COLUMBIA, S.C. — During his first season with the South Carolina football team, wide receiver OrTre Smith was third among Gamecocks pass-catchers with 30 receptions.
The first, a 9-yard touchdown grab against Kentucky, left him wondering one thing: Now what?
“I didn’t know what to do,” Smith said. “I was surprised. I just got thrown in the game and the route was set up that I was going to get the ball. I just did my job and caught it. I didn’t know what to do.”
Smith went on to snag touchdown receptions in each of the next two games against Louisiana Tech and Texas A&M. He didn’t reach pay dirt the rest of the season, but finished with 326 yards, which is third among pass-catchers returning to South Carolina in 2018.
“There’s always room to improve,” Smith said. “I felt like I could’ve done more last year, so that’s what I’m working on this offseason and the spring right now.”
The 6-foot-4, 220-pound sophomore shared some of the specifics.
“I felt like I did well, but I could’ve done better on certain stuff, like watching film, blocking-wise,” he said. “This year, I’m working on playing until the whistle blows and just doing what I’m supposed to do.”
Cleaning up his route-running, Smith added, along with the way he attacks the ball in the air, are also among the areas he’s focused on this month.
“I want to help my team as much as I can, so whatever that leads to, whatever we’re doing, then I’ll do it,” he said. “But I want to do better than I did last year.”
Smith is one of seven wide receivers who caught a pass last season for the Gamecocks. All seven, including Deebo Samuel, Bryan Edwards and Shi Smith, are set to return this fall.
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