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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Davidson Revamps Panthers' Offense



September 7, 2007

Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith is "geeked up" about the Carolina Panthers offense heading into Sunday's regular season opener against St. Louis. If the three-time Pro Bowler is right, the Panthers offense won't look at all like the one that struggled in the preseason.

"People will be surprised at what is going to happen on Sunday as far as our offense," Smith said with a grin. "I was surprised and excited."

Does that mean Smith will be a big part of the game plan? Well, he isn't saying.

In fact, he isn't spilling the beans about anything.

"It's different," he said. "I'm telling you, it's different. I can't say much more than that, but it's different. I like it though."

Smith praised new offensive coordinator Jeff Davidson and his staff for their creativity and for best utilizing the talent the team has on offense.

"They've done a great job with some of the new wrinkles we have in there," Smith said. "After Wednesday, I was excited about coming in (Thursday) to see what else we were doing. I take my hat off to them because what we did in the preseason and what we're installing now is night and day. Those guys on the staff stayed up late the last two nights and they did some good things. People are going to be surprised."

Smith said the new game plan has required extra studying.

"I have to get my extra studying in because I can't just roll out of bed and know my plays. I'm actually studying. And that's the exciting part about it," Smith said. "It's back to football. It's drawing it up in the dirt and being able to go out there and say, 'What are we going to have this week?' This is the first time since I've been here under coach Fox where I've come in for the second day (of practice) and I'm excited and geeked up to find out what is going to happen? It's like, what do we have today?"

Smith wasn't always so thrilled with what was going on. He admitted to being a little worried when the plays the Panthers ran in the preseason were nothing like what they'd done in the June minicamp or training camp.

Although coaches repeatedly told him to be patient and that the offense would purposely be vanilla in the preseason, Smith began to wonder. That ended when he walked into the stadium on Wednesday and learned the game plan.

"I was not thinking it was going to be like this," Smith said. "It's totally opposite. I talked to coach Davidson and I told him I'm excited and I appreciate the things he's put in. They have put faith in us learning something new every week. And we haven't had that around here. So that's a good change."

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