SMU Fall Camp Notebook: Day 8

Come inside for stories and notes from today's SMU football practice!

Johnson Ready To Lead, Produce

Everyone gets it. It's pretty darn hot outside.

And the SMU football team feels the heat six days a week during fall camp. But senior wide receiver Jeremy Johnson and his teammates are taking the scorching temperatures in stride and hope they make them a better team by getting everyone in tip-top physical condition.

"Fall camp has been going good. It's pretty hot out here," Johnson said. "We're just working hard and getting ready for Tech. I think everybody is adjusting well to the heat. I haven't heard anybody complain yet. But we knew it was going to be tough."

As Johnson grinds, his fellow receivers follow.

With the graduation of DJ3, Johnson has taken more of a leadership role and has been helping the offense endure not only the burning sun but also the blending of the Run N' Shoot with the Air Raid.

"Being a former quarterback, I'm used to reading defenses in high school so it's making things easier," he said. "Now that I'm a senior, I'm kind of learning what everyone is doing so we can all click as a unit.

"We're just learning fast under Coach (Hal) Mumme. I think he's a great coach. I've learned a lot from him, and he's teaching us to play fast every play. They're just implementing the same techniques and fundamentals."

Johnson has also spent extra time with quarterback Garrett Gilbert on and off the field in order to develop a better rapport.

"We were out here in the summer working a lot on timing. Our chemistry has improved. This is Garrett's second year with me," Johnson said. "Last year, we kind of got together, but this year we've spent a lot of time to together and have grown closer."

Last season, Johnson led the team with 67 receptions for 679 yards and three touchdowns and has the potential to be an even bigger playmaker this fall.

But his primary focus is simple.

"I just want to win," he said.

VIDEO: SMU QB Neal Burcham

Holloway Accepts New Challenge

Christian Holloway has certainly experienced a few bumps along the way to suiting up for SMU.

He saw his recruiter, Adrian Klemm, bolt for UCLA. He had some academic credit issues. Then came the position switch.

This spring, Holloway made the transition from defensive end to offensive lineman- a move that came as a shock considering he had never played any of the positions up front in his life.

"It was like when the criminals have to work for the cops," Holloway said with a chuckle. "I mean, I've gotten used to it now that I've seen both sides of the ball. My football IQ totally went up. Obviously, they have future plans for me. "

The 6-foot-5, 280-pounder has been playing mostly right guard during fall camp but has also been getting some work in at center. To help get accustomed to the positions, Holloway has been receiving a little bit of tutoring after practice from junior Ben Hughes as well as offensive line coach Wes Suan.

"Ben (Hughes) has really been helping me with the plays and learning everything," he said. "Coach Suan is a real intelligent guy. He's been helpful and was patient with me throughout the spring and as I learn since it's a giant step for me.

"I'm still learning. Right now, I'm learning and progressing each and every day so hopefully you'll see me soon. But I'm still learning the position and the new offense. I'm athletic enough to play it. I'm strong enough and quick enough, but it's all about learning the playbook. On defense, it was you go three directions. On offense, it's like 1,000 directions. It's big difference."

Holloway has also picked the brain of former SMU offensive lineman Bryan Collins, who is now with the Houston Texans, and believes he can develop into a similar player once he masters his new craft.

"I used to talk to Bryan Collins a lot before he left, and we still talk. He told me what to expect and what I need to do better," Holloway said. "I feel as I keep learning, I can be a premier guard or center or wherever they have me."

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