SMU Wednesday''s Practice Notebook

The SMU Mustangs continued to prepare for their season opener August 29 against Rice, as the team took the field for its third practice session this fall. Go inside today's practice notebook for an inside look at some of today's happenings.

Practice for SMU was not very different from yesterday save a minor change here or there. The team practiced with shoulder pads for the first time today and competed in special teams drills today following the fundamental tackling drill that has opened each practice.

The Mustangs are clearly committed to improving as a team, once again, began practice early and ended late. Not that the players mind. One spectator noted that the team seems to be enjoying itself in practice this year compared to last year.

The special teams drill, which consisted of four special teams players attempting to tackle a ballcarrier from 20 yards out, revealed what may be a strength for SMU this year. The Mustangs have serious speed at the receiver position as well as cutting ability. Freshmen B.J. Lee and Cole Beasley were particularly impressive and, not counting when Lee was held up by a jersey grab, were touched the two of them the entire drill.

The quarterbacks and wide receivers added significantly to the simple pass patterns they had been running the first two days of practice. Receivers were sent in motion and, by the end of practice, the offense was running eleven on eleven while guys not on offense simulated the defense.

The Mustangs seemed to be getting their timing down with the pass patterns they were running until the simulating defenders entered the equation. The dropped passes and balls batted at the line let spectators know that the offense still has a long way to go before it resembles Hawaii.

That orange scout team helmet in the midst of the white second team helmets was that of Oklahoma State transfer Alex Odiari whose stay with the scout team is apparently up. It will be interesting to see how long before the linebacker, who started four games as a Cowboy in 2006, ascends to the first team after conquering the scout team in two days.

Former Dallas Cowboy greats Daryl Johnston and Troy Aikman attended practice this morning and were able to get a glimpse of June Jones' offense before splitting early. Aikman, who was listed at 6-foot-4, 219-pounds in his playing days, is huge in person and in great shape. The Hall of Famer looks like he retired yesterday instead of eight years ago.

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