Greg Smith's Weight Settles Him Down

Smith after 1 of his 2 grabs last year (AP Photo)

Montgomery's Greg Smith has had a circuitous route to the starting tight end position this season. In fact, the high school receiver now feels more like himself again at a more manageable 253 pounds. Can he be a factor in the running game and the passing game?

Greg Smith did not grow up playing tight end. He played outside receiver in high school at 220 pounds, although he was recruited to move inside at tight end, but in his previous three seasons at Texas, he has played all five offensive line positions and tight end. He added eighty pounds to his frame when the team decided to move him to the offensive line during his redshirt season in 2006.

"I was basically doing whatever I could for the team. I was trying to transition with the weight, trying to play at a really heavy weight," Smith said recently.

After Blaine Irby went down in the third game of the season against Rice, Smith was asked to move back out to tight end, where he actually started four games in the middle of the season. He started the 2008 season as an offensive tackle, and he tipped the scales at over 300 pounds.

"At OU, I was about 300 pounds," Smith proclaimed. "I was trying to play at an uncomfortable body type."

Today, Smith has dropped about fifty pounds to get back to a more natural body type. He was supposed to compete with D.J. Grant for the starting spot at tight end this spring and fall camp, but now that Grant is out for the year, it is Smith's position to have.

"I think it puts the pressure of the position on me. I like it. I think it is going to really push me to do good things, really work hard, and stay focused," said the now leaner Smith. "Now that I've dropped the weight I am more of a tight end."

Smith does feel like he'd like to be right around 250 pounds and that tight end is his natural position.

"I came into Texas at 220 as an inside receiver. In high school, I lined up wide the majority of the time. I think last year it was a little hard for me. I was working with a weight vest basically on my body – trying to work with the different balancing of feeling like a 250-pounder but weighing 305."

Smith certainly will have the most chances to show that he is a natural pass catcher and can still contribute in the running game as a blocker. Coach Brown certainly believes that Smith is in a position to succeed. When asked recently whether anyone would move to tight end, Brown responded, "Right now we're leaving it as is. We've got Greg Smith and Ahmard Howard that are older and they've been around and we'll continue to work them hard. Greg's weight loss has really helped him. He's blocking better, he's quicker, (and) he's handling things better."

For the season to be a success for the Longhorns and for Smith personally, he will have to improve in both areas and provide Colt McCoy with the security that a talented pass-catching tight end brings to a quarterback. Last season, the tight ends only accounted for 16 receptions out of 343 McCoy completions.

If Smith doesn't work out as a full-time player, the team could also turn to freshmen Barrett Matthews or Trey Graham, or even play more four wide formations.

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