Oct. 9, 2008
by Keenan Bowen, EWU Sports Information
Alex Smart has been a journeyman of sorts over the course of his Eagle career. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound senior quarterback from North Bend, Wash., has played whatever position asked of him. Recruited out of Mount Si High School as a quarterback, Smart has played both wide receiver and tight end along with quarterback - something that attests to his athletic ability on the football field.
Smart has appeared in 17 games at quarterback so far, completing 18-of-35 passes for 197 yards with three touchdowns. In 2007, Smart was named to the Big Sky Conference All-Academic team.
Q: What is the team's mindset right now with Montana coming up this weekend after the heartbreaking loss to Portland State last weekend?
A: "It seems like any loss in the Big Sky can feel like the nail in the coffin. Luckily for us, the league is still wide open, so maybe this loss will be more constructive than other losses have been. That's not to say losing to a Big Sky opponent three seasons in a row isn't very disappointing. I know it has left a sour taste in a lot of mouths and hopefully that will help us turn up the intensity a little bit for this weekend."
Q: With this being your last year at Eastern, how are you feeling about your college football experience?
A: "I'd say more than anything it has been a growing experience. Coach (Beau) Baldwin, coach (Paul) Wulff, and coach (Darin) Lovat taught me so much about being a responsible, grown man and about being held accountable for your performance every day. I obviously would have enjoyed playing more every Saturday, but I really love watching one of my best friends (Matt Nichols) operate our offense."
Q: What was it like to have Coach Baldwin come back as head coach for your senior year, as he was your position coach in years prior?
A: "It's been really fun having him back at Eastern, and obviously made things pretty seamless as far as X's and O's go. We have a good relationship. He has approached me about many different team issues and I have done the same with him."
Q: What part of football do you like best?
A: "Team chemistry at practice and being around each other. I love going out every day and competing with my buddies on defense. It's all friendly competition and it can make a really tough practice seem a lot more fun. I'll probably miss that the most."
Q: Whose game do you try to emulate?
A: "I think Drew Brees is the model quarterback these days. He can make all the throws, he uses his eyes to work a defense perfectly and he can flat out play as well as anyone in the league. And above all that, he is a tough competitor. You will see him on the sidelines before the New Orleans Saints come out, leading their chants and getting his team fired up to play a game. I've been trying to do the same before our games and making sure everyone on offense is ready to roll at kickoff."
Q: Best player you've ever played against?
A: "Steve Slaton (former West Virginia running back) is by far the most talented person I've shared a field with. His first touchdown run against us in 2006 was the most impressive run I've ever seen in a game that I have been a part of."
Q: Best thing about being a Division I football player?
A: "Obviously, most people point to having a full scholarship, but I would say you really appreciate playing college football when you realize what an elite group you belong to. Knowing that there are tons of other 21, 22 year old guys wishing they were in your shoes is very humbling."
Q: Who has been the most influential person in your playing career?
A: "At Mount Si High School (North Bend, Wash.), my head coach (Charlie Kinnune) put in a ton of his personal time teaching me everything he knew about football both on and off the field. He taught me how a quarterback handles himself, the pressure, fans, hype, and how to just concentrate on playing the game."