PonyFans.comBoard IndexAround the HilltopFootballRecruitingBasketballOther Sports

Observations from practice

This is the forum for talk about SMU Football

Moderators: PonyPride, SmooPower

Observations from practice

Postby PonyPride » Sun Mar 03, 2024 12:45 pm

A few notes from Saturday's practice, which was a crowded affair because it was the team's "Family Day."

• As has been previously announced, Teddy Knox is now playing CB, and there is reason to believe the move could work. Everyone who has seen him on offense or special teams since he transferred from Mississippi State knows he can really run. Yes, he needs to refine his technique and footwork, which is understandable. But he is exceptionally fast, and the aggressiveness he shows on special teams is evident on defense, too. He has the speed to stay with receivers all over the field, and he has no hesitation about going up to contest 50-50 passes with bigger receivers like Jordan Hudson. There is lots of work that needs to be done, but the move is intriguing, and after the Mustangs lost 2023 starters Chris Megginson and Charles Woods, a lot of players will get a long look there.

• Another one of those at the cornerback spot who looked good — and drew praise from defensive coordinator Scott Symons, is CB A.J. Johnson, who <url=http://www.ponyfans.com/features/story.php?id=1682>Symons said he has been impressed by Johnson, who has appeared "a little bit more confident, and maybe a different level of focus."</url> He played in 11 games over his first two seasons, and has grown into his frame — he now is listed at 193 pounds, compared to 179 when he arrived as a freshman. Like Knox, he regularly battled to knock away 50-50 balls, including breakups on two would-be touchdown passes.

• One encouraging sight at practice is QB Preston Stone, who is working his way back after his 2022 season was cut short because of a broken leg suffered in the Mustangs' regular-season finale against Navy. The team's medical staff and coaches are being cautious with Stone. HC Rhett Lashlee has said Stone "might" do some seven-on-seven drills in spring, but will not take part in any team (11-on-11) situations with six months to go before the season. So for the time being, he is limited to some light passing and mobility drills. His ability to throw the ball is not in question, but it was encouraging to see him go through some mobility drills. He's not sprinting at top speed or cutting to elude defenders, but he's moving well, and showed no signs of a limp or discomfort.

• Arm strength is not the only indicator of a quarterback's ability, but Kevin Jennings' arm might be even stronger than it was. He has added 10 pounds since his arrival at SMU, and he has never had trouble getting the ball downfield, but he was throwing 50-yard ropes pretty effortlessly. On one play, he overthrew a WR and two DBs about ... 65 yards downfield.

S Isaiah Nwokobia wore the No. 23 jersey honoring former SMU receiver Jerry LeVias last year. But since that honor has not been handed out yet, Nwokobia is back to wearing his previous jersey number: 12.

• The tight ends group just looks stronger. R.J. Maryland, Tripp Riordan, Lonnie Johnson and especially Adam Moore just look like they have spent ample time in the weight room. They look different and run differently than a year ago, and seem to be blocking with more power.

• The bulk of the transfers in the middle of the defensive line has been discussed since signing day — kind of hard not to notice when adding guys like Mike Lockhart (6-4, 317) and Tank Booker (6-4, 351). But Georgia transfer Jonathan Jefferson (listed at 6-3 and "only" 295) was particularly impressive against the run, regularly eating up double-team blocks and either making the tackle or freeing up room for linebackers to arrive. The biggest — literally — celebration of the day came when Booker scooped up a fumble and returned it for a score.

• Defensive play of the day: QB Keldric Luster threw a deep pass over the middle to WR Jaxson Lavender, who turned upfield and split two defenders on his way to the end zone ... only to be chased down from behind by S Jonathan McGill, who caught up and punched the ball through the back of the end zone.

• The offensive line, of course, has a different look. Justin Osborne, the Mustangs' longtime right guard who slid out to tackle last year after Hyrin White was injured, is working at center, and looks significantly leaner than last year. Moving to the middle requires more reads and communication than other positions, and Osborne knows OL coach Garin Justice's schemes as well as anyone. Whether he stays there in the fall remains to be seen, but initial impressions are encouraging.

• With guards Logan Parr and Ben Sparks out, transfer Nate Anderson is working at LG and Jakai Clark at RG. Redshirt sophomore P.J. Williams, who Lashlee said was "basically a sixth starter" by the end of last season, is working at the LT spot vacated by Marcus Bryant.

• Fun end to practice: linemen fielding "punts" from a JUGGS machine. DE Jahfari Harvey, Lockhart, and Clark dropped theirs, but OT Savion Byrd, Anderson, DE Omari Abor, Booker, Williams, Jefferson and Osborne all fielded theirs cleanly.
PonyFans.com ... is really the premier place for Mustang talk on the Web.
New York Times

https://www.facebook.com/PonyFanscom/

twitter.com/PonyFans

https://www.instagram.com/ponyfans_staff/
User avatar
PonyPride
PonyFans.com Super Legend
 
Posts: 19953
Joined: Sat Apr 01, 2000 4:01 am
Location: Dallas, Texas

Re: Observations from practice

Postby Charleston Pony » Sun Mar 03, 2024 2:26 pm

Love the beefed up DL but we are going to need speed at LB and in the secondary. Although it was a sloppy track, BC's QB ran all over us in the bowl game and demonstrated a glaring need to increase our team speed on defense
Charleston Pony
PonyFans.com Super Legend
 
Posts: 27445
Joined: Thu Sep 21, 2000 3:01 am
Location: Stonebridge Golf Club, NC

Re: Observations from practice

Postby PonyPride » Sun Mar 03, 2024 4:54 pm

You're right. I think they are pretty pleased with the overall speed of the defense. In addition to the holdovers from last year, DEs Omari Abor and Jahfari Harvey of very good speed, and a lot of the secondary is fast — former WR Teddy Knox might be the fastest of the bunch.
PonyFans.com ... is really the premier place for Mustang talk on the Web.
New York Times

https://www.facebook.com/PonyFanscom/

twitter.com/PonyFans

https://www.instagram.com/ponyfans_staff/
User avatar
PonyPride
PonyFans.com Super Legend
 
Posts: 19953
Joined: Sat Apr 01, 2000 4:01 am
Location: Dallas, Texas


Return to Football

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 80 guests