Offensive lineman Wade Smith recently checked in with HoustonTexans.com for a Q&A about his first offseason as a Texan.
A seven-year veteran, Smith signed as a free agent this offseason from the Kansas City Chiefs. The versatile lineman and Dallas native is competing for a starting spot at guard and center.
You signed with the Texans in March. How do you feel about how you've been able to acclimate to the team through OTAs and mini-camp?
"I'm feeling pretty good. It was an adjustment getting used to the playbook and just a different way of doing things around here, but I think the more reps I took and as time went on I got comfortable with it."
You've played for a number of different coaches and played several different positions during your pro career. How much is that helping you make this transition right now?"I think it helps. Throughout my seven years, I might have been with different coordinators, but a lot of times the terminology was pretty similar. This is probably the first time the terminology's a big deal. There were only slight changes in the past, because pretty much all the terminologies I had were through that Norv Turner coaching tree. Turner and (Marty) Schottenheimer and Chan Gailey, all those guys pretty much have the same play-calling and terminology, so this one's a little bit different. It's an adjustment, but as a veteran, you get used to adjusting to different things and different schemes, so it's not that much of a big deal."
How much time did you spend in the playbook every day during OTAs?
"Oh, I took my playbook home every day. Most of the guys on the offensive line, they've been here for multiple years so they know the scheme and all the calls and all those types of things. Me personally, I had to take my book home every day just so I could try to catch up and be up to speed with those guys."
You lined up at all three spots on the interior offensive line during OTAs. Where did you take the most reps?"It was pretty even. I took 2-3 days at right guard, 2-3 days at center, 2-3 days at left guard, and then some days I would do both. I would do center and left guard or center and right guard, so it was pretty evenly distributed throughout."
Coach Gary Kubiak has talked about how competitive the guard and center positions are this offseason, and you're obviously a part of that. How do you feel about the competition so far?
"I think it's definitely a competitive spot. You've got five or six guys that have been starters in this league before and feel like they're starters in this league, so they're going to prepare and they're going to play like it. It's just going to be a deal where it's going to be a benefit the team in the long run because you're going to have everybody putting that much more into it because they want to be on the field. So it won't do anything but make us better."
When you signed with the Texans in March, was your mindset that you were going to be a starter?"Definitely. I wouldn't have put myself in a situation where I feel like I wasn't going to be a starter, so that's pretty much it. All the different places that I was deciding on going to, they were all situations where I was going to be a starter. If it wasn't a situation like that, I wouldn't have considered it."
You're from Dallas originally. How have you been dealing with the heat here in Houston?"Man, I got used to it pretty quick. I got some years off from it by being in Kansas City and New York. I started off in Miami, and Miami and Houston are very, very similar, and growing up in Dallas and playing (in college) at Memphis, they're very similar as well. It took me probably about a week to get used to it, and now it's kind of like second nature."
Have you enjoyed being so close to home?"Definitely, man. I can jump in the car and be home in three hours. That's a big deal, you know. As much easier as it is for my family and my extended family to come down and see me and vice versa, it's a big plus to be home."
What are your plans for the Fourth of July?"I'm going to head up to Dallas for the weekend and spend time with my grandmother and aunt, do a nice little BBQ. They actually came down last weekend to kind of have a house-warming deal at my house, so I'm going to go up there and spend time with my family up there and catch up with some friends. Once I come back from Dallas, I'll probably be down here for the next three weeks. I'll probably take a Vegas trip with the wife, but that's about it."