Parks Ready To Bounce Back
After a roller coaster season laden with head shaking moments as well as flashes of potential, SMU cornerback Chris Parks feels much more prepared for the task at hand.
Going into his senior season, Parks is healthy and confident in his ability to execute his role in the defense on a consistent basis.
"In the beginning I was hurt so I formed some bad technique trying to overcompensate," Parks said. "Working on the deep ball more and being patient on my routes is what I've been working on this camp so it's been great out there."
Parks feels much more comfortable with his assignments on defense after being thrust into a starting role last season. With the secondary as a whole healthy and more experienced, Parks is looking forward to having a big year.
"I feel we can be great," Parks said. "We're all returning starters on the back end and the coaches believe we can all lock down so it's definitely going to be a no fly zone out there.
"We want our defense to be top-25 in all categories, and we want to get that record for interceptions and for returns."
At practice, Parks and company do a great job against Garret Gilbert and the first team offense and consistently compete at a high level. Every time they step on the field, their aim is to play with intensity and a little something extra that every defensive back should have in his arsenal.
"We just got that swag," Parks said with confidence. "We're close, we communicate, we're feeling it and we're just out there having fun. We want to make a statement. We want to let everybody know that this is a new conference, this defense is what it is and we're top-25."
Whether at practice against his teammates or inside Ford Stadium standing across the line of scrimmage from an opponent, Parks says he, Kenneth Acker and J.R. Richardson all possess the same mentality when the ball is snapped.
"I want to let them know from the start that I'm here to compete and you're not getting the ball on me so you better go somewhere else with that," Parks laughed. "You can go do that to another team, but it's not coming over here."
Many players on the defense have mentioned that this is the closest unit they have been with since getting to the hilltop. In order for it to be effective, that close-knit, brotherhood mentality and unidirectional focus has to be instilled into everybody. Parks mentioned a specific team leader who catalyzed the adoption of that focus.
"Rambo (Randall Joyner) got us together really," Parks said. "He's brought us all in and told all the seniors we've got to step up to this role so I'd say it definitely started with him. He gave us this high inspiration, and we all hyped off of it and joined in with it."
This year, Parks has high aspirations of being a member of one of the top defenses in the country, going to a BCS bowl game and proving to NFL scouts that he has the talent to make it to the next level.
- Bad idea to where a black shirt and sweats to practice this morning... I thought if June could do it anybody could. False. It was hot!
- Tom Mason is incredibly hard on Randall Joyner in practice and Rambo is just as hard on his teammates as the leader of the defense. Chain of command.
- Freshman Cedric Lancaster caught a nice pass in the end zone for a touchdown in traffic.
- SMU should benefit a lot this year just by their receivers holding on to the football. Significantly less drops this year compared to last.
- Jeremy Johnson is a bad man in the slot. He made some great catches throughout practice.
- If the field is quiet... the offense is clicking. If the boys are talking, cuckooing or rapping lyrics to your favorite track, it's all defense.
- A.J. Justice put K.C. Nlemchi DOWN on the goal line. #Cracked
- Garrett Gilbert missed a wide open Keenan Holman in the middle of the field. Defender fell down, and he still missed him. #Salty
- If you're wondering how the freshmen are doing.... JaBryce Taylor and Jeremiah Gaines are the real deal. No doubt about it.
- Another freshmen to look for in a few years is Darrion Richardson. Kid just makes plays.
- Holman just roasted Ajee Montes for a deep ball down the sideline. Good ball by Neal Burcham. He throws a pretty ball.
- But then Burcham missed Gaines on deep post, and Parks gets an easy interception. Accuracy usually isn't a problem for Burcham.
- Burcham bounced back with a beautiful touchdown pass down the seam to Aaron Stafford, beating the safety over the top.
- Gilbert threw a great ball on the outside shoulder of Ryan Walker but J.R. Richardson flew over the top and jarred the ball loose.
- Both Richardson's are coming off ACL tears and both look fast and physical. If the secondary can stay health.y they'll be good. If there's pass rush…CONSISTENT pass rush, they'll be great.
- Gilbert has had an excellent camp but when the starting defense gets steam and momentum... Things go downhill quickly.
- Elie Nabushosi is a guy who can wreak havoc in the backfield.
- At practice, the defense does this thing, it's sort of like a ritual I guess you could say. When the defense gets a pick or sack or fumble, they throw their hands up like they're raising the roof. All hands were to the sky on that last play. J.R. Richardson caught a nice pick in the red zone.
- HANDS UP! Darrion Richardson made a nice break in the middle of the field and stole the ball right out of Nate Halverson's hands.
- Quote of the day: "I'll knock the sole out yo shoe!" -Lincoln Richard
SMU Fall Camp Notebook: Day 13
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