so strict to a guy so relaxed that would just let you play, so eventually I learned how to mend the two different styles together to critique my own game.
Seth C: With the graduation of so many seniors on the defense, including yourself, talk about who you think will be the leaders of defense?
Will Smith: For next year, I think some of the leaders on defense will for sure be Pete Robertson, Micah Awe, Sam Eguavoen, Justice Nelson, Branden Jackson and even Kenny Williams, who is now going both ways. A majority of those kids have been around a while and know what is expected. A lot of them played key roles last year, so this year it's their time.
Seth C: Can you give us your personal scouting report on guys like Eguavoen, Awe and any other linebackers that will fill your shoes next year? Any players that you think will surprise?
Will Smith: Eguavoen and Awe are my guys. Eguavoen is a freak athlete. He may surpass the stats I had last year. He’s very smart football player and it's his first season finally with the same defense, so he will do a great job. Awe you can never question his worth ethic and passion for the game. He may be small but pound for pound one of the strongest. He doesn't care any one has to say about him, he always wants to be the guy to get the job done. The young guys behind them are very promising. It was their first year out of high school, so at times it was difficult for them making that transition, but down the road they will be really productive.
Seth C: You recently had your pro-day at Texas Tech, talk about that experience?
Will Smith: It was great experience having the emotions of nerves and excitement at the same time, as well seeing all my brothers again. It's always nice. That was a real good experience and fun environment to compete in.
Seth C: What do you feel like are your biggest strengths and what do you need to work on as you work your way towards the NFL?
Will Smith: My biggest strengths are my speed and getting to the ball, my change of direction and pass coverage. I need to work on being more physical with my hands on blockers, and sometimes on tackling my feet go dead, so just to keep my feet running through a ball carrier instead of to one.
Seth C: You ended your career at Texas Tech with some incredibly high honors, talk a bit about what it means to you to be a Red Raider.
Will Smith: At first, I didn't realized how much it meant coming from junior college. It grew on me very quickly and I never regret a day being a Red Raider. It's one of those things that you have to be a part of to fully understand the meaning. If you look like at guys in the NFL that come from here, you’re guaranteed to be a hard worker that gets the job done, that's willing to compete every day. That includes in the class room and even our fans; that's just the culture. We may be over looked, but you'll always remember when you came across one.
Seth C: How much free stuff do you get because your name is "Will Smith"? Hook-ups on your electric provider? Able to get into clubs without paying for a cover?
Will Smith: Not many, I get a lot of free strange looks when they hear my name. But after they get over hearing it for the first time, and after I explain why I got the name, people calm down.