I've been calling it for the last 2 1/2 weeks. Seth Smith is going to have another big year for the Aggies.
Hey, you never know with a player who came out of nowhere — as Smith did last year, rushing for over 1,000 yards on the season. Was it a fluke? You have to ask that when a guy returns for the following season.
This is why I know Smith won't taper off:
• Same guy: For one, he hasn't changed from last year to now. He's the same guy — quiet, humble, hungry. Key ingredients to an athlete's success, and Smith still has the intangibles' package to get it done.
• He's running hard, even in fall camp: While other players are nursing bumps and bruises on the sidelines, Smith is charging hard day-in and day-out.
He looks quicker and lighter, but is still running with that same hit-first mentality that made him a standout last year.
This is why I like Smith — he runs hard every play and doesn't tip-toe in there, he takes it on full throttle. His 3-yard runs can be just as devastating as a 20-yard run, because he inflicts punishment on the opposing defense.
One of the most underrated qualities a football player can have? Playing, and playing well, through pain. It's a necessary requirement in a violent game. Last year, Smith proved he could do it — he battled with a separated right shoulder for the second-half of the season and closed the year strong with back-to-back 100-yard games. I almost think Smith likes playing with a little hurt. Such an attribute cannot be overlooked in a player's success.
• The offense will be better in 2010: Last year, the Aggies couldn't pass, defenses knew it, gameplanned to stop Smith and he still got his 1,000.
This year, the offense will be different. How?
Running backs will be asked to be more involved in the passing game. Not just catching balls out of the backfield, but also on blitz pickups and quarterback protection. It also looks like the scheme will be more spread out, with three- and four-wide receiver sets and single-back formations.
Will Smith be able to adjust to a new system? Straight-forward, it seems like he's better suited as a bruiser, lining up in two tight-end formations with a fullback. But I still think he'll be just fine.
Who knew about Smith last year at this time? Not many people and he rose to the occasion. It's just a new challenge, and I think he'll surprise people with his ability as a pass catcher.
And, if the offense moves the ball better through the air — and it has to — it will only benefit the running game. Last year, teams knew the Aggies were going to run every down. Logical thinking indicates that a better passing offense will open things up at the line of scrimmage and will give Smith more room to rumble.
And the one rushing touchdown he scored in 2009? Expect that number to go up. With Smith's skill set, he should be a very solid goalline runner, and the Aggies should spend more time inside the opponent's 5-yard line this year.
• Turner's presence: Some think Kenny Turner's presence will cut into Smith's production.
If Turner plays and comes as advertised, than yes, this should hold true.
But it will also help Smith to have a sidekick to lighten the load. And that's not a bad thing at all.
Smith rushed for 1,000 yards last year. He proved he could carry the load. If all goes as planned, Turner will be a dynamite complement to Smith in the running game. And that will only help both players flourish....
There you have it. I think Smith will have a great season — again. Now, sit back and watch....