There’s three things I love in life. Danny Smith, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and dollar McChickens. Lucky for you, we’re going to focus on just those first two today. In today’s Coordinator’s Corner, Bob Labriola had the chance to sit down with Smith. Really fun interview and a ton of good information out of it. As he’s been praised all season after a successful rookie year, Smith couldn’t help but say good hings about JuJu, who has handled kick returns for most of the year.
“JuJu’s doing a good job,” Smith said. “JuJu is one hell of a football player. JuJu can do a lot of things for a lot of people in a lot of different places. He takes great pride in his work and is a productive player and is doing well.”
I think there’s an underrated point Smith makes about Smith-Schuster. For a rookie, and the youngest in the league at that, he’s comfortably worn many different hats. Playing as an outside receiver, playing in the slot, getting work in the return game, the moment certainly hasn’t been too big for him in any area of the game.
And finally, after spending most of the season as the league’s worst kick return team, there’s been improvement. Smith-Schuster capped things off with a 96 yard kick return touchdown in the finale against the Cleveland Browns.
That moved the needle enough to put the Steelers in 30th place for kick return average on the season after sitting in last place for pretty much the entire year. Not great – but better – and improving at the right time.
Smith attributes Smith-Schuster’s success to his work ethic and focus.
“There’s nothing too big for that guy. He’s a tireless worker. His attention to detail is very good. His attention in this building is very good. He’s got laser focus on his task at hand, regardless of what I deal with him in. He’s a fun guy and an easy guy to coach.”
That just echoes what we’ve heard and knew all season long about Smith-Schuster, who has become a fan favorite for what he’s done on and of the field.
He’s been able to do that and keep a humble attitude despite having a very clear and successful brand. His Youtube channel is up over 140,000 subscribers, has a clothing line, heck, even his dog has over 8000 Twitter followers.
All at 21 years old, a thought that Smith says he reminds himself of, though it doesn’t change the way he coaches the rookie.
“I think about it often but I don’t coach him like that to be honest with you.”
Sunday will be a new milestone for Smith-Schuster. His first trip to the playoffs. In his words, it’ll be “lit,” and if what he does in the postseason is anything like he’s done over the past four months, the Steelers’ offense is in great shape.