So far so good. Bluefield is 0-6 in its first season of football since 1941, but Smith sees good things ahead for the Rams. “It is our first year, but once everyone comes together and does their job and does all their finishing I think we can pull it together,” Smith said. “I see good things coming for us and getting better with steady progression.” Smith has progressed quickly since arriving at Bluefield in early August, taking over a position he had rarely played in high school. “You have to work hard every day, you have to go out and get better,” Smith said. “You can’t take any time off, you have got to run your routes precise, very sharp just to get away from the DBs.” That 4.5 speed in the 40-yard dash helps. “It is a real big jump, more speed, more size,” he said, “but it is something you have to adjust to at any level in college.” Smith started in style, catching seven passes for 78 yards and two touchdowns in the season-opening loss to Pikeville. “I wasn’t expecting that big of a start, but it was a great game for me,” said Smith, who will never forget the first touchdown of his career. “It felt great, it was a dream come true. It was a great feeling.” Smith also caught seven passes in last week’s loss at Union. He’s had at least two receptions in each game this season, and is currently 18th in America in receptions (28) and 37th in receptions per game (4.700).
He has quickly learned the basics of being a receiver. “You have got to catch it, bring it in and get what you can get out there,” Smith said. “I think (the most important thing is to) secure the ball, you don’t want to give up any fumbles in the wide-open field and lose the ball for a bad turnover.” Smith has developed a comfort level with quarterback Greg Hampton, who has thrown for 780 yards, eight scores and seven interceptions. “He finds me open every time,” Smith said. “When I get open routes, he delivers the ball well.” Gravier continues to be impressed with the progress made by Smith and the willingness to make the move to a new position. “A lot of kids think, ‘I am a star running back, look what I did in high school, why would you want to move me’, but he was very accommodating, more than willing to do it and again has worked at it,” Gravier said. “Some of those kids would do that and mope around and not really put the time in to get better at it. “He can be definitely a weapon for us down the road, he is going to get stronger and he is going to get faster and learn the game more.” He’s not just in town to play football. Smith is majoring in sports management with aspirations as an athletic trainer. He’s focused on both in Bluefield. “Academically, just getting up and making sure you go to class and get your work done,” said Smith, who likes to fish, mostly for bass,
when the opportunity arrives. “Sports-wise, coming to practice, working hard for the time you are out here and keeping up with your grades.” Smith arrived in Bluefield knowing one person on the team, tight end Matt Hollandsworth, who ironically scored the Rams’ first touchdown this season with a reception against Pikeville. He is surrounded by talented receivers, including Michael Nesmith (17-184, td) and others who are trying to provide firepower to the Bluefield attack. “We work every day,” Smith said. “We come out and Coach works us hard and makes sure we know our routes and know what we have to do, knowing what our plays are and knowing we have to get our blocks and making sure our man doesn’t make the tackle... “You have to go out and work together, you have to play as a team, everybody has to come together as one and not play individually.” Bluefield returns to Mitchell Stadium on Saturday for the Rams’ first game under the lights when the University of Virginia’s College of Wise arrives for a 6 p.m. kickoff. Smith can’t wait. “I am real well known for playing under the lights so hopefully it will be a good impact for us,” he said. There is something else he can’t wait for. Hopefully the wait ends on Saturday. “Get that first win, and then keeping building off of that one,” Smith said. Contact Brian Woodson at email@example.com
Media/Game Notes for the Rams vs. UVA-Wise football game