Rick Smith Interview
(on how well the running backs caught the ball) "They did. In our system, our running backs have to be versatile. We talk a lot about what we look for in our running backs, whether it's the ability to have vision in one cut and downhill and all those attributes that we look for, but we also look for versatility; guys with good ball skills and the ability to catch the ball. Not only catch the ball, but to be good in space. We saw some of that this past weekend and just overall very productive. Obviously, it was a point of emphasis for us coming out of the Dolphins game, so I was happy to see our guys perform better."
(on how much RBs Arian Foster and Ben Tate have improved) "Both of them have improved because they've both worked. We talk a lot about the work ethic of this football team, and both those guys fit into that category. They both have a lot of natural ability but they continue to work and hone that craft. Also understanding what we're asking them to do, understanding how they fit in this game and what the play design is all about. That gives them a chance to go out and be successful."
(on what the hard work of the strength and conditioning staff means to him) "Well, it's significant. Part of my history is I was a strength coach at one time so I understand how important that is, (Head Coach) Gary (Kubiak) understands how important that is. (Strength coaches) Cedric Smith and Matt Shiotz do an excellent job preparing our football team during the offseason and during training camp and in season. That's the one thing that can't go unnoticed is that once we get into the season, our guys are still on a very strict regiment with Cedric, lifting two or three times a week to make sure that they maintain their strength levels and their strength gains that they made during the offseason. So that gives us a chance to be not only strong in the fourth quarter early in the year but later in the year, as well."
(on if he remembers many games where he's been on a side that the time of possession was 43 minutes) "I've never been in a game like that. I mean, it was incredible, it really was. When you think about the way that we controlled the football, the way that the defense– I think they were 0-for-9 on third down–the way that they continued to get off field and then, in turn, our offense continued to make plays. It was something that was a unique experience. I enjoyed it, and I wouldn't mind having more. "
(on if he thought C Ben Jones would play this much this early) "Well, you don't play as many games in that conference in the SEC, we've said this before about him without being an excellent football player, and he is. The thing that gives him the edge right now over, say, a Brandon Brooks is his versatility. On game day when we dress seven offensive lineman, we got to be able to have a guy that can swing inside and play both center and guard. That's why Ben is playing now, and we wanted to get some rotation in the group last week. I thought he did a great job. We saw a little bit in the preseason; he managed the offensive line very effectively in the preseason so we knew he could handle it. But to see him go out and execute, I think he was on the field when we had the long 17-play drive, and to have some type of opportunities for him to get those types of experiences are going to be good for him in the future."
(on what this time of year is like for him, work-wise) "It's a little bit of everything. It's pretty indicative of the job. It's maintaining all of the operational type of things that are going on whether you're talking about the buses as we travel or the hotels, making sure all those things are good. Last week, for example, when we played in Jacksonville I actually left Friday and flew over to Tallahassee and worked the Florida State –Wake Forest game on Saturday and then I drove over to the hotel in Jacksonville to meet the team on Saturday evening. So I'm doing some college scouting, I'm watching some college film, I'm watching our film, I'm looking at free agents. It's a bit of a hodgepodge of things that I do now because this is a time where there's not one thing specifically that I'm focused and channeled on; I can look at everything and I do spend time on everything at this point."
(on the draft preparation never stopping) "It doesn't. Our guys go out, we obviously have the draft at the end of April, and we actually start on the next class in May. Our scouts are on the road now. A couple of our scouts were actually at the game in Jacksonville. We'll do conference calls with our scouts once a month just to start to get the process gong so I can get a big picture view of what the draft class looks like, and then we'll set our draft board in a few months in December."
(on what a trip back to Denver is going to be like for him) "It's going to be exciting. Obviously, we've been back there before, but this part trip is actually a little bit special. Rod smith, who I coached in when I first got to Denver, Rod was a young player trying to make it; he was a big-time special teams contributor. I coached a lot of the positions that he did for us on special teams. And I've gotten to know him and become very good friends over the years and they are actually going to induct him into the arena of fame at half time of the game. So there are some festivities that we're actually going to go back a day or so early and attend and represent this group of folks that maybe not have the opportunity to go back. It'll be fun. We're going back with the express purpose to win a football game, and we start that preparation tomorrow when the guys come in in the morning. Our guys had a good week of work last week, they understand the correlation between work and performance. They had a great week of work last week, and I expect that they'll come in tomorrow excited about getting ready for a huge challenge to go up in Mile High and play and start the season at 3-0."