Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Jake Smith
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Q&A With Jake Smith
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: October 20, 2013
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What did you improve on most this offseason?

“My health. Coming back from my ACL injury and getting my consistency back was the toughest part about improving my health. I went through rehab and therapy and I started feeling like myself before I got hurt.”

As a senior, has your role on the team changed at all?

“Last year, we had two starting kickers so I didn’t have a leadership role, especially in my position group. Now that I’m a senior, I definitely have a leadership role on and off the field. I feel the need to keep people accountable for their actions. It’s allowed me to have more of an impact when it comes to our charity as well.”

Do you have any pregame or game day rituals?

“I like to do the same thing every game day. I sit in the same seat for dinner the day before our game and the same seat for our pregame meal. Before every kick off, I tie my right shoe really tight and untie it when I get off the field so I make sure I have to retie it before the next kick. It’s something I’ve always done.”

In what ways have you developed since your freshman year?

“I’m more mature and focused on the moment than I was as a freshman. I didn’t realize how much little things mattered my freshman year. It’s tough as a freshman because you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into. I wish I knew what I know now as a freshman but that’s part of maturing and being in college. I’ve learned a lot about myself and other people.”  

What is your favorite part about playing at Arizona?

“I love my teammates and my coaching staff. I love playing in Arizona Stadium and I couldn’t be happier with where I’m at. It’s the ideal place to go to college and I couldn’t imagine going anywhere else.”

What impact does Coach Rodriguez have on you?  

“The coaching staff likes to put us under as much pressure as possible in practice so the games are easy. I like that philosophy because you get out there on game day and you can have fun and do your job. I think we have the best coach and coaching staff in the country. Coach Rodriguez is great for our team and the program in general.”

What is your most memorable moment at Arizona?

“It would be hard to not say the New Mexico Bowl because I still can’t believe that happened. But playing wise, I’m still waiting on that memorable moment.”

What are you most looking forward to for your senior season?

“Winning. That’s why we play this sport. I want us to reach our potential as a team and I think it’s pretty high. We can really get this thing going and make a statement this year. If the game ever comes down to me, I’m looking forward to that.”

What do you think of the new Lowell-Stevens Football Facility?

“It’s great. The freshmen really don’t know what they’re in because they never went through the facilities we had at McKale. I liked McKale because there was interaction between all the other student-athletes and it made us closer so I miss that aspect. Everything here is top of the line and unbelievable. If you look around you’re like, ‘I like this place’.

What does “Bear Down” mean to you?

“You always need to go 100 percent. You’re playing for the guys next to you, the guys that are going to come after you as well as the guys who were here before you who created the foundation of ‘Bear Down’. You always have to give whatever you have on every play regardless of what position you play or what sport you play.” 

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