External expectations may be a little less substantial than in previous campaigns but Smith insists that isn't the case within the squad as they look to add to a trophy cabinet that features four Celtic League titles and an Anglo Welsh Cup crown from the past nine seasons.
"The expectations haven't changed at all: we're going out there to challenge on all fronts. We still believe as a team that we can really challenge in all competitions and that's what we're going to do," said Smith, who admits that being pipped to a play-off place by their bitter rivals adds an extra incentive this time around.
"We slipped up last year in not quite getting into the play-off stages, but once you get into the play-offs, anything's possible. We're looking to get up to the top of the board early in the season and then try to stay there and challenge for a semi-final position. The expectations are still there as players and as a team.
"We know that we can challenge and we know that we're a good side. We may be lacking a little bit in size but when we've got the ball we're a dangerous team. That belief that we are a good side, that we can challenge and be right up there, is what's pushing us.
"Local rivalries always spur on a player. You see that when the boys run out on the park against the Scarlets in local derbies, there's always that little edge to it. That's not solely our driving focus, but it does give you a little incentive."
The Ospreys began their pre-season fixtures with a win over Worcester in Swansea but were beaten by Bath at The Rec on Friday night.
Smith admits the 27-10 reverse was tough to take but he insists the squad and the supporters have plenty of reasons to be optimistic ahead of Friday night's opening PRO12 trip to Treviso.
"It was tough. We had quite a young starting team and they had their big guns out looking to go into the start of the season firing. But I think we can take a lot of positives: there are definitely a lot of lessons to take and hopefully we can put that into practice against Treviso," added Smith.
"Bath had a much heavier pack than us and they looked to dominate us at setpiece. At the start of the game they probably did that, but we had a chat and started to put things right on the field. That's good for us, that we're problem solving on the field.
"But we need to do more of that and realise that, (although) there's a few boys to come back in, it's down to these boys to step up and put their bodies on the line. For a lot of our young boys in the pack, it just shows that they have to front up and it's on their shoulders.
"There was a lot of endeavour shown but we turned the ball over too much, especially in the first half. Then in the early period of the second half the scoreboard crept away from us a little through some indiscipline on our part. We need to be better disciplined and cut down our error rate.
"We just need to keep possession because, when we do keep it, we look dangerous. We want to keep hold of the ball a little bit more and play through the phases."