<span style="">First and Twenty with Will Smith</span> <span style=""></span></span>
New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith was selected by the Saints with their first round pick in the 2004 NFL Draft. Smith, a team captain in 2008, is a veteran of 78 career NFL games, with 59 starts to his credit, and owns 342 career tackles, 36.5 sacks for 245 yards, 13 forced fumbles with 13 passes defensed and six career fumble recoveries. In 2008 Smith signed a six-year contract extension with the Saints. Smith, who made the Pro Bowl in 2006, talked today after his morning workout about his preparations for the 2009 season.
NewOrleansSaints.com: "You were banged the second half of last season with a painful abdominal injury, but you never missed practices or games and you refused to use it as an excuse. How are you feeling these days and is it something you are worried about moving forward?"
Saints Defensive End Will Smith: "I'm feeling great. I had a little surgery right after the season to get it corrected and then spent the first part of my off-season rehabbing it and it's feeling 100%. It was a one time thing and isn't something that's going to be anything that I need to worry about going forward."
NewOrleansSaints.com: "There are a lot of new faces, particularly on defense, that have entered the locker room via free agency. As a team captain, what sort of things do you do to get to know the new guys and how do you see them fitting in?"
Saints Defensive End Will Smith: "I've had the chance to sit down and talk to all of the new guys. A guy like Lynell Hamilton/Rod Coleman.aspx">Rod Coleman I was already familiar with because the Saints and the Falcons play each twice a year, so I know what kind of guy he is and what kind of competitor he is and what type of person he is. But for the most part it's talking to them and getting to know them and letting them know how we do things and what's expected. I met with (Paul) Spicer a few weeks before he signed here and really enjoyed getting to meet him and learn more about him. The new guys have fit right in."
NewOrleansSaints.com: "What has your off-season been like? What sort of things have you done since the end of last season?"
Saints Defensive End Will Smith: "At first it was just getting healthy after the surgery and getting rested, then it moved into the rehab phase and now into the strength-and-conditioning phase. Off the field, my family and I have done a little bit of traveling, but for the most part it's been staying around New Orleans and just laying low and getting ready for the upcoming season. I've been here at the facility pretty much every day."
NewOrleansSaints.com: "Have you gone back to Ohio State at all recently? Do you keep tabs on the guys that people are talking about being drafted from Ohio State?"
Saints Defensive End Will Smith: "I still have a home there, so I try to make it back to Columbus every few months and make sure my house is still in one piece. I keep up with Ohio State and follow what the players are up to and try to keep in touch with the program. It's nice to see the nice things that people are saying about some of the guys that are projected to go high in the draft. From what I am hearing it looks good for some of them. You never know, a few of them may end up here."
NewOrleansSaints.com: "It's a general question, but what are your expectations for the New Orleans Saints in 2009?"
Saints Defensive End Will Smith: "Well, the first thing is to realize is that last year wasn't good enough and it isn't acceptable. So, we have a realization that we are a talented team, but we need to learn to finish off games both defensively and offensively and I don't think anyone is shying away from admitting that. It's out there and something that we need to learn how to correct and am confident that we will. It's what guys are talking about, it's what the coaching staff is harping on and something we're all working to correct. It's a big point of emphasis and if we do that, we will be in the playoffs and get ourselves in the hunt."
NewOrleansSaints.com: "What sort of things have you specifically been working on to get ready for the season?"
Saints Defensive End Will Smith: "Now that I am getting a little bit older, I've been paying more and more attention to nutrition and eating properly. It's something that I think about all the time now. I have tried some new things training-wise and have learned some yoga in an effort to improve my flexibility. I want to be really lean and fit. That's my goal."
NewOrleansSaints.com: "What's this time of year like for a veteran player, with the draft coming up and even more new faces primed to be joining the team in the coming weeks?"
Saints Defensive End Will Smith: "The motivation comes from within. Anyone can tell you they have high expectations of you, but if you don't set high expectations and goals for yourself, then all the rest is just lip service. The biggest thing for the veteran players is having that motivation to keep getting better and pushing to get better. In this league there are always highs and lows and you have to learn to battle through them and be consistent and keep striving to get better. It's about getting up every day with a goal and a plan and going out there and doing it."
NewOrleansSaints.com: "The Saints have a new defensive line coach in Bill Johnson. What sort of adjustment is it to be playing for a new defensive line coach, being that this will be the fourth different position coach you have had since you were drafted by the Saints?"
Saints Defensive End Will Smith: "I think it's just a matter of getting to know the coach and what his style is. I know Coach Johnson because I spent some time with him when I was coming out of Ohio State and know him as a person and what he expects of his players and how he coaches. I have had a chance to sit down and talk to him and we see eye-to-eye. As a unit we will start to get together with him soon and learn the playbook and learn from him. He will have his own ideas, his own drills, and his own expectations of what he wants us to accomplish and how the best way to accomplish what those things are. It's up to us to go out and learn from him and improve."
NewOrleansSaints.com: "The Saints' defensive line has seen the addition of two notable players in the off-season in Garrett Hartley/Paul Spicer.aspx">Paul Spicer and Lynell Hamilton/Rod Coleman.aspx">Rod Coleman. What do you think each of these guys brings to the team?"
