Rogers Expecting Stellar Play From Defense
SMU linebacker Cameron Rogers will be going into his last season opener against Baylor on Sunday and he's anxious to show the SMU faithful the hard work and commitment that the Mustang defense has put in throughout the offseason and in fall camp.
"I want to get this first game under our belts so that we can get some live action and put ourselves to the test," Rogers said. "We want to challenge ourselves. I think we can be one of the top defenses and we're looking forward to it. We're confident."
The Mustangs will be putting themselves to the test against a Baylor team that lost stars such as quarterback Robert Griffin III, leading rusher Terrance Ganaway, and leading receiver Kendall Wright who all were drafted earlier this year. However, Rogers says that Baylor still has a high caliber offense that will be fast and test them mentally.
"They're a fast paced offense. They don't slow down at all. They want to get you tired," the fifth year senior said.
Rogers says that defensive coordinator Tom Mason has preached to his defense about studying in the film room so that they can play just as fast as Baylor will. Rogers, who is no newcomer to playing against fast opponents, has taken Coach Mason's words to heart and has put in countless ours inside of the film room to gain that competitive edge for Sunday.
"When you're watching film on them you want to look for tendencies so that when you line up you'll have an edge," Rogers said. "I don't want to be out there thinking I just want to be able to play as fast as I can because I know that's the tempo; it's going to be fast. I want to be mentally fast."
Rogers, who plays the ‘buck' linebacker in Mason's 3-4 defense, says that he can't pin-point his responsibility on the field to one specific thing but has prepared himself to the point that he not only knows his own responsibilities on the field but his teammates' too. Rogers says that as a veteran linebacker, he'll be calling a lot of the shots on defense.
"I want to go into the game knowing every responsibility that I need to know as well as my other teammates' responsibilities," he said. "The linebackers need to be the generals on the field so as fast paced as Baylor's offense is; we want to be just as quick to get lined up and ready to play."
Last year SMU opened up in College Station at Texas A&M's famous Kyle Field. Rogers says that playing in a stadium with that kind of tradition and enthusiasm helps him to know what to expect for the game at Baylor, and he'll be looking forward to a hostile environment.
"Playing at Kyle Field. It's unreal," Rogers said. "When you think of college football that's what you think of, that type of tradition, that type of environment. Of course Baylor's going to have that same type of environment; they're going to be rowdy, the stands are going to be packed so I think everyone's looking forward to that."
Rogers says that although he is biased, of the defenses that he's seen this one has the potential to be the best and he's looking forward to surprising some of the critics who have been skeptical.
"The people that are on this defense right now have really kind of grown up together," Rogers said. "We're a tight knit group. I think we're really going to surprise some people in how well we play as a defense. I think we're going to have tremendous speed and strength and I think that we're going to be a really intelligent defense overall."
Rogers says that beating Baylor is the only thing that the team has on their minds, and it would be a great way to start what could be a very special season for the Mustangs.
"Oh it'd be huge," he said. "Baylor's such a good team and their coming off a great season, it's going to be at their place, opening game, in front of a big crowd. That'd be huge to catapult us into a great season so we're all looking forward to it. That'd be a great win for the program."
Video:Garrett Gilbert Talks About Baylor
- Ajee Montes, Der'rikk Thompson, Cole Loftin, and Kevin Pope all returned kicks today.
- Coaches were very fired up today especially defensive coordinator Tom Mason and special teams coach Frank Gansz.
- After some poor kicking in a drill Coach Gansz told Cody Rademacher, "Stay out of the drill! You've got to be kidding me!"
- While working against the scout team Coach Mason gave his defense a number of tongue lashings with the most modest one being, "Get that sloppy crap off my practice field."
- Margus Hunt tipped a ball in 11-on-11's almost causing an interception
- In an uncharacteristic outrage, offensive lineman Bryan Collins got into the face of defensive lineman Beau Barnes towards the end of a play and told him, "Do that again and I'll kick your expletive"
- Montes has made plays all over the field throughout camp and made a very nice play against Arrius Holleman in coverage downfield
- AJ Buffini has also looked fast and has shown ability to make plays on the scout team against the first team defense. Today he came down with a nice ball across the middle of the field that Kenneth Acker initially knocked out.
- Jeremy Gray knocked down a couple of passes in drills today
- Acker made plays all over the field and is looking like he's poised to have a big year on the outside as he has continuously ran stride for stride on deep plays against guys like Dieter, Holleman, and Holman.
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