Each week, we bring you a Q&A with a Ravens player, coach or team executive to help you learn a little more about the team. Today's guest is wide receiver Torrey Smith, who caught the game-winning 26-yard touchdown pass with eight seconds remaining Sunday to give the Ravens a 23-20 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Smith, who on the same drive dropped a potential touchdown pass, finished the game with five catches for 71 yards.
You're eight games into your first season in the NFL. Do you still feel like a rookie?
Not really. Really, we've played a whole college season so far. I've learned a lot, but I'm still learning. As far as being comfortable, I'm fine now.
Are you worried about hitting that proverbial rookie wall?
Yeah, I'm trying my best to avoid it. But I feel like you hit the rookie wall if you think about it. I just try to approach every day and make the most out of it. Hopefully, that will keep me from hitting that wall.
Is the rookie wall more mental or physical?
It's a little bit of both. We've played 12 games, and we played 12 games in college. So physically, I'm still holding up. I feel better than I did in school at this point. So it's about putting those two together and seeing how you hold up. I should be fine.
What is the biggest adjustment a rookie wide receiver has to make about making the transition to the NFL?
First of all, you're learning a whole new playbook. So you have to get over the mental part as far as understanding the plays and translating the terms from college. I played in a pro-style offense at Maryland, and when I came here, I was mixing up words that we had at Maryland with words that we had here. So it's really about getting in the playbook and catching up to speed so that you can be comfortable in your assignments and play faster.
Joe Flacco said even after his pass to you against the Arizona Cardinals bounced off you and into the hands of cornerback Richard Marshall, he never lost confidence in you. What does it mean for your quarterback to say that about you?
It means a lot, especially knowing that he has to trust me being out there. There's going to be ups and downs, but they all stayed positive with me. Right after that happened, I was frustrated and down on it, but I was able to bounce back due to them.
Was it nice to make that 36-yard catch to set up the game-winning field goal after that miscue?
Yeah. It still doesn't make up for it, but I definitely had a better feeling knowing that we won.
As soon as the Ravens picked you in the second round of the draft, pundits and fans immediately said you would be the deep threat this offense desperately needed. Was that a lot of pressure to be placed on you at such an early stage in your career?
No. You want to play. There's definitely a learning curve, but at the same time, I knew that would probably be my role coming in. They drafted me to play. They don't draft you to sit there and stand on the sideline. I wanted to come in as ready as I could be physically and mentally. I've learned so much these past few weeks from my receiving coach, Coach [Jim Hostler] and Anquan [Boldin]. Those guys have helped me become a better player.
Did you anticipate becoming a starter in the third week of the regular season?
I didn't think it was going to go like that, but it is what it is. It's the NFL, and you've got to take advantage of those opportunities.
Which of your teammates has been the most influential in your young career?
Anquan, Ray Rice. I'm with Ray a lot off the field.
How have they influenced you?
Advice, staying positive about the ups and downs, and just understanding the game itself.
Even though you're no longer playing for Maryland, does it pain you to see what the program is going through?
It is what it is. It happens to some of the best football teams out there. It's all about how you bounce back. I played with most of those guys on the team. So I talk to them and try to keep them positive. We've been there before.
Do you still keep in touch with former Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen?
Yeah, I still talk to Coach Friedgen. He still checks up on me. That's my guy.
Were you surprised when he told WNST that he had burned his Maryland diploma and was now hanging a Georgia Tech flag outside his home?
He said that, and I'm sure he still feels some type of [frustration] about it. But obviously, he wouldn't burn his diploma. It was just a figure of speech. He was hurt by it, and he's not going to shy away from saying it. I feel like he should've been hurt by it, but it is what it is.