Saints Defensive End Will Smith: "They give us great depth. Last year Charles (Grant) got hurt and Bobby (McCray) and I were in there a lot and maybe got a tad worn down towards the end of the season. This year when you add proven guys like Paul and Rod, they are going to come in and we should be able to get a nice rotation going where everyone is fresh, not only late in the games, but also late in the season."
"They are both rugged and physical players. They are proven. Coleman has a ton of sacks during his career and Spicer is a warrior and you know they can play and be counted on. I like what they bring to the team."
NewOrleansSaints.com: "How much attention do the defensive linemen pay attention to when there are additions to the defensive backfield when the team brings in players like Darren Sharper and Jabari Greer?"
Saints Defensive End Will Smith: "We pay a lot of attention to it. Each unit of the defense has to be in complete synch with the others. The better the coverage is, the longer the quarterback has to hang onto the ball and the more time we have to get to the quarterback. Conversely, the quicker we get to the quarterback the less time the db's (defensive backs) have to spend covering their guy. So it all works hand-in-hand. These guys like Darren and Jabari are good, good players that bring something to our team. They are talented and bring some things to the table."
NewOrleansSaints.com: "Move away from football and give people a glimpse inside your world a little bit. What will Will Smith be doing tonight when you get home?"
Saints Defensive End Will Smith: "I'm a normal person. I will leave here, stop on my way home and pick up the kids from school and daycare, my wife will cook dinner for us, and then we will play a bit with the kids. We then get them ready for bed, we watch a few TV shows and then I try to get a work out in again and then go to bed. It's just like what any other family does, I suppose. Trust me, there is nothing glamorous, but it's fun and I enjoy it."
NewOrleansSaints.com: "What are three things most likely to be found in your family's refrigerator?"
Saints Defensive End Will Smith: "Right now crawfish because my wife just loves them. There are always a lot of bottles of water in there because that's all I drink and snacks for the kids. I don't exactly know what they are, but I know they're snacks for the kids. That takes up the majority of the space in there."
NewOrleansSaints.com: "What did you do for Easter?"
Saints Defensive End Will Smith: "We got up and went to church. Then we had an Easter egg hunt for the kids and a cook out. The day flew by."
NewOrleansSaints.com: "What's something that you wanted to learn more about this off-season and have you succeeded?"
Saints Defensive End Will Smith: "I have started reading a lot of different types of books. I enjoy reading and have tried to learn a lot more about different things that related to things happening around the world right now."
NewOrleansSaints.com: "Are there any sports teams that you follow as a fan? Follow to the point of knowing their record, who everyone on the team is, and that you don't miss a second of any of their games?"
Saints Defensive End Will Smith: "I am a huge sports fan. For starters, if the Buckeyes are on TV then I'm watching it and rooting for them, regardless of what sport it is. I am a big New York Yankees fan and know them and keep up with what they're doing every day. In basketball I am a Cleveland Cavaliers fan and know those guys pretty well and keep up with them. In golf, I'm a Tiger Woods fan and watch him and try to learn from the best."
NewOrleansSaints.com: "What is one meal that you can eat anytime?"
Saints Defensive End Will Smith: "I can eat Chinese food--any time, any day."
NewOrleansSaints.com: "Your wife asks you to stop on your way home from work to pick up a few things at the store. Are you able to do it without people knowing who you are? Or do you get stopped a lot and asked for autographs and do people want to talk football with you?"
Saints Defensive End Will Smith: "It depends. It's like 50-50. A lot of times I will leave here and forget I have a Saints shirt on, and then it's like people will look at me for a second, put the two together and stop me and talk to me. They're almost always very gracious and polite. I think a lot of times people may not know exactly who I am because I wear a helmet when we are on TV. But then they see the Saints shirt and the light goes off. Other times, it's just like when any other guy goes out. In New Orleans I get recognized a lot more than other places, but it's fine. I enjoy meeting people and chatting with them. They people here are very supportive."
NewOrleansSaints.com: "What is the last movie you saw?"
Saints Defensive End Will Smith: "The Knowing."
NewOrleansSaints.com: "Most people know you to be very serious all of the time and a really no nonsense guy. But you have a pretty good sense of humor and are good with one-liners. Who is the funniest guy on the team and why?"
Saints Defensive End Will Smith: "I guess I'm very serious when it comes time for work, but the defensive line group is pretty special because nothing gets by anyone. Charles (Grant), Hollis (Thomas), Sed (Sedrick Ellis) and Bobby (McCray) can each hold their own when it comes time to joking around and busting on guys. You better be good with one-liners around those guys because they keep it loose. But if I had to pick one guy who is the funniest, I would say Hollis. He's the one that can make everyone laugh, regardless of the situation."
NewOrleansSaints.com: "What is one thing that you think people would be most surprised to know about you?"
Saints Defensive End Will Smith: "I enjoy listening to classical music. I think people would think that's something a bit different. I can still play the trumpet. I played all throughout high school and even a bit in college. So I will listen to classical music in my free time to relax."