Coming Back Home: An Interview with Wade Smith
An Interview with Houston Texans, #74 Wade Smith
“I’m looking forward to us (the Texans) bringing back an even hungrier group of guys that are ready to take that next step. We want to be the last team standing when it’s all said and done.”
- #74 Wade Smith, Starting Left Guard for the Houston Texans
At 6’4″ and 309 pounds, Houston Texans starting left guard Wade Smith has provided leadership and stability to one of the best offensive lines in the NFL when he signed with the team in 2010. Entering his 10th season in the NFL, Smith has found a home here in Houston and most importantly his home state. A native of Dallas, Smith attended Lake Highlands High School where he played tightend, and continued his football career as a Memphis Tiger.
At Memphis he had 29 starts at tackle, but he started his career at Memphis as a tightend. The four year letter winner garnered the team’s Offensive Lineman of the Year in 2001 and second team All-Conference USA honors as a senior in 2002.
Smith was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in 2003 in the 3rd round (78th overall) and started all 16 games as a rookie. Smith also played for the New York Jets (2006-2007) and the Kansas City Chiefs (2008-2009) before he arrived in Houston.
You will find that Smith is a consummate team player and the only thing that matters to him personally on the football field is that the Texans win. It is easy to see why the Texans were successful this season, because it is players like Smith who make the Texans what they are, a winning team.
First of all congratulations on a great season and giving us Texans fans a great ride, how have things been after this memorable season?
Thank you. The city has been waiting for the organization to take the next step (playoffs) and I’m glad to have done my part to make that happen for Houston. Things have been good (although I can’t help but think that we should be preparing for the Super Bowl this week) Everywhere I go around the city Texans Fans have shown us so much love and support for what we were able to do this year. It’s been great.
Are you staying in Houston for the offseason and what do you have on the schedule?
I’ll be in Houston for the majority of the offseason working out. I have some trips lined up: Disney World, Vegas, LA, and Dallas as well.
You have been with the Dolphins, Jets and Chiefs, was coming back home a big factor when you signed with the Texans in 2010?
Location did play a large sized role in my decision to come here, BUT I think the direction this organization was going in along with the role I knew I could play in getting us there were the major factors.
You have been in the league since 2003, do you have a goal on how long you want to play in the NFL?
This upcoming season will be my 10th. My body feels good and I feel like playing another 3-4 years at a high level is definitely something I want to do.
When training camp started did you have an idea that the Texans were a playoff team in 2011?
I felt like we had all the pieces to make a good run this year and I felt like we did that. I felt the same way last season, or I would have never come to Houston when I signed as a free agent. We lost an abnormally high amount of close games last season, but I knew that we would build from that coming into this year.
You wear game socks during training camp? Talk about your game socks tradition during camp and practice.
Growing up (and still today) I was a big fan of Jason Terry and his tall socks he would wear back when he played for Arizona. I kind of incorporated that into my “style” on the football field. The more practical reason is to get my body acclimated to the heat faster. Especially down here in Houston. It really helps get you ready for those early games in September.
Were you surprised with the success of the team despite all of the adversity that took place during the season?
Surprised isn’t the word I would use, I’d say that I was PROUD at how we came together as a team to replace some great players (Mario (Williams), Dre,(Matt) Schaub, Arian (Foster) Danieal (Manning) for us for an extended period of time. Everybody knew that we needed to rally around the guys replacing them and collectively step our games up. I think we did that for the most part.
The offensive line has been one of the best kept secrets in the NFL the past two seasons, what makes the offensive line what you are today?
I think we have a group of unselfish guys that work well together and aren’t afraid to do the dirty work. That prior statement doesn’t diminish the fact that we have talented players up front that are pretty athletic either. I think all great offensive lines do a great job of communicating well together, have talented players, and are competitive in nature with the opposition as well as each other. We’re no different.
Baltimore week 6, you score your first NFL touchdown. What was that like? Did you keep the ball?
That play was awesome and surreal at the same time. Everything seemed to happen in slow motion once the ball popped out. Once I jumped on it, I just tried to cover it up as much as possible because there were Ravens trying to get it out from under me at the bottom of the pile. I didn’t realize the coast was clear until I heard Duane yelling “YEEAAHH!” while he tried picking me up (laughing). It would have been so much better if we would have won the game, and since we didn’t I wasn’t really too excited about the play after the game. It’s still cool to be the answer to a trivia question now though. I didn’t keep the ball. I wasn’t even thinking about that at the time. I think I was too worked up at the time to remember to keep the ball (laughing). I spiked it and went on celebrating with my teammates
What was the atmosphere after the big regular season win after the Texans clinched the AFC South division over the Bengals?
ELECTRIC. It was a LONG time coming for this City/Organization. For guys like Dre who’s spent his whole career here without any TEAM success. It was awesome to be a piece in making that happen. The Fans were awesome when we returned back from Cincinnati. The impromptu pep rally held at Reliant is something I’ll always remember.
How in tune do you have to be with Duane Brown and Chris Myers during the game?
Communication between the guy lining next to you is paramount when having a productive O-Line. There are things that I might see that will alert Duane to a certain stunt by a D-Lineman and vice-versa. The same could be true for Chris letting me know something that he might see from a secondary defender’s alignment that would alert me to movement by the D-Line up front and vice versa. We sometimes don’t have time to communicate things verbally and we just KNOW/FEEL how one another will react. The same can be said for the guys on the right side as well. We ALL have to be on the same page in everything we do.
I think you get lost in the shuffle when it comes to the offenses success, what personal satisfaction do you have when Foster or Tate break off a big run or a big pass play happens?
First and foremost, I feel vindicated by winning ballgames. This was a good year for us in regards to that. When I came here in 2010, the offensive line (warranted or not) had a reputation for not being very physical and a line that didn’t run the ball very well. The past two seasons have put all that talk to rest. Definitely something we hang our hat on as a group. As an O-Lineman, I always take pleasure in seeing our skilled position players have success. We have such a great group of guys that handle the ball and it’s awesome to see them at work. A lot of times we get guys like Arian and Ben through the LOS and then THAT’S when the SHOW begins. This same thing applies when watching guys like Andre (Johnson) , Owen (Daniels), KW (Kevin Walter), and Jacoby (Jones) handle the ball after the catch.
What was the first playoff game in Texans history like for you against the Bengals? The whole game was electric.
AWESOME. The crowd support was amazing and the whole city was behind us. We played a good team in Cincinnati, and dictated how that game played out. We played Texans Football (Ran the football, Played great defense, and took care of the ball) for 4 quarters and came out with a big victory for this organization.
What does it mean to be a Houston Texan?
It’s an awesome feeling and a dream come true for me to play this game I love in my home State. My family is able to see me play at every home game and that’s something I haven’t had during my career until I signed here last season. The Houston Texans Organization, City, and Fans are all top rate. Definitely proud to be a Texan.
What are you thinking about for the 2012 season?
The 2012 season can’t get here soon enough. I’m looking forward to us bringing back an even hungrier group of guys that are ready to take that next step. We want to be the last team standing when it’s all said and done. THAT will be our goal going into next season.
We would like to thank Wade Smith for taking time out to have this interview with us. You can follow Wade Smith on Twitter @Smitty74allday and tell him thanks for being a Texan!
Thanks and Go Texans!