Burning Questions: Alex Smith

While senior guard Alex Smith’s story hasn’t made it into a Hollywood script just yet, he does have a tale of determination similar to a famous Notre Dame walk-on from the 1970’s. Smith came to KU without a scholarship and played on the scout team for three years before finally getting a shot this season. The Basehor, Kan. native has made the most of his opportunity, playing in all five games at left guard for the Jayhawks in 2010.

How anxious are you guys to get back on the field after a loss and a bye week?

“We put the last game behind us (pretty quick), but I’m always looking forward to playing against K-State. It’s a big rivalry game, and our fans and players always get really excited for it. It’s always a great atmosphere.”

Being that you’re from Kansas, does that fire you up to play K-State?

“Definitely. I have friends that I went to high school with that chose to go to K-State, so I always talk to them about the game (every year), so it makes it more of a rivalry game. It’s fun, too, to be able to talk to some of my hometown friends after the game.”

Does your family make it to most of your games?

“Depending on how many tickets I can get, I try to get six or seven or eight of my family members to the game. But I always try to make sure my mom and dad and my brother can at least make it out.”

What kind of determination does it take to play offensive line when you’re 5-foot-11?

“I’ve tried to just adapt to the situation. As a short lineman there are certain things I can do better, so I just try to use that to my advantage. I’ve come a long way in my four or five years here.”

What kind of advantages does it give you being shorter?

“As a shorter offensive lineman, you can play with more leverage and play lower to the ground than the defensive lineman, but it makes it tougher in the passing game.”

Have you seen the movie “Rudy”?

“Oh yeah.”

Do you see any similarities between that story and your career at Kansas?

“Probably some, just as far as trying to stay determined and knowing that even though I may not be a starter, I can still help the team. I played on the scout team for three years and just try to play really hard every day to get my shot. So there are probably some parallels to “Rudy”, but maybe not quite the extreme case.”

Do you own the new NCAA Football ’11?

“Yeah, I bought the new College Football ’11. It’s awesome.”

Do you play as Kansas?

“I do play as KU. It’s a lot of fun playing with my teammates on the game.”

What is your favorite play to run on the game?

“My favorite play would probably have to be a power zone outside. I like to run the ball in the game a lot.”

What would be a successful ending to your career at KU?

“I’d really like to go to a bowl game, so I could look back on my senior year and know that I ended on a really good note. I’ve been on some really good teams here, but I’d like to know that my last year here will go down as a really good team as well.”