Friday, March 16, 2012
Geno Smith ready for college life at Bama
By Edward Aschoff
ATLANTA -- Geno Smith hasn't had much of a problem dealing with attention.
Whether it was being the nation's No. 2 cornerback in the 2012 class, according to ESPN recruiting services, consuming all the hype and excitement surrounding his Alabama commitment, or feeling the wrath of angry Twitter followers, the former Saint Pius X Catholic High (Atlanta) standout thinks he's handled things pretty well.
Of everything, the Twitter engagements were probably the thing that helped him the most when it came to dealing with pressure and negativity. What started out as fun when he was basically a free agent, turned into quite the ordeal at times when he committed to Alabama in August. He received his fair share of craziness through the Twittersphere.
"Oh, there have been a lot (of crazy messages)," Smith said with a laugh. "A lot of inappropriate tweets. A lot of funny tweets, especially from Auburn fans."
Well, it's going to get a lot crazier, real soon.
Smith has a very small window between normal and Alabama football. He'll graduate from high school on May 19 and will be in Tuscaloosa to start his college career on May 27.
A quick turnaround means he'll have to take advantage of every training opportunity he has now in order to be physically ready for working at the college level. The good thing for Smith is that he received Alabama's workout plan the day after national signing day, so he's already had five weeks to get a glimpse of what he can expect when he arrives in a couple of months.
The first day with Alabama's full-body workout was a bear for Smith to handle, but he's slowly getting used to the supersets and all the running. He's even gained four pounds to reach 186 and he hopes to break the 190-pound mark before he leaves.
Right from the start, Smith will have the opportunity to earn playing time. Alabama loses potential first-round picks Mark Barron and Dre Kirkpatrick from its secondary and also graduated cornerback DeQuan Menzie. That means two corner spots are open and Smith wants one.
"Now that I'm closer to it, I have to just keep improving and keep working hard so that I can be able to start or at least get a chance to play next year -- special teams or starter," Smith said.
But before Smith can think about taking a job, he'll have to make sure he takes in Alabama's playbook. That might be the toughest part, Smith said, and for him to accomplish anything in his first year, he'll have to get a grasp on Kirby Smart's defense and make sure that the formations and terminology don't swallow him up.
"I know it's complicated, but I'm willing to take that chance and go in there and learn every part of it," Smith said.
It will take time for Smith to get used to his new surroundings, but one thing that will help is the fact that he'll have plenty of guys to lean in his classmates. Smith was a part of Alabama's No. 1 recruiting class and he made sure he helped get some of those players to join him by working his cellphone to death.
He is very excited about the players coming in with him and he believes that getting the top class won't be the only headline this group makes. He's confident that once this class gets together and has a chance to bond, great things will happen for the Crimson Tide.
"Having all of these great players come in, I feel like if we stay focused we can definitely win a national championship," he said.
Tide Nation is counting on it.