Mike Smith (Baltimore Ravens, Texas Tech) joins UH as a graduate assistant

Praising Mike Smith, Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach said:
“He was one of the toughest linebackers I’ve ever coached. He did it the hard way. He became a player through great determination, which, I think, says a lot about him. He’ll be a good teacher. I can’t say enough good things about him.” (HA)

HA Note: “He was a four-year starter — two as team captain — at Texas Tech. He played four seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, serving as All-Pro Ray Lewis’ backup, before negotiating a medical buyout last summer. He officially retired two months ago. He then called UH head coach Greg McMackin, who said there might be an opening on the staff this semester. David Gilmore decided not to return.”

About how Mac recruited him, Smith said:
“I was his first recruit. I’ve always been close to coach Mack. He believed in me since the very beginning.” (HA)

About his playing style at LB, Smith said:
“I consider myself to be old school. Football should be played as a man’s sport. I don’t hold anything back. Football isn’t a game for women or children or the faint of heart. It’s a tough sport.” (HA)

About joining the Ravens as a 7th round pick in 2005, joining a defense with 6 current or future All-Pros, Smith said:
“My first practice, I was already running late. They made all of the rookies tape last. I was nervous. When I got out there, (All-Pro defensive end) Terrell Suggs was just staring at me. They gave me the hardest time. But we all became good friends. I was blessed to play those years.” (HA)

About how he learned from Ray Lewis, Smith said:
“He’s a very intense guy. Off the field, he’s the nicest person. I was lucky to play with a guy like him.” (HA)

About how he and Ray Lewis (who played under Mac at Miami) would discussed Mac, Smith said:
“We always talked about the keys coach Mack told us to look for. He really helped us out a lot. Coach Mack has had such a successful career. All of the players respect him. He has so much respect in college football and the NFL. Everybody knows coach Mack. I told him: ‘When I’m your age, I hope I’ll have half the resume you had.’ ” (HA)

HA Note: “Smith said he plans to join the staff in about three weeks. He said he will assist defensive coordinator Cal Lee with the linebackers and also work with special teams coordinator Chris Tormey.”

Looking forward to joining the Warriors, Smith said:
“I can’t wait to meet the players, learn the system and start my coaching. I’m glad to be a Warrior. It’s a great program. I’m lucky to be part of a great staff.” (HA)

About how Smith’s toughness will transfer to the players he coached, Leach said:
“He has that gritty tough streak that will transfer to the players he works with. He understands football is a tough game for tough people. When he left our program, that was the hardest thing to replace about him. Not just his leadership, but his toughness on the field. He’s not your garden-variety guy. He’s at a different level. The people in Hawai’i will enjoy that.” (HA)

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