Young defender starting to get things right

Julian Herron is starting to get the new defensive schemes down going into the week of SMU's season opener with Rice University this Friday night. Herron had a good fall camp, which has seen him fight for a starting role. Go inside to see what the standout defender had to say.

You had to hear him.

"Right," SMU second team linebacker Alex Odiaria screamed. "Julian, get right."

The redshirt freshman from Arlington, however, did not. And that is why, after failing to get Julian Herron to shift his coverage to the receiver on his right, Odiari continued his tirade even after the ball was snapped and the play went live.

Yet outbursts like this one are nothing new to Herron. "It was like ‘Goodness gracious,'" he said of the criticism he has received from coaches and teammates alike. "We're human, we mess up sometimes.

"But at the same time, you've still got to get it down."

Despite being pulled to the side on a regular basis since fall camp began, Herron may finally be getting it down after he seen action with both the first and second team during camp.

The honor of getting better is not lost on Herron. "It feels wonderful," the linebacker said. "Getting a step better everyday."

The redshirt freshman can certainly appreciate the opportunity to improve on a daily basis after surgery on his ankle to remove calcium buildup caused him to miss practice time this past season.

Yet Herron is healthy now and trying to adjust to the new defensive schemes employed by new defensive coordinator Tom Mason. "It's been pretty simple," he said of his transition to the new defense. "But at the same time I have a couple of errors here and there to work out."

What has saved Herron, however, and made him impossible to ignore, are his physical gifts.

Known since his freshman year of high school as ‘The Beast,' the linebacker runs a sub-4.4 40 and boasts a "39-40" inch vertical. Not to mention the 6-foot-0, 205-pound Herron can put up 350 pounds on the bench press and squat "550-600" pounds.

That means that, while he is as strong if not stronger than most linebackers, Herron can run with most defensive backs.

It is that talent set that has him eager to show his teammates and coaches that he can handle whatever defensive set comes his way. "I expect to come out there and play," he said. "I feel like I need to play."

"People call me ‘The Beast—I'm going to go ahead and show everybody and just do what I need to do."

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