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Former NFLer Smith transmits intensity to UH


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POSTED: Tuesday, April 07, 2009

When Mike Smith first walked into the Baltimore Ravens locker room, he had a built-in icebreaker when he met up with one of the NFL's fiercest defenders.

Smith was drafted by the Ravens to back up Ray Lewis, and shared a bond with the All-Pro linebacker in having played for Greg McMackin in college.

“;One of the nicest guys you'll ever meet,”; Smith said of Lewis. “;He has a lot of passion and he'll hit you, but off the field he'll come give you a hug. He's a good guy.”;

McMackin coached Lewis during his tenure as defensive coordinator at the University of Miami and later recruited Smith to Texas Tech.

Smith kept in touch with McMackin after they moved on in their careers and gave his former coach a call when an injury led him to call it a career after four years with the Ravens. Now he's taking in his first coaching experience as a graduate assistant on the Hawaii staff, assisting Cal Lee with the Warriors linebackers during spring practice.

“;We have some good players, they listen and they try to take what we learn from the film room to the field,”; said Smith, who filled the spot held by David Gilmore last season. “;We've got some good guys and it makes my job a lot easier.”;

Smith was a seventh-round draft pick in 2005 and made the Ravens roster as a reserve linebacker and special teams player. While in Baltimore, he worked under defensive coordinator Rex Ryan while sharing a meeting room with a talent-laden linebacker corps that included Pro Bowlers Lewis, Bart Scott and Adalius Thomas.

“;It was just a blessing to be around those guys and that kind of defense. That kind of violent defense,”; Smith said.

Smith said he's enjoying his return to the college game while bringing a fiery presence to the Warriors' spring practice.

“;I've got a lot of intensity,”; he said. “;I don't want anybody to ever question the effort of our guys.”;

Catching on fast

Four practices into his UH football career, junior wide receiver Rodney Bradley appears to be getting up to speed in the Warriors offense.

Bradley, a transfer from Navarro (Texas) Junior College, took a turn with the first team during yesterday's practice and made a couple of nifty plays on wide receiver screens, showing off his speed after breaking out of traffic.

“;I'm getting used to the offense more and more every day. We just put in that screen today, I liked that,”; Bradley said.

Having Navarro teammate Melvin Hopkins on the roster has helped Bradley get comfortable in Hawaii. They are among among five JC transfers who enrolled at UH for the spring semester, giving them a head start on making the transition to Division I.

“;It's a good opportunity to come in now because I get to pick up the offense a lot faster and I have more time to do it because this is a pretty hard offense,”; Bradley said. “;At first it was a little frustrating because this stuff is so different from what we ran in junior college. Every day it's getting a lot better.”;

Coming up:

The Warriors are off today and return to practice tomorrow and Thursday at 7 a.m. They close the week with a practice on Maui on Saturday.