Amidst all of the hoopla surrounding our young talent last year, there were a couple of veteran players that tended to get lost in the shuffle. Shaun Smith was one of them. While it is true that his inaugural season with the Titans was something of a minor disappointment (registering 17 solo tackles and 8 assisted tackles in 15 games, to go along with 1 sack), there are many reasons to be excited about what he can bring to the team next year. I recently had the opportunity to speak with him regarding the upcoming season and asked him a few questions.
"Titan Sized: What do you think of Jerry Gray and his scheme?Shaun Smith: “Jerry is a good coach. Everyone has to buy in to the system and we will be good.”Titan Sized: Have you set any personal goals for yourself this off-season?Shaun Smith: “This year I am going to be a leader and play hard and help us win. Also I have lost over 25 pounds so I will be in better shape, and with the free agent signings, the team will be even better.”Titan Sized: Congratulations, man. I know a lot of people see you as a run-stopper first and foremost. Does the loss of weight mean they plan to use you in a more versatile way?Shaun Smith: “Thanks. No, I’m [still] a run-stopper.”Titan Sized: What else have you been working on this off-season?Shaun Smith: “I have been enrolled in school. I have 6 more hours and will get my Bachelor’s degree.”Titan Sized: That’s awesome. Where from?Shaun Smith: “University of South Carolina, where I went to school at.”Titan Sized: Did you leave early to declare for the draft?Shaun Smith: “Nah, my Senior year during second semester I was training for the draft.”Titan Sized: You’ve been playing in a 3-4 most of your career. Is it much different playing in a 4-3?Shaun Smith: It is a little bit.Titan Sized: Is there anything you’d like to say to your fans?Shaun Smith: “Tell my fans thanks for the love, and for sticking with me and supporting me. Gonna have a crazy year this year.”"
It’s nice to see Shaun fired up and focused for the upcoming season. As he mentioned, he could very well play a large part in helping us stop the run this year. You have to think the team appreciates his dedication to getting his weight down in the off-season, and even though he is a run-stopper first and foremost, there’s also a chance that Jerry may be able to find creative ways to use him.
From a business perspective, he has two years and 4 million dollars left on his contract, and is as good as anyone you’ll find at that price. It will be exciting to see how he develops having had a full off-season to adjust to the 4-3. We’ll certainly be rooting for him here at Titan Sized.
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