Transcript: Mike Smith Interview

Head coach Mike SmithOn Cliff Matthews getting bigger and stronger this offseason:
"Well, he's a guy that's got the size that can play both inside and outside. He's spent the majority of his time as a guy that will line up at the defensive end position, but we got to have guys again, when we start our rotation and our package that can play both inside and outside. He's done a really nice job. We asked him to gain some weight. He put on about ten pounds, and he's getting an opportunity to work both inside and outside right now. He's one of the strongest guys on our team. He's a guy that contributed last year on special teams. He can run. He's a guy that covered kicks for us. The Tampa (Bay) game was probably his best game last year. Down in Tampa, I think he had two kickoff tackles down inside the 20. He's a big strong guy that can run."  

On scrimmage periods at Friday Night Lights: "Tomorrow's rules of engagement, so to speak. We'll have a practice, and then we'll have between five and seven series where we will work. We'll have some of the guys that will not participate in it, but it will be tackling. We will have some tackling in the scrimmage, and it'll last probably somewhere between 30 and 45 plays of actual live work. We will go through a normal practice prior to that and get some work done, pretty much the same tempo that we are working here. We will not have cut blocking in the scrimmage, nor will we have cut tackling. Those will be the rules, and if we have a free shot on the guy we're not going to see anybody taking free shots. We need to make sure that we're healthy, but it's going to be as close as we can simulate to playing football before the first preseason game."  

On how the defense played at practice today:
"I thought the defense did a nice job today. We did some situations that were advantageous towards them in the two-minute drill that we had. And I thought they did a really nice job. You know it's going to be back and forth every day; one period it's offense, the next period it's defense. They're just out competing and trying to get better."

On what Asante Samuel can do to help the rookie cornerbacks get better:
"He can help them a lot in terms of getting pre-snap keys and reads. I think that's one of the strengths that Asante (Samuels) has, that's why he's been so productive in terms of creating turnovers and having the number of interceptions that he's had in his career. He can give those guys some of that knowledge on what they need to look for pre-snap read and after the ball's been snapped."  

On getting out to Gainesville for Friday Night Lights:
"I think it'll be great. Every time we've had this event the players really enjoy it, it's good for the fans. It's a very great setting with being in a smaller venue, small stands, fans right up on top of you. It lets our players get back to their roots, and I think you'll see a very spirited late afternoon and early evening when we get out there and work." * * 

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