SMU Fall Camp Notebook: Day 16

The Pony Stampede staff will be at every SMU fall camp practice this month and will provide exclusive stories, videos, and observations. Today we reflect on Day 16.

Smith Shows Confidence In Secondary

With the departure of safety Chris Banjo, cornerback Richard Crawford, and the season-ending injury to the knee of projected starter James Richardson, one might say that the Mustang secondary is in a state of flux. However, fifth-year senior Ryan Smith says the secondary will be just fine when the season rolls around.

"I have nothing but confidence for our group. We trust each other," Smith said. "It starts with Coach (Derek) Odum. He does a great job of getting us prepared and he believes in us and the other guys believe in us as well. With that support you have no choice but to go out there and perform at your highest level. We accept the pressure and the criticism."

Smith, who red-shirted his first year in 2008, has gotten the chance to learn from a multitude of different players who have since departed from the Hilltop. Smith said that through studying some of his former teammates, he has learned how to step up as a leader and being a leader starts by example.

"The biggest thing that I try to do each and every day is earn the trust of my teammates. I don't try to get anybody down. If there's a problem, I address it but in a way that's uplifting and building up," Smith said. "Great guys like Chris Banjo and Pete Fleps, they definitely set the bar high about how to be a leader and that's what I try to do every day, just come in, work hard and lead by example and try to earn trust from my teammates."

In recent weeks, Smith has been leading by example not only on the practice field but in the weight room. Smith has earned the top spot on the team's pound-for-pound rankings being able to lift almost twice his weight (1.94).

"It starts from day one in the offseason. I take it seriously. I've seen what it can do for me and for others in the past," Smith commented about pumping iron. "Coming in as a smaller guy, I knew that to play on this level and to play at a high level I would need to make the weight room my best friend so I go in there and try to take it as seriously as I can."

Smith says that one of the reasons he's so confident going into the season is because the Mustang defense gets to scrimmage against its own offense every day. Smith says going up against SMU's starting receivers makes the secondary much better. With Baylor approaching, Smith says that they are the top priority and focus of the team, and he's looking forward to the challenges they will present.

"Baylor has a great team, great receivers and great skill guys in the backfield so we like challenges like that. I think it's going to be fun," Smith said. "We're doing our best job to get prepared for them; we respect those guys but we want to beat them and we're looking forward to it."

Q&A With RB Rishaad Wimbley

PS: How did it feel to go out and really have an impact last year after Zach Line got hurt?

RW: I felt pretty good about it. I liked it a lot.

PS: You look quicker and faster out there man what types of things have you been doing to improve your speed and athleticism?

RW: I just took everything more seriously.

PS: With the depth at running back do you feel like you can still get some reps this season?

RW: Yes I feel like I can still contribute whether that's at running back or at special teams. They've got me everywhere.

PS: What types of things have you learned from Zach Line?

RW: I've just pretty much picked up on how he's worked at running back and I just try to pattern myself after him to try and become a better back.

PS: When the coaches first told you they wanted you to play running back how did you feel about it then and how do you feel about it now?

RW: I thought it was a joke. But now I feel like I can do something special if I continue to work.

PS: What are your thoughts on the offensive line?

RW: They've come a loooong way since spring. They're much better.

PS: What are your goals and expectations for this season?

RW: Just to contribute to the team as best I can and to help to make us better as a unit.

PS: What are your predictions on the season?

RW: Not to be cocky or anything but undefeated.

Day 16 Observations:

- Cody Worthen, Stephen Nelson and Derek Longoria did not practice today

- June Jones did some work teaching Garret Gilbert different audibles at the line of scrimmage.

- It seems like Gehrig Dieter is pretty much set in with the second team now playing on the outside behind Der'Rikk Thompson

- Offensive Line looking much better in drills against the defensive line

- The defense didn't look as sharp as they usually do. The offense got the best of them for the most part of the day.

- Margus Hunt was in the back of the end zone getting water and next thing you know 50 cups went flying into the air. He proceeded to take a knee.

- Coach Tom Mason made the defense do up-downs after they made a mistake saying "That can't happen in a game. That's a mental lapse. You should know that. Five up-downs."

- Elie Nabushosi practiced today but he still wore his sling in conditioning after practice

- Ryan Smith dropped an interception in 7-on-7's

- Not many drops by the offense today. Much improved in that department.

- Garret Krstich threw an interception to Kevin Pope in a scrimmage and then ran out and gave him a pretty good pop to save what would have been a touchdown.

- One of the coaches yelled to Margus on 11-on-11's, "Pad-level Margus. Stay down!"

- Gilbert did a good job today of making the right reads and throwing the ball before the blitz arrived.

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