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Kickin' back with Bucs running back Michael Smith

Thanks to his father remarrying, Bucs running back Michael Smith has seven siblings. Maybe he and four of them can try out for Family Feud, one of the rookie’s favorite television shows.


Thanks to his father remarrying, Bucs running back Michael Smith has seven siblings. Maybe he and four of them can try out for Family Feud, one of the rookie’s favorite television shows.

I understand you have seven siblings. Did all of you grow up together?

Half of us did. My dad got remarried, so I have other siblings.

So you have a real-life Brady Bunch?

Oh, yeah. There's a lot of us.

Does the whole group get together a lot?

Actually, we do. I'm the only one that's not there. Everybody lives in Arizona, well, except one of my sisters. We always go back for the Christmas holidays. In fact, this was my first time not going back for Christmas. It didn't feel right. We do a lot of fun stuff together. Bowling and stuff like that.

What's a bowling game like with all of you guys?

It's real competitive. I'm like the second oldest, so me and my older brother will take all the kids bowling together.

Sounds like a lot of gift-buying at Christmas. How do you manage all that?

They ask for stuff. Sometimes, I tell them yes. Sometimes, I say no. It depends. I'm in position to get them some things right now. But let's be real: Nobody's getting a car for Christmas.

On a different note, I hear you changed your number in college from 34 to 20 because you love Barry Sanders. Is that correct?

My pops showed me a few clips of him years ago, and I decided I wanted to have that same running style. I liked the way he outran people and how he broke away from (defenders). So in college, I was 34 because a veteran had No. 20. As soon as he left, I snatched it. Then I come here to the Bucs, and I'm like, "Oh, man! No. 20 is Ronde Barber?" Never mind, I'm not getting that.

I was going to ask whether you had the nerve to ask for it because it's not happening.

Oh, I know. Trust me. So I changed it back to 34. But that's a good number, too. Earl Campbell wore 34. Walter Payton, too.

Here are my weekly questions: What's playing most often right now on your iPod?

I'm a big R&B fan. I like Trey Songz's Dive In. I like Usher, too. And Kelly Rowland. I'm not a big rap fan, but I will listen to it.

What website do you visit the most?

I'm probably on Facebook more than anything. My friend, Matt, he's always posting something weird. So I'll always check in and see what he is up to.

What reality show do you watch most regularly?

I like Family Feud with (host) Steve Harvey. He is funny. He has me rolling on the ground on that show.

Wait, that's a game show, not a reality show. I guess we can bend the rules for you, though.

Well, that's what I watch, man.

Are you one of those people who shouts out the answers?

I do, and I always feel like my answers are right. But there's always something else up on the board. I don't understand that.

You're known for having speed. You ran an unofficial 4.25-second 40-yard dash. Do your teammates know about that? And has anyone challenged you to race?

Nobody really has. Actually, (cornerback) LeQuan Lewis is talking about it. I told him that after the season, we can race. But I don't have any doubts. I might sound cocky, but I have confidence in my speed.

Were you always the fast kid when you were growing up?

Believe or not, my brother (Xavier Smith) was faster than me. And he weighs probably 40 or 50 pounds more than me. It's crazy. I would always lose to him. But when I got to college, it was like I got an extra gear and I started beating him. Before that, I raced my brother many times. I would always lose to him.

Did you guys grow up competing against one another?

Oh, yes. And he was a running back, too. It was a rough few years for me. We went to the same school. But I always knew I would get my shot.

So were you, like, his backup?

Yeah. I returned kickoffs, and I played a little bit of slot receiver. But I was his backup, chilling on the bench. He was a good recruit. He played at Arizona.

Does he scrutinize you a lot when he watches you play?

Oh, man, yes. I always tell him, "Look, you're not the coach." I tell him, "Hey, other guys get paid, too."

You're a long way from home. How are you settling into Florida?

I like it. Nice weather. I'm finally near the beach. But that humidity kicks in. I'm getting used to it now, but at first, wow. I'm from Tucson. We have dry heat. It's hot here, but when the humidity kicks in, it goes to another level. You sweat like crazy.

Stephen F. Holder can be reached at sholder@tampabay.com.


Michael Smith

Position: Running backHeight/weight: 5-9; 205

Age: 24Hometown: Tucson, Ariz.

College: Utah State; rushed for 870 yards and nine touchdowns as a senior; gained 7.6 yards per carry while teaming with Robert Turbin, a fourth-round pick by Seattle who has appeared in every game this season as a rookie.

Pro: Drafted in the seventh round in April; active for one game after leading the Bucs in rushing during preseason with 83 yards.

Kickin' back with Bucs running back Michael Smith 12/28/12 [Last modified: Friday, December 28, 2012 8:25pm]
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