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  1. #1
    singersp's Avatar
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    Reboot for Smoot

    Published August 03, 2006 01:19 am

    Ask cornerback Fred Smoot about his first season with the Minnesota Vikings last year and you’re met with honesty.

    [size=18px]Reboot for Smoot[/size]
    DB looks forward to new season after tough 2005

    By Chris Jagerson
    The Free Press

    Ask cornerback Fred Smoot about his first season with the Minnesota Vikings last year and you’re met with honesty.

    “Last year was probably the hardest year I’ve ever had in anything,” Smoot said. “Not just the transition (to a new team) — this is my sixth year and I’ve had six defensive coordinators and five head coaches, so I’ve always been in transition — but with everything that went on last year ... all the craziness, I think it was a tough year for me. I’m just looking forward to getting back to the basics.”

    Getting back to the basics will start with Smoot working under new defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin, who acknowledges that Smoot had some problems in 2005 but is looking forward to what Smoot has to offer on the field.

    “I don’t care what happened last year,” Tomlin said. “He’s done well so far and he’ll be a part of a defense that will have lots of opportunities for cornerbacks and he’s ready to seize that.”

    Besides the off-the-field problems, Smoot was plagued by injuries for the better part of last season. During training camp he suffered soft tissue damage in his knee along with a strained neck, and then broke his collarbone during the regular season.

    “I was never really worried about changing (teams),” Smoot said. “But starting the season with an injury during training camp and never recouping from that and then breaking my collarbone made it a hard year for me because I’ve never really been injured like that.”

    The injuries caused Smoot to start only half of the Vikings’ games last year and completely miss five games. Smoot said he had a great offseason and added 10 pounds of muscle to try and prevent himself from injuries again this season.

    “I can’t go through that again,” Smoot said. “I’ll go nuts sitting on the couch.”

    Antoine Winfield, who will start at the other cornerback this season, noticed some of the first year struggles Smoot had with the Vikings.

    “It was a tough situation for him last year ...,” Winfield said, “Not being healthy, having a bad game against (Carolina’s) Steve Smith, and then the next week he got hurt against Detroit. Brian Williams came in and played well and it was tough for him to come back.”

    After four seasons in Washington where he averaged nearly 54 tackles per year and four interceptions, Smoot recorded 44 tackles and two interceptions in his first season with the Vikings.

    To start off his second season with the team, Smoot will have to learn a new defensive system — Tomlin’s Tampa-2 scheme — a system and a coordinator that Smoot has high praises for.

    “It’s a calm and friendly defense .... and you’re freed up to make a lot more plays and play your game,” Smoot said. “I mean (Tomlin’s) going to call the plays he’s going to call, but I love his rhythm of calling plays and I love the plays that he’s already got in.”

    “The problem last year was we were forced to play a lot of Cover-3 where we had to play 8, 9, 10 yards off our guy and basically let him do what he has to.”

    And despite losing key members of last year’s secondary, Smoot still believes that the unit will be one of the best in the league.

    “Going out and signing Dwight Smith, I think that puts (our secondary unit) in the top 3, as far as players and depth wise,” Smoot said. “If one of us goes down, our nickel or dime guy can step up and not miss a beat.”

    Smoot just hopes that won’t have to happen this time around.

    Reboot for Smoot

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  2. #2
    Vikes_King's Avatar
    Vikes_King is offline Jersey Retired
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    Re: Reboot for Smoot

    i really hope smoot lives up to what we all expected last year.. if so our secondary is goign to be sick

    "We’ll win our own Super Bowl, with our own players. Real Vikings. Something Brett Favre can never be."

    - Dan Calabrese

  3. #3
    PsychoViking is offline Training Camp
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    Dec 1969

    Re: Reboot for Smoot

    I fully expect Smoot to bounce back nicely in Tomlins new defense...I honestly believe that this version of the Tampa-2 is very well suited for both Smoot and Winfield.
    Now if the LB's can only step up and take to this new defense.
    The World is Full Of Kings & Queens..Who Will Blind Your Eyes..Then Steal Your Dreams..Its Heaven & Hell

  4. #4
    Json is offline GM
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    Dec 1969

    Re: Reboot for Smoot

    I hope Smoot showcases his best season this year. I will hold much of my judgement on him until after a few games are played.

  5. #5
    nephilimstorm's Avatar
    nephilimstorm is offline Star Spokesman
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    Re: Reboot for Smoot

    I hope he settles it on the field with Steve his place (the metrodome) and says UHUH not this time BIOTCH!

