One of the top returnees for the defense is senior Garnet Smith who moved from linebacker to defensive end last season.Smith led the Lions with seven sacks and 11 1/2 tackles behind the line of scrimmage for a loss of 91 yards.He
also recorded 61 tackles, which was good for third on the team and notched first team all-Lone Star Conference honors.
"Last year I wasn't playing for awards," said Smith
."I moved to defensive end for the team, but it is a blessing to get noticed."
Voters took notice of Smith
again this pre-season as he
was picked second behind Central Oklahoma linebacker Will Clewis for LSC North Division Defensive Player of the Year.Clewis received eight votes, edging out Smith
The biggest question for the defense, according to Smith
, is filling in the spots left by the seniors because of the camaraderie of the 2006 squad.
"Last season's defense was good because of the chemistry," said Smith
."We felt chemistry on and off the field."
So far in camp, Smith
says the best thing about the new defense is the Lions
' "positive attitude."Before playing for the Lions, Smith was at the University of Texas from 2002-2005, getting into all 13 games as a freshman, but missed the 2003 and 2004 seasons due to injury.He
recorded 21 tackles, five tackles for loss and a sack as a Longhorn.
"(Smith) is very competitive, it is very important to him, very physical and is one of our leaders," said Conley.
...Texas A&M University-Commerce defensive end Garnet Smith puts pressure on the quarterback in a loss to West Texas A&M last season.Smith
finished the game with 10 tackles, one sack and one fumble recovery.Craig Buck/A&M-Commerce (Click for larger image)