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Press Conference: Fisher, Heimerdinger, Proctor on QB Smith

Posted Apr 24, 2010

HEAD COACH JEFF FISHER

(opening comments)

As I said since last time we talked, we felt like there were quite a few defensive players on the board. Robert Johnson was one of those players we also looked at last night and this morning and discussed and very happy to be able to select him. Robert is a 6-2, 200-pound I guess you can refer to him as a complete safety. He can play either position, free safety or strong safety. He has very productive ball skills. He has 12 or 13 interceptions in his career. He’s a good tackler. He has a chance to make plays on special teams and fight his way on the field. He’s a very talented player. He played for a very talented defensive system, a pro style system with a lot of similar coverages that we are going to ask him to do. We’re excited about that. Just moments ago we drafted Rusty Smith out of Florida Atlantic. Rusty was one of those players that made the visit, one of our 30 visits. He had an outstanding visit. He’s big, strong, 6-5 and 230 pound quarterback that can make all the throws. We feel like he has a future ahead of him.

COLLEGE SCOUT COLE PROCTOR

(opening comments on Rusty Smith)

He just played in the first seven games this year and separated his non-throwing shoulder. The kid, if you look at his record from his freshman year on, 32 touchdowns and nine interceptions. In his sophomore year he’s 24 and 13 interceptions. This year he ended up with 14 touchdowns and five interceptions. He’s a pro style quarterback. He’s going to sit there and he can see the field and reads well. He had a really good workout. It was a really windy day down there on his pro day and you could see his arm strength throwing the out routes. He’s a great leader and well coached by Gary Nord. He had him his first few years and now of course he is a coordinator at Purdue. He’s done a wonderful job with him. I think he has a bright future for us.

(on what sets Rusty Smith apart from other quarterbacks on the board)

He’s a pro style quarterback and he’s got a strong arm.

OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR MIKE HEIMERDINGER

(on not running the spread and if he’s mobile)

He’s a pocket passer. He’s not going to set any 40 yard records but he slides great in the pocket. I fell in love with him when I watched his technique. His feet are always underneath him. He can get rid of it from any place he needs to. He makes all the throws, deep and short. He’s one of the few guys that has taken snaps consistently from underneath the center. He’s been in the gun and underneath but it has been a pro style and taking snaps from under the center.

(on shortening his throwing motion)

There’s not much we’re going to have to mess with this guy. We had this discussion before and I’m bigger on where their feet are than on the release. I don’t know how many time you can change the release but Cole told me he changed his release before the workout. He’s even better. But he can throw if from everywhere. The thing that really got me was his feet. He slides in his pocket well. He’s a true pocket quarterback. He can make all the throws.

(on the backup quarterback being in the mold of the starter)

I don’t know if you can find many molds behind Vince. It’s hard to find that type of guy that is that athletic and that good. They don’t make many of those. I think what your hoping for is you don’t have to change the offense.

HEAD COACH JEFF FISHER

(on if drafting Rusty increases the chances of keeping three quarterbacks)

Of course.

(on having four quarterbacks on roster)

When you get to this point of the draft it’s not a slam dunk deal that your sixth round pick is going to make your football team. We’re going to give Rusty every opportunity and see what he can do. He’s going to come in and compete and we want to give him an opportunity and that leads to how many you keep and who they are.

COLLEGE SCOUT COLE PROCTOR

(on where Smith would have been drafted if not injured)

I think if he would have continued on the way he was playing much earlier he would have risen.

(on Smith being healthy)

He is fine.

(on where he would have been drafted)

How high? That is hard to speculate if he kept going. He would have gone higher. I can’t tell you how high but he is a big classic quarterback.

HEAD COACH JEFF FISHER

(on the percentage of pro style quarterbacks out there)

I think you have seen those that have been drafted, with the exception of Armanti Edwards, were under center and doing the things we asked of them. You saw that out of the Northwestern kid and then, of course, out of Tennessee. These are the players that are getting drafted right now.

(on Johnson being better suited at free safety)

Not necessarily. We ask a lot of the same things out of both of them. He’s played more in the deep part of the field at the free safety position [inaudible] but you still see him come to the line of scrimmage and use his pads as well. A very solid tackler and we expect immediate contribution out of a physical player the way he is on special teams.

(on drafting defensive backs with high interception numbers)

There are a lot of players on board that are talented and a lot that had similar grades but we actually placed an emphasis on those guys that are making plays. Both the DBs, I think, one had 13 and one had 14 career interceptions, so they can make plays.

(on Johnson fitting the need at safety)

We assume that he is going to come in and do very well on special teams and learn the defense and be able to help out.

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