SMU Fall Camp Notebook: Day 18

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

Randolph Ready To Rumble

Last season SMU safety Shakiel Randolph was thrust into a starting role as a true freshman after injuries decimated the secondary.

The circumstance of having to start a first-year player is a nightmare for most coaches but a dream come true for any young competitor eager to prove his legitimacy.

Like many freshman, Randolph showed bright spots but also struggled on the field at times. But this time around, Randolph is better prepared to step in and perform consistently at a high level.

"I don't think I played as well as I could've just because everything was new, and I had to get adjusted," Randolph said. "Coming in and playing as a freshman, things kind of moved fast at first but being in the system for one year really makes a difference.

"Like I've been telling the coaches, things move a lot slower your second time around. If I get my opportunity this year, I'm ready."

Randolph is set to start the season behind veterans Hayden Greenbauer and Jay Scott. But getting a taste of the action last year taught the sophomore that he has what it takes to play at SMU if he sticks to the fundamentals.

"Now I know I can do anything," Randolph said. "Going in there and getting thrown into the fire, it's definitely a confidence booster.

"It taught me to fall back on my fundamentals. At the end of the day everybody out there has talent but if you fall back on your fundamentals, that's what will carry you through."

Because of the veteran leadership in the secondary and the opposing offenses set to square off with the Mustang defense this year, Randolph believes that the defensive backs can have a special year.

"We've got K-Ack (Kenneth Acker), Jay Scott, Chris Parks and the list goes on," Randolph said. "We're just a group that needs an opportunity man. We're playing teams that like to throw the ball around so that will give us the opportunity to make plays and do what we do. We're excited."

The 6-foot-5, 190-pound athlete knows there is a chance that he may not see the field as much as last year. That is why his focus is playing hard and physical in practice and pushing his teammates to be the best they can be.

"I just want to help this team in any way I can" Randolph said. "If this team is successful then I feel like did my job."

Practice Notes - Excellent coverage in 7-on-7 today for the defense.

- Coverage caused Neal Burcham to throw a pick to Stephon Sanders intended for Deion Sanders Jr. on a hook route in the middle of the field.

- Stephen Nelson burnt J'Marcus Rhodes and caught a beautiful over the shoulder ball deep down the sideline. Perfect throw by Garrett Gilbert.

- Kenneth Acker played offense today and was wide open on a post pattern to the deep middle of the field. Gilbert threw the ball perfectly and he dropped it. The defense went bonkers. "Come on Kenny!!""Man come back to the white side!"

- On the offense's own 5-yard-line Ajee Montes made an elite break on a ball thrown by Gilbert to the sideline. It should have been a pick six but Montes dropped it. Defense went crazy again. He dropped to his knees in sorrow. "Man get up!" –Kenneth Acker

- All of the running backs looked good today. Traylon Shead showed quickness and ability to elude tacklers laterally, which is out of the norm.

- Prescott Line is just a bruiser. He and Shead could do damage late in games when SMU is trying to hold a lead.

- K.C. Nlemchi looked like a good all around back today. Looks much better mentally. Playing with confidence.

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