SMU head coach June Jones finally gave spectators something to get excited for Tuesday when his team conducted its first practice in full pads.
The Mustangs, who had spent most of camp prior to Tuesday doing offensive and defensive drills in shorts, even got together for a spirited 11 on 11 between the first offense and defense.
Yet spectators did not get the entire Saturday experience at Pettus Practice Field Tuesday.
Defensive players were still not allowed to tackle offensive players and, in fact, were encouraged to keep their teams off the ground.
Jones, however, is not catering to anyone—simply abiding by the same schedule he always has. "We'll be ready by the time we get there," he said in reference to the season opener against Rice. "It's the same formula that we've done for thirty years."
The head coach is hoping to evaluate his team within the next seven days and actually plans to what the players are learning tonight.
He said his players' heads will continue to swell but that he is not discouraged. "We've got a long way to go, but we're doing a lot of good things," Jones said. "We've got to get better everyday."
The first year coach has to be encouraged by performances like the one by sophomore Aldrick Robinson in 11 on 11 Tuesday. The receiver made play after play including two big catches—one a catch in traffic where he ran away from the defense and one a jump ball on the sideline against tight coverage.
The first of his catches got the entire offense going as it appeared to win its first bout with the first team defense.
That is why Jones said the two and a half weeks he has before the season opener will be plenty of time to get the offense up and running. "We'll have some production and we'll be moving the football," he said. "But to get them at the perfect stage is going to take some game time."