SMU Fall Camp Notebook: Day 17

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

Nabushosi Ready To Make Impact

‘Ride or die'

It's been a rallying cry for this defense throughout fall camp. While last year's unit finished among the top defenses in the nation in terms of turnovers, this year's group has aspirations to be top-25 in every major statistical category.

Bound together by a senior leader in Randall Joyner and brotherhood, SMU's defense has the potential to overcome losing its entire defensive line and stars such as Taylor Reed, Ja'Gared Davis and Margus Hunt, at least according to defensive end Elie Nabushosi.

"We have a whole different swagger. We have a chip on our shoulder. We want to get things done," Nabushosi said. "We want to accomplish things. We're tired of ending up in second. We're tired of being everyone's little brother. We're ready to ride."

Nabushosi, who redshirted last season, has been one of the true bright spots during fall camp. A big reason for that is the extra effort he put in the weight room this summer.

After originally arriving on the Hilltop as an under the radar recruit who weighed 240-pounds, Nabushosi now stands at 6-foot-4, 272-pounds and has proved on the practice field that he has a potential to be a beast this season.

"I've been in the weight room getting bigger, stronger and more explosive. There are still a lot more things to improve on. But that was my big focus," he said. "I feel comfortable at this weight. I'm moving around pretty well. I'm feeling pretty good."

Known as an athlete, Nabushosi played everything from quarterback to wide receiver to linebacker at near by Frisco Heritage. Throughout the last few weeks, Nabushosi has been playing both defensive end and nose tackle.

And he says he's willing to line up anywhere on the field.

"We have a couple of packages where I may go inside. There is not really a set plan yet. I enjoy playing everything," he said. "I just want to make an impact anywhere I can whether it's at end, nose, special teams or even on offense. I just want to make an impact on the team."

While there are certainly question marks surrounding the defensive line, Nabushosi believes the front three still has plenty of depth and talent but most importantly, speed.

"We're looking very good. We're looking very fast and agile. Our biggest strength is speed and quickness," he said. "We're all built with speed. That's going to be a big difference from last year."

Q&A With Nose Tackle Nick Reed

EJ: How has fall camp been going so far?

NR: "It's going pretty good. It's my first camp to actually make it through. I feel good about the way we're playing. I feel good about the way we're preparing. We're just ready."

EJ: I know you've had some injury problems in the past so what did you work on this summer to get better and prevent those injuries from happening?

NR: "Really, I just worked on getting in shape so I can go in the game longer. I feel like I'm 100 percent healthy. I don't really try to avoid injuries. I play fast so if they happen, they happen. I guess it's just been bad luck."

EJ: Last year, you redshirted and kind of just observed so what are some key things you learned?

NR: "Just the playbook. I spent a lot of my time just trying to get healthy. I'm ready to jump in. It feels good to get out here since it's been two years without a snap. I'm ready."

EJ: What's the chemistry like on this defense? It looks like y'all are always hyped up.

NR: "We definitely have a lot of energy. Rambo (Randall Joyner) is a great leader. He keeps us in line and makes sure we all know what we're doing. It's great."

EJ: There are a lot of question marks regarding the defensive line so how is everything coming along?

NR: "It's coming along great. We're just working hard. Work hard. Get better. That's Coach (Bert) Hill's motto."

EJ: The guy in front of you is Darrian Wright. Can you talk a little bit about him and what you've seen from him?

NR: "He's been a good motivator for me. He's shown me the ropes. He's shown me some different moves and how to go about things. He's just been a good leader."

EJ: What are some of your goals for the upcoming year?

NR: "Whatever the team needs me to do, I'll do it to the best of my ability."

Practice Notes:

- Hal Mumme spent time working with special teams today

- Kenneth Acker practiced at both cornerback and wide receiver today. He still looks like he could improve his route running. But the athleticism is certainly there. I would think that he'll get the opportunity to see time on both sides of the ball in the opener

- On a pass intended to Acker from Garrett Gilbert, Uchenna Nwabuike did a nice job by getting his arm up and deflecting it, which resulted in an interception by J'Marcus Rhodes.

- Der'rikk Thompson is known for his speed on the outside, but he's a very good blocker. He did a nice job of keeping Chris Parks away from the ball carrier.

- Stephen Nelson made numerous catches today and did not drop a ball.

- Gilbert had a very nice deep ball to Jeremiah Gaines, who was streaking down the sideline. Gaines made the catch for the score.

- Gilbert also had another great deep ball to Keenan Holman. Although he was blanketed by Horace Richardson, the ball was placed perfectly and Holman made a terrific grab in the back of the end zone.

- Holman had just one drop today. He made plenty of nice receptions and looks unstoppable when running slants. He also toasted Horace Richardson on another deep ball, which led to some angry words from DB coach Derrick Odum.

- Derek Longoria had the play of the day for the defense as he leaped high in the air and picked off Neal Burcham.

- Randall Joyner was vocal as usual today. But Lincoln Richard also stepped up his game in the yelling category today and encouraged his teammates to communicate better.

- Gilbert was a little shaky today in 11-on-11. He sailed numerous throws. There was one play where Holman settled down in a zone and was wide open but Gilbert overthrew him by a mile. Gilbert expressed plenty of frustration.

- Gilbert, did, however do a nice job of tucking the ball and running with it.

- Beau Barnes was really impressive today. Maybe that comparison to Taylor Thompson may not be too farfetched after all. Barnes isn't flashy, but he appears to have gotten a lot stronger and was able to hold off multiple lineman, which allowed Stephon Sanders to make some nice plays.

- Cameron Smith really needs to add some muscle. He looked small and weak out there. On the other side, Elie Nabushosi once again looked like an absolute beast. Zach Wood also had a good day.

- Acker had an excellent play at corner when he swatted away a pass from Gilbert to Ryan Walker on the sideline. The defense responded with cheers and claps.

- The biggest hit of the day came from Jarvis Pruitt, who punished Colin LaGasse by making fly out of bounds.

- Quote of the day: "You couldn't pay me money to wear black sweats out here like June! I don't know how he does it, and that fabric isn't thin at all. I've seen it!" –PR assistant Niko Blankenship.

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