SMU Practice Notebook Day 4

Tempo and momentuam continues to builds as the Mustangs prepare for its game against Rice on August 29. June Jones' squad participated in a spirited two hour practice session Thursday morning. The first two a day session will be this Saturday. Friday's practice is scheduled for 8:30 a.m.

Timing isn't everything

For the third day in a row, the Mustangs took the field earlier than the scheduled 8:30 start and ended later than the 10:30 finish time. The players and coaches alike are putting in maximum time and effort to ensure that they will be ready when the Rice game comes around. Good for them. It shows a true commitment to winning, which every fan on the Hilltop wants to see.

Outside the coverage area?

Coach Gansz lead the team in a drill he calls the "coverage drill" for the second straight day. In this drill 4 players run down 20 yards to try to tackle the ball carrier. It emphasizes staying in lanes on kickoff, pursuit of the ball, and also breaking down properly to make a tackle.

Louis Armstrong sighting at camp?

Coach Gansz once again led a drill he calls the "Jazz Session" where four players run after a loose ball, pick it up, and then throw it back to Coach Gansz. He then throws the ball back on the ground and this process is repeated a few more times. I guess he calls it Jazz Session due to the improvised nature of the drill.

The Pursuit of Happiness?

The defense took part in 20 minutes or so of intense pursuit drills. All three defensive units were participating in this drill and the collective spirit and moral of the team seemed to be higher today than it has been all week. The players seem to be enjoying themselves thoroughly while also relearning the important fundamentals of a solid defense. Of particular note, Oklahome State transfer Alex Odiari was once again practicing with the second team.

We are what we repetitively do

Once again today the quarterbacks and wide receivers participated in a long session of unrushed throwing and route running. The timing seems to be getting better between all of the quarterbacks and receivers, however, too many balls are still being dropped. Perhaps it's the first few days jitters.

The speed to lead

Junior wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders has emerged during camp as the true offensive leader so far. Without a clear choice at quarterback, Sanders has taken the offense on his shoulders and can be seen giving instructions to some of the younger receivers. Also, his route running has been very crisp to say the least, and he looks even faster this year than he was last year. Look for him to be playing on Sundays.

Offense versus offense?

The offense participated in 7-on-7 workouts, but they were going against themselves. Receivers and quarterbacks who were not in on the offensive unit lined up as defensive backs. Does this give the offensive players a good look, going against non-defensive players? Or does playing on a scout team defense allow the offensive skill positions to understand a defense better? We will see.

On this practice field, running backs actually run the ball?

It would appear that other teams in the conference are going to have running games so the defense went against each other working on linemen and linebackers filling proper gaps and blitzing to the correct holes. Overall, the defense looked pretty good stopping most runs in the backfield. Granted, the scout team runners were linebackers and defensive lineman, but at least gap assignments were taught during a live blocking scenario.

Coach for quarterback?

On a lighter note, Coach Derrick Odum was throwing a pretty good ball in defensive pass coverage drills. He completed a few long throws for touchdowns, but also had some crucial interceptions. If all 5 of the Mustang quarterbacks go down, does Coach Odum still have eligibility?

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