Tennessee Volunteers wide receiver Josh Smith caught a lot of flack last Saturday against Missouri for dropping a wide open pass from Josh Dobbs.
The drop, which halted a Volunteer drive, killed any momentum the Vols had going.
Vol fans were not happy, to put it lightly.
How do you drop that pass josh smith?! Missed opportunity to get 7 points.
— Colton Woody (@cwoody45) November 3, 2013
How many passes does josh smith have to drop each week before he gets benched?? Every week!!
— Jordan Cole (@jordancole23) November 3, 2013
Josh Smith another drop. It’s an issue
— Jonathan Reed (@Jon__Reed) November 3, 2013
Despite Smith’s issues with drops, the Vol coaching staff has not last faith in the true freshman.
Butch Jones gave Smith a vote of confidence earlier this week.
Jones: Josh, I’ll tell you right now, has the best hands on our football team……He’s a young man with a tremendous amount of upside, and he’ll be fine
Tennessee’s wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni also heaped the praise on Smith this week.
Azzanni: He has made those plays in practice over and over, he just has to settle down and the nerves pressing. I keep coaching him up and also remind him why he made those drops……Josh has incredible hands. He really does. He has great ball skills. He has the best ball skills in my group. They haven’t shown up sometimes on Saturday. I feel for him, I think he is pressing. You come out here and practice and he catches everything.
It’s important to remember that Smith is a true freshman that’s been thrust, quite possibly prematurely, into a starting role with a very inexperienced offensive unit.
Then again, in the midst of a game it doesn’t matter how much experience you have — you’ve got to make the plays.
I definitely understand the frustration of Vol fans. When you’re constantly being told what a great practice player a guy has been, it gets frustrating when you never see that come to fruition on the field.
In my humble opinion, I think Vol fans need to patient with Smith. If the coaching staff has this much faith in Smith, then there’s obviously sufficient talent there.
Besides, there’s probably not anyone more frustrated with Smith’s performance than Smith himself.
“The game is going really fast for him now, he has to slow down”.
Those words, spoken by Azzanni, are incredibly true. Smith needs to slow down and take it all in.
Because he might not have these opportunities next season with the talent the Vols are bringing to Rocky Top.