  6. #6
    NodakPaul's Avatar
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    Re: Reboot for Smoot

    Smoot will be just fine. This is going to be a great year for our defense!
    Zeus wrote:
    When are you going to realize that picking out the 20 bad throws this year and ignoring the 300 good ones does not make your point?


  7. #7
    singersp's Avatar
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    Re: Reboot for Smoot

    Posted on Fri, Aug. 04, 2006

    [size=18px]FRED SMOOT: Cornerback ready for his second chance[/size]


    MANKATO, Minn.—
    Fred Smoot stormed into Minnesota in March 2005, boasting of his ability as a shutdown cornerback. After signing a six-year, $34 million contract with the Vikings, Smoot talked about anything and everything, lacing his comments with his Mississippi flair.

    But injuries cut into his playing time, his relationship with coach Mike Tice soured and his reputation was sullied by his role in the infamous Lake Minnetonka boat party scandal.

    "I don't want my career known for a boat incident," Smoot said. "That ain't what I'm here to do. I'm truthful to myself, and that's one person I can't lie to. And I know what happened, and I am a great person, and people who know me … will back me up."

    The misfortunes of 2005 started with a minor knee injury in training camp and continued with the boat party scandal in October, with his name being the most prominent initially mentioned by the boat company's attorney, Stephen Doyle. Then he was sidelined in November with a collarbone injury, before being relegated to a backup role in December.

    By season's end, Smoot was mute.

    "You knew something was bothering him," Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield said. "You can tell the differences, because last year he was quiet and kind of distant, and you knew that wasn't him. He's always full of energy."

    Smoot said he felt like he was unfairly targeted.

    "It was frustrating, because I felt like I was zeroed out, maybe because I was the new guy," Smoot said. "But I didn't want to call anybody's name.

    "Everything that was said, was said. But I began to go into a shell."

    Smoot said he wanted to protect others. Besides, he wasn't sure anyone would believe him.

    Asked if he used a sex toy on female dancers, as prosecutors charged, Smoot said, "That was so untrue, and I said it once or twice. But once I said it, I was like, 'It ain't no use. Say what you want to say. Let's just get this over with.' I just tried to tell people to keep an open mind."

    Asked why he pled guilty to disorderly conduct and being a public nuisance on a watercraft, Smoot said, "At first, I wanted to press the issue, and I wanted to get clearance. Then I thought about it, and I didn't want to go through a long, drawn-out process."

    Most importantly, Smoot said, he didn't want the case to drag into this season, potentially becoming a distraction.

    "What I truly want to say is, when people turned against us after the boat thing, we still went 9-7," Smoot said. "Imagine what we're going to do with better coaching and a new slate."

    During the offseason, Smoot started lifting weights for the first time and added 11 pounds of muscle. He said he now weighs 199 pounds. In addition, he embraced the new coaching staff.

    "I already put (2005) out of my mind," Smoot said. "Once we got the brand-new regime and the coaches they brought in, it just brought a new light to me because, at the end of last year, me and coach Tice weren't getting along."

    Smoot is looking for redemption this year. The Vikings open against the Washington Redskins, his former club, at FedEx Field, then play the Carolina Panthers and receiver Steve Smith, who last season pretended to row a boat after scoring on Smoot during the Panthers' rout on Oct. 30.

    In fact, the following week, reporters upset Smoot with their line of questioning.

    "Smith beat me, and all of a sudden, I had a bad season," Smoot said. "What happened to the rest of the games I played? Who else beat me for a touchdown? Nobody.

    "If you want to talk about bad, yeah, that was one of the (worst games) I had in my life," Smoot said. "But that don't make my season bad."

    During training camp, Smoot has been outspoken, and he has been signing plenty of autographs for fans.

    "Smoot is Smoot," Winfield said. "He's a fun person to be around. It can be 6 o'clock in the morning, and he's full of energy."

    Winfield said it's obvious Smoot is embracing the fresh start with the new coaching staff.

    "He's excited. You can tell," Winfield said. "He's jumping around and making plays, and he's in meetings and asking questions."

    Given his loquacious nature, Smoot had one final message for Vikings fans: "To all the people who looked at me a different way? I'm the same guy. I love for my city to embrace me, and before it's over with, this city will embrace me too."

    Sean Jensen can be reached at [email protected]

    FRED SMOOT: Cornerback ready for his second chance

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  8. #8
    Property0f's Avatar
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    Re: Reboot for Smoot

    Fred Smoot audio interview with PA and Dubay. (8/03)

    He takes some shots at the old coaching staff.

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