Gary Patterson seemed okay with the way his team practiced today. They were practicing inside again as they were last week, perhaps coach doesn't want anymore guys stepping on sprinkler heads. Anyway, here's this week's breakdown of what Coach P said after Wednesday's practice.
Concerns at safety:
When Patterson was asked if he was comfortable with his situation, he was quick to answer, “No.” Since George Baltimore left the team before camp began, they’ll be relying on true freshman Arico Evans to come in if needed. Patterson said Evans tweaked his knee, but he is coming along slowly but surely. He’s been playing special teams and Patterson noted that Evans will play safety if he needs to. On a positive note, Patterson said that walk-on Michael Downing has been “good” in practice. He said Downing is a smart player but his problem is just that he tries to do too much, “He just needs to turn in his paper, he doesn’t need to do extra credit.”
Depth at linebacker:
Travin Howard and Montrel Wilson will start at linebacker. Ty Summers and Paul Whitmill will be the alternates. I think that’s the right call since both are faster guys who fit Patterson’s system, just not a lot of depth there with Mike Freeze and Douglas out. Both Howard and Wilson can be really good with their athleticism; it’s all a matter of learning the system and limiting mistakes.
Preparing for Matt Davis:
It seems like this week’s defensive game plan is centered around stopping SMU quarterback Matt Davis on the ground. They’ve actually been playing freshman defensive back Tony James at quarterback to be able to adjust to his speed. Davis a averaging 120 yards on the ground with two solid performances against Baylor and UNT.
Davion Pierson won’t play against SMU, which comes as a surprise to some since he said in his presser yesterday that he would. No one seems to know exactly what’s holding Pierson back. I’ve heard that his just banged up; I’ve heard he has concussion problems and some off the field speculation. I can’t recall too many coaches who’ve changed a player’s status in a matter of a day without anything else transpiring in between. He’s probably just hurt and they’re taking the day-to-day approach. Once Big 12 play begins, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see him on the field.
Deanté Gray is still out. Nothing knew on James MacFarland, Mike Freeze or Mike Tuaua. I don’t think we’ll see any of those guys back anytime soon.
Mindset for SMU:
As he does for most of his opponents, Patterson talked up SMU and Chad Morris. He said they improved a lot on both side of the ball and really praised their defense. Like I have witnessed over the years, Patterson said SMU always plays tough against them and made sure that the media knew that they held Baylor to -5 yards in the third quarter. He said his message to the team is, “"Every week you got to get ready to play. You can't win four without winning three.”