November 4, 2009

Smith shows off his versatility

Being the offensive line coach, Bruce Walker isn't used to having players lobby for him to give them the football. But Walker has seen his popularity among players shoot up in the last four days.

"You become the most well-liked coach on the staff," Walker said. "'Hey coach, how about me?' I've had that about seven times."

The requests have come in the wake of a fake field goal Missouri ran at Colorado on Saturday. Leading 26-0, the Tigers lined up for a 34-yard kick. Holder Forrest Shock tossed a shovel pass to a receiver coming down the line of scrimmage behind the center and then watched the receiver rumble for a 24-yard touchdown. It wasn't the play that was a big shock. The Tigers have used that exact fake multiple times in the last few seasons. But in the past, the receiver had always been a tight end, usually Martin Rucker. This time, it was defensive end Jacquies Smith.

The play worked, as Smith made a move on one tackler at the line of scrimmage, cut to the sideline, and outran the Colorado block team 24 yards to the end zone.

"When I got the ball in my hands, I seen one guy that I probably was gonna have to beat. I made a nice move, but I had some good blocking up front, there was no leakage," Smith said. "Once I got around the edge, it was smooth sailing."

But what was more impressive is that the play didn't come because Missouri's deception actually worked.

"They (Colorado) actually did a pretty good job because they were pointing at it and they were worried about it on the sideline," Walker said.

"On film, what happened, is that end shot upfield," Gary Pinkel said. "We expected that guy to shoot upfield, but what they did, they saw No. 3 and they were yelling 'Fake! Fake!' They knew something was coming down."

Good enough that after the game, some people were talking about finding a way to get Smith the ball a little bit more often.

"There was some guys playing like 'We need to move him to tight end,'" Washington said. "He was just smiling and laughing at that."

"I mean, it's a joke," Smith said. "If the coaches ask me, they know I'm down for whatever. If they put me at tight end, I'd be happy with it. It's just whatever to help the team win."

Smith did play some tight end at Dallas' South Oak Cliff High School, where he was recruited by Walker. But for now, he'll remain a defensive end...and the envy of his teammates on that side of the ball.

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