Smith enjoying his role at linebacker

Smith enjoying his role at linebacker

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Smith enjoying his role at linebacker

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Hopes Tigers can write a different story at Syracuse on Saturday

Clemson linebacker Chad Smith has waited his turn.

Throughout the years, the graduate student has been able to stay motivated by being patient and taking advantage of every opportunity.

Smith’s patience has paid off.

After redshirting his freshman season and then playing behind other linebackers like Ben Boulware, Kendall Joseph, Tre Lamar and J.D. Davis the last three seasons, Smith has finally gotten his chance to be the guy and he is making the most of it.

“Hard work pays off,” he said. “I have just continued to be persistent each and every year that I’ve been here, working my tail off and being patient. I learned from the old guys. It’s paid off, and I’ve been able to take advantage of the situation. Hopefully, I can keep doing that going forward.”

Even though the Virginia native has been at Clemson for several years, it was never a worry that he would not make into the regular rotation. Smith’s first concern was about the team.

“My mindset is team first,” he said. “I’m not a selfish guy. I don’t want to put myself above others. I’ve played my role and accepted my role. I do it to the best of my ability. I knew God had a plan for me in regard to football. Low and behold, things kind of happened in the off season where it allowed me to take advantage of the starting role at linebacker.”

Since being at Clemson in 2015, Smith has experienced four losses, including the 2017 loss at Syracuse which was not taken too lighthearted. The linebacker says he hates losing more than he loves winning.

“It sucks. No one likes losing,” Smith said. “You’ve got to hate to lose, more than you like to win. That tells a true heart of a competitor right there and we’re competitors here at Clemson. In the locker room those guys love winning, but we hate losing more. It did really suck, so hopefully we will remember that pain going forward.”

Clemson will visit the Orange on Saturday with kickoff set for 7:30 p.m. It will be televised by ABC.

As a veteran starter, Smith is aware of Syracuse’s ability, as he was a member of the team who lost to the Orange, 27-24, in 2017. To the linebacker, he believed Clemson wasn’t focused in the game, but hopes they can write a different story on Saturday at The Dome.

“It’s different being in a dome. It’s a little bit louder there,” he said. “I remember us not being truly focused in that game. We were kind of a little off on both offense and defense. They took advantage of that and made a lot of plays both offensively and defensively.

“Defensively we were kind of discombobulated at times. Hopefully, we can get those things corrected this year, and write a different story.”

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