He is credited for the resurgence of New York Jets linebacker Aaron Maybin. And now he is leaving.
Jets coaching intern Mike Smith has reportedly been hired by Mike Leach to be a linebacker coach at Washington State.
Though not officially listed as a coach anywhere by the Jets, Smith has played a major part in developing Maybin to what he has become this year; a pass rushing machine.
Smith played under Leach at Texas Tech, starting 45 games at linebacker over the course of his career. After being drafted in the seventh round of the 2005 NFL Draft, a devastating injury cut his career short.
Smith turned to coaching and worked for a year as the linebackers coach at Hawaii.
In 2010, Smith began working with the Jets, where he’s been a “coaching intern” since.
Working for a small paycheck, Smith resides in defensive coordinator Mike Pettine’s townhome and does “the grunt work,” according to head coach Rex Ryan, electronically diagramming plays for the defensive game-plans, and helping defensive coordinator Mike Pettine run meetings, working up to 20 hours a day.
More importantly for Maybin, he’s his personal coach, spending hours helping the former Bills first-round pick find his way.
“Without him, I’d probably be a fish without fins in the open sea,” says Maybin, who leads the Jets with six sacks and four forced fumbles in nine games. “He understands me better than any of my coaches since I was in college. He’s one of the biggest reasons I’m doing what I’m doing now.”
“He’s a relentless worker,” Pettine says. “He knows the system. He’s played in it. That’s one of the reasons why it was a natural draw for him to come here. He’s one of us.”
We aren’t sure why the Jets haven’t hired him yet if they love him so much, and if he has contributed so much to Maybin’s success this seas0n, but it appears as if Smith is gone and the Jets will have to move on.
“He probably spends more time than a whole lot of the other coaches on all the small parts of everyday practice that people don’t even recognize,” Maybin says. “On top of that, he’s spending hours upon hours working with me. Obviously, I’m grateful for a reason. He’s gone above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to me. He’s definitely done a lot as far as helping to bring me along that he didn’t have to do. He knows how good I want to be and I think he wants to help me get there.”