Back in action

SMU began spring practice on Monday. Over the next few weeks, three different quarterbacks will take equal reps, a couple players will sit out for undisclosed reasons and new coaches will bestow their system and techniques upon the players...

Spring has sprung for SMU. Here are some talking points from the first practice of the season:

1. June Jones has suspended the team's best two players—wide receiver Darius Johnson and linebacker Taylor Reed—until further notice and for undisclosed reasoning.

Jones wouldn't comment on the situation, saying only that they are both still on the team, they may or may not be back later this spring and that he decided to suspend them just last week.

"Gotta take care of business," Jones said. "It's not just about football."

2. Jones cannot comment on anything Garrett Gilbert until the former Texas quarterback is enrolled at SMU, so until then, we'll just discuss the three quarterbacks that are participating in the spring—Conner Preston, Stephen Kaiser and Garrett Krstich.

All three will be getting equal reps over the next few weeks.

3. Jones said that everyone came into spring in-shape and well-conditioned.

"The kids have really worked hard [this off-season] as far as the weight room and running," Jones said. "We're not doing any conditioning this first week of practice because they've been running for six weeks now. They're in good shape. Some guys look physically different, too. They don't even look like the same kids."

Jones singled out rising senior defensive tackle Aaron Davis as one guy who's really changed his body—for the better.

"He's probably put on 40-50 lbs.," Jones said, smiling.

4. As of right now, Jones will still call all the plays, despite wide receivers coach Jason Phillips and quarterbacks coach Dan Morrison having "co-offensive coordinator" titles. Jones did say that Phillips will have a hand in bringing in some new techniques and ideas this spring that will be integrated into the offense.

"Everyone has titles to help them on their resumes," Jones said, smiling. "I'm still calling the plays and everything, but every year, Jason and Dan have a little more input and eventually they're going to have to call it and I'm going to go play golf."

5. New offensive line coach Bob Palcic inherits an offensive line that lost all five of its starters. However, there are some guys, namely Blake McJunkin and Bryce Collins, who do have starting experience, and so the line isn't completely new. But it is a work in progress.

"He's a good technique guy…a sound, fundamental coach," Jones said of Palcic. "Just getting those kids taught and mentally being on top of their game will be something we'll spend a lot of time on this spring."

Depth-wise, Jones said they're still a little thin and, like he mentioned on National Signing Day, they will go out after May 1 and try to add a few linemen to their 2012 class to strengthen that depth.

Additionally, Jones said that players to watch on the offensive line are redshirt freshmen Kris Weeks and Taylor Reich.

Extra Nugget:

Aside from Johnson and Reed sitting out this spring, Zach Line won't practice, either. He is rehabbing a dislocated shoulder and recovering from toe surgery, injuries he sustained last year, of course. He is out on the practice field, though, acting as a leader and helping the younger guys, but he can't go full force until late this summer.

He has been cleared to start running again though.

"It's a six-month healing process," Line said. "It's still kind of weird though because I'm not fully healed."


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