Pony Stampede Spring Practice Report: Day 1

Pony Stampede will be at every SMU spring practice over the next month. Come inside for a recap of Day 1!

VIDEO: SMU Assistant Head Coach Hal Mumme

Q&A With Senior LB Randall Joyner

EJ: How are you and the team going to utilize this spring to get better?

Joyner: It's just a time for people that have been getting groomed for a few years like a Robert Seals and a Kevin Pope and myself that didn't get that much experience in the past, just getting that experience and that feel. We need to be critical of what we did last year and work on our technique. We have a lot of young guys, and they're going to have to grow up quickly, but they are very capable and talented.

EJ: What are some of your individual goals for this spring?

Joyner: Just working on technique, tackling, playing faster, you know all the fundamentals to help you be great so that's just a couple of things I'm focused on. I'm going to critique them and make them better and help me become a better player.

EJ: Last year, you came into spring trying to earn playing time. This year, you're coming in as a starter and expectations are high for you after a breakout season. That's a big change so are you approaching things differently?

Joyner: Not at all. I always believed I was capable of doing big things so you take it one day at a time and you keep working. Coach Mason does a real good job of preparing us all as starters no matter if you're third string or first string. He treats us all equal. I really appreciate that because that takes out the thought of not being ready, and you're out there just playing football. Now, we all have expectations and we have to live up to them or exceed them. That's our goal.

EJ: You're known for being vocal and with the losses of Taylor Reed and Ja'Gared Davis, do you feel you have to step up and be the leader of this defense?

Joyner: We all have to step up. But I'm just a natural born leader. I've been that since I was young. We're definitely going to miss those guys a lot, but we have a lot of guys that are going to step up. We all have to be leaders. We expect everybody to lead. I'm a little bit more vocal, but some guys lead by example and through their play. We're all going to take part in that leadership.

EJ: Y'all lost your position coach Joe Haering this spring. Does losing him affect the mentality of the position group and will anything change scheme wise?

Joyner: Not necessarily because Coach Mason does a good job with the other defensive coaches and really helps them out with the schemes. But we're going to miss his presence because he focused on the hustle and the little things. Coach Mason is busy sometimes so he doesn't always get to stress that. He focused tackling and running to the ball so we're definitely going to miss that. But we have some good young coaches coming up. Eric Daniels will be helping out and Marcus Riley definitely.

EJ: Last year one of the biggest goals of the team was to force turnovers, and y'all were able to do that thanks in large part to you. Is there a new goal this spring or another area the defense needs to improve on?

Joyner: We've really been working on turnovers the last few years. Like the coaches say, they come in bunches and you never really know what's going to happen. We've been doing the same thing the last three years I've been here. We're just going to continue doing the fundamentals and practicing takeaways and stress how important they are. We're not changing anything we've been doing in the past. We're probably just going to focus on it a little bit more because it helps the team.

EJ: You have a new inside linebacker partner in Kevin Pope. Do you believe he can fill the void left by Taylor Reed?

Joyner: He's very athletic. He loves to hit. He knows one speed, and that's full speed. His knowledge and hard work will really help. He was sitting behind a great player like Taylor Reed and now, it's his turn to take the torch, and I really think he's going to excel. He's been a great impact player for this team through special teams and the time he's been in there so he's ready. I think it's going to be an exciting season for him.

EJ: You have a whole new defensive line in front of you this year. Are you a little bit worried about that since they play a big role in what you're able to do?

Joyner: We're very talented up front, but guys are just going to have to grow up fast. They don't have a lot of experience, but I think this spring is going to help them get confident, and they're always capable. I think we're going to be ok. Once they get the first few games under their belt, they're going to be all right.

VIDEO: June Jones On First Day

Practice Notes

- The offense practiced in the stadium while the defense spent a majority of time on the practice field.

- The running backs and offensive line practiced together for the most part under Wes Suan and Timmy Chang. SMU PR did not confirm if Suan was moving to OL coach.

- Hal Mumme was very energetic and vocal in his first day

- Traylon Shead looked like a beast and should definitely earn the starting RB job

- Kenneth Acker did play WR today but mostly worked on his route running

- Keenan Holman looked rusty and dropped an easy screen pass that hit him in the chest

- Minus a few overthrows, Neal Burcham was very impressive with his throws today. He had nice tight spirals and was very accurate.

- Austin Kent has a big arm but must be more accurate

- The Team spent a good 20 minutes working on stripping the ball. Even the QBs took part in the drill.

- Beau Barnes will not practice this spring due to a shoulder injury

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