That is all set to change when Ireland face Argentina in the first of two Tests in Chaco with the 24-year-old handed a place on the wing as a host of players make their international debuts.
Zebo has six caps to his name, the last against USA before departing that tour to join up with the Lions, and Schmidt wants everyone selected to make the most of the opportunity given to them.
"I think Simon is a very talented player. One of the challenges for players is to try to make the job easier for the players around them," Schmidt told the Irish Independent.
"It's the smaller things that, if he is very good in a particular area and it allows us to get slightly quicker ball or it allows us a little bit more opportunity not to put so many in the ruck or not to overload defensively, all those manifestations that occur in a game of rugby.
"It's a great opportunity and it's a real responsibility. If the opportunity is afforded to you then I think you've got to reciprocate with the best performance you can put together.
"The way they've trained this week that's certainly what they are working towards with the combinations we have, with the combative nature of the way the Argentineans play."