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Everything Trey Smith said about Senior Day, his career as a Vol

Vols senior left guard Trey Smith met with the media on Tuesday afternoon to discuss Senior Day this Saturday against No. 5 Texas A&M.

Smith looked back on his time as a Vol, the player he looked up to as a freshman, how his senior year has gone, if his draft stock has improved this year, his favorite moments of his career and the future of Tennessee’s offensive line.

Here’s everything Smith had to say:

On what Saturday will be like:

“Saturday is definitely going to be an emotional day for me. The last time I get to play in Neyland Stadium. Just definitely wanna go out with a bang in that aspect, just playing my best ball. Definitely going to be an emotional day.”

On what he’ll take from this season:

“Quite frankly, I think nothing in life is going to be that hard. I’ve been through a lot of tough seasons here, a lot of tough situations on and off the field, and here I am still standing. As a team we’re still standing as well. Just knowing nothing in life can stop me.”

On what it’s been like to not host recruits this season:

“For players it’s not that big of a deal for us. It’s just business as usual. We just come to football every day. In our film sessions, just sort of being uninterrupted in a way. I think that really impacts the coaches a lot more than players per say because obviously they have to bring in recruits and communicate with families. That has to be tough not being able to see those people in person and build those relationships.”

On how much bigger Saturday’s game feels with Texas A&M trying to make the College Football playoffs:

“This game this weekend is going to be an extremely big deal. You saw what happened in the Florida vs. LSU game this past weekend. Anything can change. I know (Texas) A&M knows that as well. They’ll be coming in and playing with their best ‘A’ game to put on a great performance. In the same breath, we have to come prepared because they’re one of the top five teams in the country. They’re a very talented group, especially on the defensive line. Facing them is going to be a great challenge for us. It’s something that we have to be prepared for.”

On what areas he believes he has improved in this season:

“That’s pretty simple. If you look at my medical situation, which is one of the main factors of why I returned, I think I’ve definitely nullified any issues with that. I’ve been practicing more. Obviously, I’m playing a full season without any major injuries or issues. My medical situation is absolutely perfect and clear. I think I’ve improved my stock and have taken those ‘what ifs’ off the table even more with NFL teams in the future.”

On if he thinks he has proven the situation with his health is good to go:

“Well, I hope so, but if it’s not, it’s definitely going to be taken care of when I go through those evaluations and different processes I’m going to have to go through. We have a great medical team here, especially when Dr. Klenck and the plan we developed, being way more flexible with it than we ever have been. It’s gone extremely smooth, it’s gone great, no issues whatsoever. Moving forward, it shouldn’t be an issue whatsoever with teams looking forward to drafting me.”

On how he would describe his Tennessee career:

“I would definitely describe my career as tough. From a personal standpoint and the things I’ve had to go through, the expectations every season. Sometimes we meet them. Sometimes we don’t. That’s obviously tough to go through, as well. I think just being resilient and going through a lot of different things. I know that Riley Locklear and I would always talk about how, when we first stepped on campus, we had a different o-line coach. We had coaching changes, as well. It hasn’t always been perfect, but at the end of the day, I love this university. I love this program. I’ve tried to fight every day for it, tried to be the best person I can be for it and trying to be the best player I can be for it. It’s not always an easy situation, but it’s something that I’m willing to fight for every day and I have fought for it every day. Going forward, we have to keep fighting to make this place better.”

On the health of the program as he closes out his career:

“We’re still fighting. We’re coming to work every day regardless of what other people say about us. At the end of the day, we know what job we have to do. We know what we have to do to be successful. We have to execute better and be more detailed and accountable in everything we do.”

On what he wants his Tennessee legacy to be:

“I want people to think that I’m a guy who cared about his university, cared about playing football here and loves this school. He didn’t let adversity stop him from becoming what he’s going to be one day. When I say that, I mean being successful, having a football career, receive my degree as I already did and also play on the next level. At the end of the day, last year and even two years ago, nobody thought that I would be standing at this podium. Nobody thought that I would still be talked about. Nobody thought that I’d still be playing football. (It’s about) bringing that level of toughness every day, not really caring what other people say, but just coming to work, believing in God, believing in myself and believing in what I’m supposed to be.”

On freshman offensive lineman Cooper Mays:

Cooper is my boy, sitting next to him in the meeting room. Obviously Cade is big brother, but I feel like that’s my little brother, too, in the sense of the word. Cooper has a bright future ahead of him. Talking about a guy that is extremely athletic. In terms of knowledge of the game, it’s increasing by the day, really by the week. He’s been really impressive with how he’s had to deal with things. Having to come in this late in the season — I know he played a lot of tight end in the beginning, didn’t work as much center and stepping up for the role he has to play right now is extremely impressive and I’m extremely proud of him.

On freshman offensive lineman Javontez Spraggins:

“Javontez has a great work ethic. He tries to do the right things when it comes to working day in and day out. I think the future is extremely bright in terms of younger offensive lineman on this team and what they can bring in the future.”

On what his week looks like this year:

“I’m practicing every day, that’s pretty much what it is right now. It’s a blessing to go from where I was last year to this point right now.”

On who he looked up to when he was a freshman in 2017:

“That’s an easy question. Without a doubt, Jashon Robertson really showed me the ropes. He really taught me most of what I know, in terms of how to play, work ethic and how to be that guy. I would say Brett Kendrick was pretty influential as well. Playing next to him, being my tackle for the majority of the 2017 season, I relied on both of those guys as veterans on both sides of me, at the time. They mentored me on how to play, what the play is, how we’re going to do certain things, what’s required in certain situations and how we’re going to be successful. Big kudos to Jashon. He was actually in town a few weeks ago, so it was awesome to catch back up with him.”

On if he’ll participate in a senior bowl:

“I’m just focusing on this 2020 seasons. not really looking forward into the future right now. Just trying to focus on the task at hand, which is playing A&M. They have an extremely talented front, so I’m preparing for that.”

On what stands out to him on tape about Texas A&M:

“They’re just some gifted guys on the interior. It’s going to be a big challenge. I know the younger guy, (McKinnley Jackson), freshman, he has good get-off, good power, good initial explosiveness out of his stance. They have another guy, (Jayden Peevy), he’s very athletic, does some really good things. They have a lot of different twists as well. (Bobby Brown) is a highly-touted guy. You see him flash a lot on film. It’s going to be a really big challenge up front, especially in the interior. Talking about a very talented Texas A&M team. They’ve played a lot of good football this year, so it’s going to be an extreme challenge up front.”

On his favorite memories from his time as a Vol:

“I would say my first game ever here, when we played Georgia Tech. That was really cool. I think we went into overtime. Winning that game in the fashion that we did, that was a really cool moment for me, especially being a freshman. I think we were the second game to be played in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. That was a really cool moment. I can’t really narrow it down to two. I’ll probably say three. Beating Auburn on the road in 2018, a game nobody expected us to win and then also winning the South Carolina game last year in that fashion. That was a ton of fun.”

What position he wants to play at the next level:

“That’s the thing at the next level, you can only travel so many o-lineman. And you only get so many opportunities, so whatever position they put me in, I have to play the best, regardless of how I feel or where I wanna play, I’m going to be prepared for that situation regardless. I’m ready to accept that challenge. I have no preference, I just want to play and I want to be successful in the NFL.”

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