Richmond Webb, the Miami Dolphins' rookie left tackle, was "still shaking" after his surprise election to the Pro Bowl Wednesday.
But he's planning to dispose of the shakes by Sunday, when he has to line up across from the man who might be the NFL's most valuable defensive player this season.
"I'm still shaking. I feel blessed. I didn't expect this," said Webb, who then downplayed his talents. "It's still going to be inexperience vs. experience Sunday. I have to be ready for Bruce Smith."
This is meeting No. 2 for Smith and the Dolphins' wide body from Texas A&M.
When they slapped pads the first time, it was only Webb's second NFL game and you would have to give Webb the decision, if only because the Dolphins waxed the Bills, 30-7. Smith was largely out of the flow of the game, but he got Webb's applause anyway.
"I always knew he was a great player. But more than anything, I was anxious to see how I would do against him. I think I did OK.
"He beat me a couple of times and got some pressure on Dan Marino. But actually, he didn't play across from me that much. He lined up a lot over the center. I have a feeling I'm going to see a lot more of him this time."
Miami players aren't getting into the Smith-Lawrence Taylor debate.
"No, no," Marino begged off. "Leave me out of that."
But offensive line coach John Sandusky comes pretty close to finding a pedestal for the Bills' defensive end.
"You can talk about Bruce Smith until you're blue in the face," said Sandusky. "He comes off the ball as quickly as anyone I've ever seen. And he has great upper body strength, great feet, great movement.
"I was looking at the tape of that play where he rushed the passer and the quarterback threw a screen pass and he turned and ran the receiver down from behind. That's a play only great athletes make."
Sandusky will name only two players he has seen who compare to what Smith brings to a football field -- Gino Marchetti and Deacon Jones.
"Marchetti wasn't as big, but he had that same combination of quickness, speed and strength. Deacon had that explosion you get from Smith."
The Dolphins will try to avoid leaving Webb alone on Smith.
"We'll get him some help when we can, but Richmond will have to take him by himself sometimes," Sandusky said. "All the offensive linemen will.
"You don't know where Smith is going to line up. He might squeeze down over the guard and get up over the center and, right before the snap, go outside again."
The key extra blocker in this game is Tony Paige, who at 235 pounds is
one of the most efficient fullbacks in the league.
But will Paige be ready to play? He was held out of last Sunday's 24-17 win over Seattle with a severely sprained ankle, and did not practice Wednesday, when the players had their full-pads, two-hour workout.
If Paige can't go, the Dolphins will have to use rookie fullback Garrett Limbrick or Jim Jensen, the 11-year veteran who blocks on the kick-protection teams.
The Dolphins spent much of the week before the New York Giants game in Week 3 worrying about Taylor. They're giving the same concern to accounting for Smith on every play.
"All you can do is play with sound technique. You can't lunge at him, but you can't sit back and wait on him either," said guard Harry Galbreath. "You just have to keep an eye on his numbers and his belt buckle, and don't go for the head and shoulder fakes."
Said Webb: "Basically, I have to play almost a perfect game, which is impossible. He's going to beat me sometimes. I just have to do my best and be more consistent than I was the first time."
Webb wasn't overawed by Smith in that first game. With a Pro Bowl invitation on the way, you wouldn't think he would be overawed in this one.
He already has acquitted himself against Taylor, Reggie White of Philadelphia, Andre Tippett of New England and Charles Mann of Washington.
"The guys he has lined up are as good as there are in the league," said Dolphins coach Don Shula. "He never flinched. The testimony speaks for itself."