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The Cavaliers receiver is healthy, and head coach Mike London says he "can do it all."
The Roanoke Times | 2012
Tim Smith was the University of the University of Virginia’s seventh-leading receiver last season, finishing with 405 yards and four touchdowns.
The Roanoke Times | File 2011
Tim Smith catches a 60-yard touchdown pass against N.C. State during the teams’ 2011 meetup in Charlottesville.
Friday, August 23, 2013
CHARLOTTESVILLE — Tim Smith is the rare fifth-year college football player who actually will play five years.
That is, if he doesn’t injure himself prior to Virginia’s Aug. 31 season opener.
“A healthy Tim Smith can do it all,” said UVa head coach Mike London on the eve of preseason practice, “and right now he’s healthy.”
Three weeks into spring practice, Smith is still healthy.
“He’s the fastest guy on our team,” London continued. “So, he’s that deep-threat guy. Or he can crack back [as a blocker] on the safety. He’s got that mindset. We’re expecting big things from Tim.”
Smith was the Cavaliers’ seventh-leading receiver last year, when he finished with 20 receptions for 405 yards and four touchdowns. He missed an early season game at Georgia Tech, played in the next two games and then missed games with Duke and Maryland.
Virginia lost all three games he missed.
“The second game of the season, I had hamstring problems and missed most of the Penn State game,” Smith said. “That’s something that bothered me throughout the whole season.
“I had done a lot of running [in the summer of 2012] so that’s definitely something I’ve cut back on. I know my limits and I know what to do and what not to do.”
Smith played as a true freshman in 2009, when he caught a touchdown pass against TCU, and he played in the first two games of the 2010 season.
He had three receptions before that season ended at Southern Cal, where he pulled up lame after gaining 16 yards on a reverse. He later underwent season-ending surgery to repair torn ankle ligaments.
In Smith’s mind, it’s more a case of being unlucky than injury-prone.
“You take it for what it is,” Smith said. “I don’t think too much about it.”
Smith comes into his fifth year with 71 receptions for 1,202 yards and nine TDs for his career. Virginia passed for more than 3,000 yards in each of the past three seasons, a school first, but three-year offensive coordinator Bill Lazor took a job with the Philadelphia Eagles and was succeeded by former Colorado State head coach and NFL coordinator Steve Fairchild.
“We still run the same routes, give or take a little,” Smith said. “Other than that, it’s only the terminology that’s different.”
Three other UVa wide receivers had more receptions than Smith last year — Darius Jennings (48), Dominique Terrell (38) and E.J. Scott (29).
Smith averaged a team-high 20.2 yards per reception and his touchdown catches were for 36, 13, 38 and 42 yards.
“Tim Smith brings a whole different skill set,” Fairchild said.
UVa shows video snippets on London’s twitter site and Smith has been featured regularly on scoring players.
“He’s the oldest in our group, so he brings experience,” said Marques Hagans, who coaches the UVa wide receivers. “I’m just keeping my fingers crossed because, when he’s healthy, he’s one of the best in the conference.
“There’s no limit to what he brings to the table.”
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