Meeting Your Monarchs: Preston Smith Q&A
By ODU Athletics
ODUSports.com recently sat down with Old Dominion senior defensive tackle Preston Smith for a question and answer segment. Smith is a local product from Chesapeake, Va. and a graduate of Deep Creek High School.
Preston Smith/DT/Chesapeake, Va.
Q: As a sophomore you played defensive end. Last year you moved down to defensive tackle, what was it like making the position change?
A: It was a big difference. Playing outside you have more room, where playing inside you have to play with more power. But I’ve worked before and after practices to help get the idea, and I got a lot better as the season went on.
Q: Talk about the difference between playing FCS and FBS schools?
A: You can tell the difference between the smaller schools compared to the bigger schools. The bigger schools offensive linemen are able to move quicker and they were stronger, it’s a big difference between the two.
Q: What was it like in that first FBS win at Idaho?
A: It was real exciting. Some guys shed a tear and it was an overall great experience for me.
Q: Talk about the travel to Idaho, flying across different time zones and such?
A: It was different. Something I never expected, going that far. The time changes were different, something I wasn’t used to. It was dark at an earlier time, something I’ve never seen before. But I liked the experience.
Q: How were you able to handle the time change?
A: It actually benefited me because we ended up having more time to rest. After having a long week of classes and practices you need to catch up on sleep. And we got a lot more time to sleep in. It was a real long flight.
Q: When it was announced that ODU was going to Conference USA and FBS. What was going through your mind?
A: I was actually surprised because everything seemed to happen so fast. We had just gone into the CAA, so I’m thinking were going to be there for a few years. Then coming off that one season, the next season they’re saying we are going to Conference USA and it was a big surprise to me.
Q: Were you excited about the move?
A: I was excited. Like a lot of the guys, we were just ready to go put in work. We were ready to workout and showcase our talent against the bigger schools.
Q: Being from Chesapeake, what does it mean to you coming to ODU going 46-14 your first five years and being apart of such a successful startup program?
A: The biggest thing is just to be able to play in front of my family. Having my family going to every home game and even some away games just to be there to support me.
Q: Why Old Dominion?
A: My first visit here, everyone here brought me in like I was already apart of the team. Even though I was still in high school the guys treated me like I was already in college. We were all communicating as if we were friends for years before. It just felt like a big family here from the start.
Q: Being close to home, did that play in any part of the decision?
A: Yes. I’m close with my grandparents and my mother and I really wanted them to come see me play.
Q: Talk about the benefits of the morning workouts you guys are going through right now?
A: Waking up early is really just a mental challenge. If you can wake up every morning, do that and go through the workouts constantly. I feel like it makes us all mentally tougher when we get down into the big situations where we need a turnover or something like that to happen.
Q: Spring football will start here before we know it on March 1, what do you want to take from those 15 practices?
A: I just want to become more of a leader for my defensive line group. I want to learn how to become a more vocal leader and help lead these guys the way they need to be led.
Q: What is your major?
A: Criminal justice.
Q: What do you want to accomplish with that?
A: I am thinking about becoming a probation officer for juveniles or becoming an FBI agent.
Q: What made you decide between them two?
A: For the majority of every summer I’ve worked for programs helping kids with troubled backgrounds and my job was mentoring and helping them get back to the right place. And I feel like I could do the same thing if I became a probation officer. Help them before they get into some serious trouble.
Q: What was it like to help the team win the 2012 CAA championship?
A: It was very exciting. We were losing in the first half (in the season finale against JMU) and for the guys to come back out and do what we did to get the win made it even better.
Q: Did it make it even a little sweeter that the CAA didn’t recognize Old Dominion as the CA champions?
A: Yes. It was really different. Every time the standings came out, we were still at the top but we still weren’t ranked (ODU was ineligible for the CAA Championship).
Q: Coming in to your senior season, it’s the first year playing a Conference USA schedule, what do you want to get out of your final season of college football?
A: I want to make a difference. We just want to be able to go out there and compete with these guys. We want to show that we are not afraid of anybody, but we are starting from the bottom and we just have to go out there and compete with each team that we play every week.