Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Chris Smith starts strong for Storm

No defensive back has been better the first three weeks of the season than the Storm's Chris Smith.

KENT NISHIMURA | Times

No defensive back has been better the first three weeks of the season than the Storm's Chris Smith.

TAMPA — From one-on-one coverage to receivers moving forward as the ball is snapped, Arena Football's rules are slanted toward the offense.

"Defensive back is so tough to play," Storm coach Lawrence Samuels said. "They're out there all alone."

But no defensive back has been better during the first three weeks of the season than the Storm's Chris Smith, who picked off two passes during Saturday's 56-52 loss to Orlando. That ran his season total to five, which was tied for first in the league entering Thursday. The Palmetto native also has 17½ tackles, which was second in the league (five behind teammate Jean Fanor).

As a rookie in 2013, Smith's eight interceptions led the Storm and tied for eighth in the league.

"He's really carried over what he started last season," Samuels said. "He's proven he can be a playmaker for us."

Smith, 26, who played three games for the NFL's Rams in 2011, had two interceptions and a fumble recovery in a Week 2 win against San Antonio that earned him the league's playmaker of the week award. In the season-opening win against New Orleans, he returned a fumble 42 yards for a touchdown.

"Chris has got a nose for the ball," Samuels said. "And he's a smart football player. He puts himself in the right positions to make the plays he does."

Award Tour: WR Amarri Jackson and WR/KR Michael Lindsey were named offensive player of the week and playmaker of the week, respectively. Jackson, who starred at USF, caught just six passes against Orlando. But five went for TDs.

After being shut out of the end zone in Week 1, Jackson has eight touchdowns, which was second in the league entering Thursday.

Lindsey did a little bit of everything against Orlando. He caught five passes for 108 yards and a touchdown, compiled 114 return yards and recorded a tackle and pass breakup. Lindsey, primarily a receiver and kick returner during his first two seasons with the Storm, has seen time at linebacker. That harkens back to the Arena Football League's "Ironman" days, when players went both ways.

"The first two days of training camp, that's what we worked on," said Samuels, who went both ways as a receiver and linebacker during his career. "We … identified the players who could (go both ways). We wanted to take it back to the old school for these guys."

Leading the League: Besides Smith, other Storm players were league leaders entering Thursday. Randy Hippeard was first with 841 passing yards, 20 passing touchdowns and six interceptions. Justin Hilton led with 328 receiving yards. Lindsey led with 408 return yards. And former USF DL Richard Clebert was tied for first with three sacks.

Welcome Back: The team re-signed former Plant DB James Harrell, who appeared in five games last season, and added K Geoff Boyer. To make room, it released K Carlos Lopez, who made 18 of 23 extra points, and DL Rashad Dukes.

Tonight

Storm (2-1) vs. Philadelphia (0-2), 7:30, Tampa Bay Times Forum Radio: 1250-AM

Tickets: (813) 301-6600, ticketmaster.com

Chris Smith starts strong for Storm 04/03/14 [Last modified: Thursday, April 3, 2014 9:29pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Road to Atlanta: Tell us how you really feel, Jimbo

    College

    Topped out

    TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 21:  Rashaan Evans #32 of the Alabama Crimson Tide tackles Jarrett Guarantano #2 of the Tennessee Volunteers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 21, 2017 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) 775042495
  2. Journal: USF gets support on the road

    College

    NEW ORLEANS — Perhaps it was the chance to witness the first USF-Tulane game ever, or an opportunity to frolic in the French Quarter for a weekend. Or both.

    USF running back D'Ernest Johnson (2) stiff-arms Tulane cornerback Parry Nickerson (17) on a run during the second half of an NCAA college football game in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle) LADH111
  3. Joey Knight's takeaways from USF-Tulane

    College

    1. Saturday's triumph will do little to fortify USF's strength of schedule, but its strength-of-character quotient might have increased. On the road facing an eclectic offense, the Bulls built a huge lead, then made critical plays in the waning moments after some defensive lapses. In short, they survived. Isn't …

    South Florida defensive end Greg Reaves (41) reacts after a defensive stop against Tulane during the first half of an NCAA college football game in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle) LADH107
  4. No. 16 USF hangs on at Tulane, off to first 7-0 start

    College

    NEW ORLEANS — After half a season of mismatches, USF found itself in a grudge match Saturday night.

    USF quarterback Quinton Flowers (9) runs for a touchdown against Tulane during the first half of an NCAA college football game in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle) LADH103
  5. Lightning journal: Tighter defense fuels hot start

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — See what happens when you keep the crease clean, limit the traffic in front of G Andrei Vasilevskiy and limit Grade A scoring chances?

    Yanni Gourde, right, gets a late first-period goal that follows a big save by Andrei Vasilevskiy.