GIRARD - In 2011, Girard senior receiver Landon Smith will be working to help restore the Youngstown State football program to its former glory.
But this season, Smith is focusing on maintaining the Indians' program, which is coming off a 10-0 season.
"We're trying to get there again this year," he said. "We're starting all new linemen, so we're young, but we're working hard. We just have to improve every day to get to that 10-0 again."
Smith and the Indians have gone through a slight period of transition during the offseason, as long-time offensive coordinator Nick Cochran takes over as head coach for Bud McSuley.
Smith said it's been a smooth change.
"It's great," he said. "He stuck with mostly the same things, so it's not that different. He's changed a few things too, but he has a great offensive system. It's really easy to learn and execute."
As much as Smith enjoys playing for Cochran, the first-year head coach loves having a player like Smith on his team.
"He's a great kid. Off the field, he's just a great person," he said. "He does whatever I ask of him. If you ask him to go out in the community and do some work, like clean the city park, he gets it done."
While his personality off the field impresses Cochran, he said it's his work ethic on the field that makes him such a special player.
"He's a great leader, a guy that's first in every sprint," Cochran said. "During my coaching career, I've had a lot of hard workers, but in June and July, I've never seen someone who worked harder."
That work ethic led first-year YSU coach Eric Wolford to offer Smith a scholarship. Smith said he's excited about the direction the program is headed in.
"YSU is a great school and coach Wolford is a great coach," he said. "I like what he's been doing in recruiting and I think we're going to have a good football team in the next few years. That's why I chose it."
Smith admitted when he was younger he saw himself at a bigger school, but as he progressed through his career, he saw YSU as a good option.
"I always wanted to go to a big school when I was younger," he said. "But when I got older, I kind of understood football better and I know YSU has a great program. They're bringing in really good recruits and trying to get it back to what it used to be."
But that is still a year away - right now, Smith is focused on having another great season as a senior. One key to Smith's success will be the play of junior quarterback Dan Graziano, someone who has Smith's full confidence.
"Dan's a good quarterback," he said. "When he played his freshman year, he kind of got the hang of things. We're usually not lacking on talented quarterbacks, so it's going to be good."