8-7 SMU Football Practice Notebook

Demetrio was at SMU football practice today and has Q&As with Kevin Pope and Daniel Gresham plus practice notes!

June Jones Press Conference

Daniel Gresham Q&A

Q: What did you do to keep yourself busy this summer?
DG: Well, I’ve been up here the whole time. I graduated on a Saturday on like May 18. I took Sunday off, then Monday I came up here and per NCAA rules I was allowed to start working out-I’ve been here since.

Q: How was practice today?
DG: It went really good. Just getting the fundamentals down and mental reps are really key. I’ve been talking to Kevin Pope a lot and he’s been really mentoring me- taking me under his wing. He’s actually my roommate at the hotel, so he and I go through plays all the time. I’m really getting it down. I’m excited about it.

Q: What kind of a role are you looking to create for yourself here at SMU?
DG: Anything to help the team to be honest. I mean, my ultimate goal is to become a starter, that’s my main goal and I believe I can achieve that. Pope is a great running back and I’m just praying right now that he and I can split reps and just make it do what it does.

Q: Where do you want to see yourself in the rotation by the time training camp ends?
DG: Number one or number two. I just want to make sure I can contribute an any way. My ultimate goal is to make sure I’m in that backfield against Baylor for the first game.

Q: What difference do you think your game could add to the offense?
DG: Just aggressiveness and smarts. Ijust love the game. I want to be a student of the game. The new transfer, Matt Davis, is really helping me learn how to read defenses and different things like that and that’s really key. You see some guys just come out here and say ‘man the only thing you got to do at running back is get the ball and run,’ but this is the next level. And really, transitioning from high school to college, the biggest thing is the speed of the game and having knowledge of the game; knowing how the defensive line is set up, where the linebackers are, what kind of box you have. I feel like my intelligence would really set me apart.

Q: What have you been doing to prepare for that jump from high school to college ball?
DG: Well, me and Pope have been watching a lot of film and he is basically a coach. He’s been coaching me up. I also make flash cards of the plays and just sit there, ‘ok that’s blah blah blah, that’s so and so dive.’ It’s a lot of rigorous studying- basically like a class. Like studying for a test. The game is our test and I’m just making sure I know it.

Kevin Pope Q&A

Q: What is the running back rotation right now and where do you fall in that rotation?
KP: Prescott Line, K.C. Nlemchi and then me and Daniel. We’ve just been rotating in and out right now- there is no set spot for the number one guy. Everybody is working hard and whoever works harder until the Baylor game is going to get the start.

Q: Can you tell us a little bit about what its like to have an extra year to play?
KP: Well, I’m truly blessed to have this extra year. I’ve been praying for it and now I got it. I’m just excited to play college football for one more year and be out here with this team and hopefully make it a lot better.

Q: So with your experience with this team you are put into a leadership type role, how do you plan to deal with that extra responsibility?
KP: Well, I just talk to the guys. I talk to them everyday before practice, before we breakout and dating back to summer workouts I’ve been in their ears. But my type of leading is by example. I like to lead by example and that’s by playing hard on the field, making plays and showing the other guys how to lead. Once I make a play then the other guys get hyped up and they follow- so that’s the kind of leader I like to be.

Q: Do you have any thoughts on the QB battle?
KP: I’m good with whoever starts. I’m sure coach Jones will make the right decision and put the best guy out there. So, all we need is 11 guys on offense to play so that’s what its going to boil down to.Neal has been here for three years so of course he seems more comfortable with the offense. But Matt is a great QB too so they are both equally competing for the spot.

Q: Daniel Gresham says you too are pretty close, can you tell me what your first impression of him was?
KP: He is a good kid- solid too. I remember coming out of high school, I didn’t look anything like him. He’s like a super freshman. But yea, he’s a good kid. He’s really talented and he’s going to be a great player.

Q: And what about Darius Durall, what have you seen of him so far?
KP: He’s like a change of pace type of back. You could call Gresham Thunder and call him lightning because he is really fast, swift quick and as you can see from the kick off returns today, he was taking them to the house. He’s going to be a good player on this team.

Q: How do you feel about opening the season against Baylor?
KP: I love it. I demand competition and love to play in big time games and coaches are always talking about ‘big time players make big time plays in big time games.’ I’ve been looking forward to playing in big stadiums, in front of big crowds and especially against ranked opponents, ever since I was a kid. I would love to go down there and get a win.

Practice Notes

Anthony Rhone was showing extra energy during defensive drills

Inoke Ngalo had a boot on his right leg, was walking through some drills, but mostly watching from the side.

Caleb Tuiasosopo Looked good, no limp- so whatever happened yesterday seems to be no existent today.

Kolney Cassel and Austin Kent had a couple throws go behind receivers running out routes.

Jordan Severt was on target for much of practice and was delivering some real pretty balls.

— Matt Davis was making all the throws look easy early on during practice, but missed on a couple long balls.

Garrett Krstich was just slightly off on some of his throws- either leading receivers too much or putting balls behind them.

Anthony Buffini was impressive. Really seemed to be trying to stand out and kept laying out for balls.

Jordan Ingram looked very sharp. He seemed confident in his route running. He did have one drop, which happened when he took his eyes off the ball to run up field before it was secured.

— Chris Hipps ran some crisp routes and pretty good hands. Also looks rather comfortable with the plays- no hesitation when running routes.

— Gaines ran every route hard and came out of breaks clean. Was running really smooth routes.

— Thompson looked good, ran one of the better posts of the day.

— Greenbauer saw some reps with the first team defense and looked more comfortable with the brace. His backpedal looked more natural and planting off his [braced] leg seemed more natural and fluid.

— Kevin Pope looked really good running after the catch, seemed to have a little extra spring in his step.

— Greenbauer was also running scout team QB during recognition drills, so his knee must be feeling really close to 100%. Any chunkiness in movement is probably due to the brace.

Jonathan Yenga continued to make excellent reads, really has a nose for getting to the ball.

Cameron Nwosu made a couple good reads, but over pursued a bit on a couple reps.

— Note from yesterday: Ryan Walker, Kyle Padron, Randall Joyner and Jeremy Gray are all helping as volunteer assistants with the team.

Neal Burcham Q&A
Courtesy: SMU Athletics

Hayden Greenbauer
Courtesy: SMU Athletics

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