SMU Fall Camp Notebook: Day 17

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 17.

Holman Working Hard, Staying Healthy

By EJ Holland

After practice on Friday morning, nearly the entire team stampeded into the locker room ready to get the day over with and the weekend started. But four players remained on the field.

Ryan Smith, Der'rikk Thompson, Daijuan Stewart and Keenan Holman all put in extra work on the jugs machine for more than 20 minutes after the final buzzard on the time clock sounded to inform the team that they were free to go.

Extra work has been Holman's mantra this offseason. The junior wide out was expected to have a big year as a sophomore, but an ankle injury limited his production and five weeks into the season, he had lost his starting job.

"I tried to do the best I could to come back but that was last year. It's in the past," Holman said. "My ankle is feeling great, and I'm ready to help my team this year. I'm fully healthy now, and this is the best I've felt since I've been here. Being back and better, brings more confidence. Being able to run with no pain is one of the best feelings in the world."

At full health, Holman is easily one of the fastest players on the team and a dangerous deep threat. Holman described himself as a ‘Ferrari with a flat tire' last season, but so far this fall, he's feeling like a Bugatti.

"I feel I improved big time. I worked more on things that are going to help me. Last year, I was still young and trying to figure things out," Holman said. "This year, I'm preparing myself better. Being better in practice prepares you for the game so I've been paying attention to details and doing the little things. Coming out here and focusing on one thing to get better and being healthy is my focus."

The hunger to make an impact in 2012 after showing brief flashes of greatness these past two years motivated Holman to live in the weight room this summer.

"Being in the weight room really helps to keep your body together," Holman said. "Keeping your body together can help you last. The weight rook is key. I've been trying to stay in there and get stronger to have an injury free season."

Holman also got a little extra push from new wide receivers coach Jason Phillips, who is demanding only the best from each and every one of his players.

"Coach Phillips is demanding. He always asks us how good we want to be. It's almost like he wants us to push ourselves from within," Holman said. "He tells us that he can coach us and teach us, but he can't play for us. When you have a certain standard and you live up to that standard, great success comes."

With the season opener against Baylor coming up next week, Holman hopes all his hard work will pay off and that he does indeed experience that great success Coach Phillips has been preaching.

"They have a good group of guys on defense. They rally to the ball," Holman said. "At the end of the day, our job is to make plays on them. We just have to stay in the film room and get better everyday. On Sunday, we just need to do our thing."

Video: WR Ryan Walker Talks About His Fall Camp Experience

Day 17 Observations:

- Stephen Nelson did not practice again today and had a cast/wrap around his wrist

- Nick Reed, Derek Longoria, and Colin LaGasse did not participate

- Arrius Holleman was not present at practice today

- K.C. Nlemchi returned to practice today and showed no lingering effects from the injury that kept him out this week

- Air Force transfer Tanner Rice was supposed to play defensive end but was working with the running backs today

- One player that appears to be moving down the depth chart is Darius Joseph, who practiced with the fourth team today

- Garrett Gilbert was on target on mostly every pass today including a bomb down the sideline to Darius Johnson

- Conner Preston also completed a nice deep pass to Gehrig Dieter, who got behind the secondary and found himself wide open

- Garrett Krstich was intercepted by Keith Robinson late in practice

- Chris Parks continus to look mediocre at everything while Robinson makes plays. The problem with Robinson though is definitely his height

- Walk-on wide out AJ Bufinni was yelled at for dropping a ball, but he responded by making two nice grabs during 7-on-7 drills

- Ryan Smith is without a doubt going to be SMU's punt returner this season

- Zach Line looked faster today as he took a hand off from Preston and scampered to the end zone in no time. He looked like a freight train

- Gilbert stayed after practice for an extra five minutes to work on his chemistry with Ryan Walker

- A scout from the Buffalo Bills was at practice today

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