Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Exit Interview: RB Vincent Smith
By Michael Rothstein
“Exit Interview” is a concept started at WolverineNation last year where we chat with players leaving Michigan about their experiences with the Wolverines and in some cases, what’s next.
Vincent Smith had multiple roles at Michigan in his career, from starting running back to third down specialist. He gained 1,269 yards rushing with 10 touchdowns and caught 46 passes for 435 yards and 7 scores.
WolverineNation caught up with Smith last month as he was starting to prepare for Michigan’s Pro Day next month.
Vincent Smith showed his toughness and versatility while at Michigan.
Q: What was, for you, the most positive moment of your career?
Vincent Smith: I would have to say coming to Michigan and having the opportunity to play ball and then my first time playing in an actual game. It just felt so good and to show my talents in a big arena like that and to be able to see my family in the stands. I made a lot of good friends at Michigan. It was all a positive experience the first time I came there and got an opportunity to play and show what I was capable of, being 5-7 and a half and doing the things that I did.
Q: You mentioned your height. Coming to Michigan, what did you think your career was going to be? Did you think you’d be a running back the whole time?
Smith: My thought process is like it always is. Do the same thing that got you here and just keep working hard, like everything is going work out for the best. I wasn’t trying to move out to the slot or anything like that. We never talked about anything like that because I was so diverse in what I could do so it didn’t really matter. Whatever situation I was put in, I made the best of it.
Q: For the entirety of your career, your teammates said you were the toughest guy on the team. What did you think about that? Did you feel that way?
Smith: At the end of the day, people are going to say things about you, talk about you in a negative way, positive way. I look at any situation like this: For the first time anybody that sees me play, like the first time you see me play at the end of the game I want you to say, ‘This guy right here, he’s tough.’ My whole mindset of me coming up, I would take no handouts and just working from the ground up. That’s my whole thing. A person my size and weight, you have to do way more than the next. I really have got to bring something to the table that nobody else has to put myself in a real good situation. I have to do whatever I have to do to get there and I have the work ethic, right mindset and mental toughness to put that together and this is what I came up with. But at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what people say. You think I’m tough? OK, that’s y’all’s opinion. I’ll just keep working to be the best at what I do.
Q: Now that your college career is over, how would you judge your career at Michigan?
Smith: It wasn’t like what I planned it to be and what I wanted it to be but I did a great part. Learned a lot, been through a lot and at the end of the day I can say I made progress. Through my four years at Michigan I could say I learned a lot. It had its ups-and-downs, but I still made the best out of the opportunity that I had.
Q: The two guns thing you do with your hands, where did that come from?
Smith: That originally came from high school. Our quarterback used to do that before they used to get up under the center because we had this running back, Antone Smith, he went to Florida State. Our quarterbacks would do it if we had an easy touchdown or something like that, before the play he used to shoot the guns at the linebacker and we used to score. So that was one of the things I just wanted to take over from my high school team. But for me, it really stood for reading the defense, the first read and my second read, that is what it really is. Sometimes you see me shooting the outside gun at the slot or cornerback if the safety is cheating on top of him because he is the second. That’s what the guns are really about, I use them for my reads. But I originally got it from the quarterback at Pahokee.