FREE: 8-6 Football Practice Notebook

The Pony Stampede staff was out at SMU's first football practice today and has videos, Q&As plus practice notes!

June Jones Press Conference

Matt Davis Q&A

Q&A with defensive coordinator Tom Mason

Q: Can you talk a little bit about the depth of the defense?
TM: We got some good lucking kids in this program- compared to where we at seven years ago, its like damn. Weve always said- you know my philosophy on defense is that you build nup the defensive front and the corners. And we always seem to have had some problems keeping our corners healthy, but at the defensive front we are about three or four deep with some really good football players.

Q: How much does that add to the team in terms of versatility and different packages you can use?
TM: It helps a lot. We’re really back to the point where we can get a nickel package in there, maybe even bring in a dime package this year, a little bit of four down scheme sometimes to maximize our pass rush. It just a whole different world when you got bodies you know that can play.

Q: What do you see in Cameron Nwosu- what does he bring to the table?
TM: He brings an experienced player who has had a lot of reps. You know he was a really good football player down there at Rice. Well I watched a lot of film on him before we took him- and he was a good football player. So, maturity too. You probably wouldn’t get that type of maturity out of a freshman right away. So, he fills a spot that gives you some depth there at the inside linebacker spot.

Q: Nwosu is coming off a knee injury, how is that affecting his progress in the defense?
TM: Yea, he is coming off a knee injury, but he is a full year off of that. And you know I thought he was one of the better players in CUSA when he was at Rice and we were fortunate to get a kid of that caliber, at least for a year.

Q: Are the linebacker positions pretty much locked up?
TM: Yea, that will change even as we go through camp. There are some question marks I got to get answered. You know you got Sanders, Seals on the outside with Longoria on the outside. We moved Beau Barnes outside so we got really solid guys outside. But I want to take a look at Sanders inside. You know I’m really happy with Yenga and Nick Horton inside. Mitchell, as you know played a lot as a freshman last year for us is in there and Nwosu comes in. So that gives us a pretty good Nucleus of experienced linebackers and we are so much bigger and faster than we've been- that’s what I’m excited about.

Q: In the secondary, you have a lot of guys who have a lot of experience under fire, will that be helpful this year?
TM: Oh yeah. You know, I like our safety spot- I think there are four viable guys there right now and its gonna be a heck of a battle between Greenbauer and Shakiel and Richardson to see who is going to be the starter at that spot. That also allows you different sub packages. And then I feel that A.J. Justice really came on strong for us in the spring so I think that we got four really good safeties. And then our Cornerbacks- you know Horace Richards is probably the fastest guy on the team. Some of these young kids got to come through for us depth wise. Depth is probably the biggest concern not quality. Depth. We got good athletes there but they haven’t had a lot of reps.

Q: Is Ajee Montes going to fill that spot left by JR?
TM: Right he was playing nickel for us a lot last year and got a lot of snaps, and I think he is going to step up and fill that spot as ‘the guy’ until JR gets back. But that’s a day to day thing and he may not be back for the season, I don’t know.

Q: Can you give us an update on JR?
TM: Yea, he’s been out [of the hospital], hes been working out, he just hasn’t been out here. I think it’s just more of a ‘how fast can he fully recover before they let him back out here. So, we’ll see.

Practice Notes

Neal Burcham looked especially accurate today. The team wasn't really airing it out, but he had a quick release and showed good command of the offense.

— Matt Davis showed some good accuracy on his short balls today as well.

Cedric Lancaster displayed a good burst when turning up the field after catching the ball.

— The running backs were rotated pretty regularly during practice. Darius Durall, Daniel Gresham, K.C. Nlemchi and Prescott Line all saw

— Beau Barnes looked like he has slimmed down a bit and is listed at 241 pounds. It appears he's moving to outside linebacker.

Trey Washington and Jesse Montgomery saw a solid amount of time at corner with the second team today.

— Cameron Nwosu is far down the depth chart as of right now, but don't read too much into that.

— The offensive line featured Evan Brown getting a lot of time at right guard. Seaver Myers did slide in to left guard with Kris Weeks and Chauncey Briggs at the tackles. Taylor Lasecki was at center.

— Gresham is a man. He's the biggest running back SMU has and also the most talented it seems.

Hayden Greenbauer is wearing a brace on his knee. Looked sharp running through drill, but only when pushing off with his other leg. Doesn’t seem to be too comfortable using the braced leg to push off when making cuts/planting. Also seemed to struggle with his backpeddle.

— Horton seemed hesitant in his reads/slow to react once he made the reads.

— Yenga, made all his reads correctly, was always first one to the ball. Really good reads.

— Tuiasosopo tweaked an ankle in an agility drill and limped a bit. After a while, he seemed fine, but keep an eye on that.

— The Defense spent first part of the morning doing position drills and a pass rushing/turnover circuit. Everyone was going pretty easy- about ¾ speed. A couple guys showed a little more energy though: Yenga, Longoria, Tuiasosopo, Castle, Justice, Sanders, Horton, Ajee, and H. Richardson.

— After the circuit, the team moved down the field to work on formation/play recognition. Worked specifically on LBs ability to read the option. Yenga was by far the best. Tuiasosopo made good reads, but was slow to go towards the ball- most likely because of an injury he may have sustained earlier during position drills.

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