Josh Smith: A Minor Setback for a Major Comeback

by Jay Luster

01/02/2018

Hi Josh, thanks, for agreeing to speak with me today. So you’re with the Triangle Torch, and this upcoming season will be their first in the AAL. Tell me about yourself?

I’m from Birmingham AL. I attended Daniel Payne Middle School, after that I attended P.D. Jackson HS. Then I went to Jacksonville State my first year, and then transferred to UAB (University of Alabama Birmingham). I was there until the program got shut down and canceled.  

After UAB shutdown, what did you do?

I transferred to Arkansas Pine Bluffs. That kind of put a dagger in my recruiting from the NFL.  

That must have been heartbreaking?

I love the game of football, and I’m pretty much blessed to play with the Torch and have another chance to get to the next level. UAB was just a minor setback for a major comeback.

How do you think that’s working out for you?

This past season I believe did a good job. I put up great stats, so I feel as if I’m still getting to the peak. I’m doing whatever it takes to get it to the next level.  

You have played well in Raleigh, but it must have been hard losing the championship game the way you did. Next year, the Torch are playing in the AAL, how do you see that going?

There is going to be a lot of competition in the AAL and we’re going to be great in 2018. We’re owed a championship and next year we will get a ring.  

So you’re predicting a championship?

Well let me just say it’s due time.  

I’m sure Torch fans will be happy to hear that.

(Laughter)  

So you’ve always played on the defensive line?

In my Sr. Year in HS my coach moved me to LB, but in college, I played DL.

How big are you?

I’m 6’2, 305lbs

Is it hard to play LB at that size?

(Laughter} I’m pretty fast for my size, and I can maneuver a little bit. With the Torch, I play some LB in goal line, but mostly I play Nose Guard.  

It’s usually taller guys playing end, being a little shorter you probably get to kill the center on every play.  

On every play, every time (laughter)! I can get on the edge and get around the end, so they move me back and forth.  

What position do you prefer?

In arena, I really like the NG position because there’s more action. It’s crazy how at the snap, if you hit him hard enough it just frustrates the whole play. That’s especially true if the QB is directly under center.

Does the high motion man give the defensive line and advantage timing the snap and getting off the ball?

Yeah (laughter), with the motion of the receiver, I can get off the ball and cause havoc a lot. When I push the center back I can sometimes make the QB trip over his foot. It’s fun because I rupture the whole play. Honestly, I think there’s no way a guy should be able to snap the ball and block. It’s possible, but it shouldn’t happen.  

I saw you play in Richmond last year, and the game got away from you in the second half. It also happened in the championship game. In both of those losses, the only losses the Torch had all year, it appeared your QB had some problems. What do you think went wrong?

I’m not sure of how the QB situation went, but once the momentum went down with him; it carried the team down. That’s all I can say about that. Against good teams, you can’t give them to many mistakes, and we gave them too many mistakes. They took advantage of it.  

How do you think the Torch off season has been going so far?

We’ve brought back some guys from last year, so we’ll have good chemistry. We’re also bringing in some great young talent, guys who are eager to play and get better.  

Arena ball doesn’t pay very much, what advice do you have for the rookies coming in?

What I tell guys coming in is if you’re in arena for the money you might as well not even play. Arena ball is where you get film and move up. You’ll get a little pay throughout the season, but it’s really for you to get film, keep playing and move up to where you want to go.  

And you?

I’m doing whatever it takes for me to get to the next level. Whether that be the NFL, Canadian football. No matter what it is, I challenge myself every day to get better.