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Red Raider Gridiron | Coordinators Talk SMU


SMU Game: I'll be attending the SMU game.  I had not planned on attending, but was presented to drive to the game with 3 others and we have a free place to crash.  Can't get much cheaper than that.  I'll for sure be at RaiderDoc's tailgate and if you do plan on attending, please bring something to contribute.  I won't make any promises when I'll get there as I'll be trying to round up others (I'll probably be up at 5:00 a.m.).

I've posted a ticket-selling FanPost and I'd appreciate it if we could get a handful of people to rec' the FanPost so that it's pinned at the top and then feel free to un-rec' it after the game.  As a primer, it's a place for Red Raiders to get together, sell their tickets for face value.  I'm always available to help coordinate on emails.

And for those of you who don't check into DTN during the weekend, make sure and check out how the Big 12 loves Double-T Nation!

Practice Report and Receivers Preview:  The official site previews the receivers and we get some video commentary from inside receivers coach Sonny Cumbie and outside receivers coach Tommy Mainord:

Sonny Cumbie (Inside Receivers Coach):  Good to have inside receivers with experience, Detron Lewis, Austin Zouzalik, Cornelius Doulglas.  Need consistency.  Going into game week, Tramain Swindall has improved and is more consistent.  Lewis will be one of the better players.  Just must be consistent game in and game out.  Not many newcomers in the inside receivers.  Aaron Fisher has improved from the spring

Tommy Mainord (Outside Receivers Coach):  Jacoby Franks, Alexander Torres, Lyle Leong all have lots of experience.  Torres has been a little banged up.  These guys are the main focus, along with Eric Ward and Derrick Mayes, who are still making some mistakes.  Darrin Moore is transferring in and is going to be good, needs lots of reps, moving along faster and giving the team early depth because he is older.  Most surprising is Franks.  Hasn't missed a workout, battled through minor injuries and the staff is proud of him.

Also from yesterday, we get some video from the two coordinators, Neal Brown and James Willis:

Neal Brown (Offensive Coordinator):  Taylor Potts has gotten better, is getting sharper, but both Potts and Steven Sheffield have done well.  Feels pretty good, the offense is on schedule.  There are key backups that he wishes would play better.  Been a long time, the kids are ready to play and ready to see the offense.  Not nervous right now, as long as he's prepared, and he is, then he feels comfortable.  Wanted Potts to take charge of the whole offense and he has done better with that.  He had a bad habit of not finishing his throws and now good moving in the pocket.  A lot of those sacks were because Sheffield and Potts didn't move around in the pocket.  Has done a much better job moving in the pocket during the scrimmages, but won't know for sure until the game starts.  Feel good about the first five offensive linemen.  Won't be smooth sailing for a few games.  Feels that there are only seven that can play offensive linemen right now.  Would like to see eight or nine.  Beau Carpenter will miss a couple of games and Mickey Okafor was out with a concussion, but should be back on Tuesday.  Blake Emert needs to come on.  Okafor and Terry McDaniel also need to step it up.  SMU drops a lot in coverage, they have a good defensive line.  Their linebackers run well.

James Willis (Defensive Coordinator):  A lot of young guys expected to contribute.  Recruited these guys to play.  Happy to see LaRon Moore back in uniform.  Has become part of the coaching staff in some ways.  Moore could be back in another month or so.  The good part is that going against the offense gives lots of passing reps, but June Jones is about vertical routes.  Sam Fehoko has had good progress.  Brian Duncan, Scott Smith, Kerry Hyder can all rush the quarterback.  Jarvis Phillips is young, but can play as good as any.  Very excited to be the defensive coordinator.  Must feel like we are a part of the game.  Will be on the field for the game.

Lots of interesting things to take away from Brown and Willis.  Brown essentially acknowledges every flaw that we've known about Potts and acknowledges that the sacks were in large part to Potts not moving around in the pocket.  Apparently Brown thinks that not finishing throws (which I think you could also say is throwing off of his back foot) are correctable errors.  I get the issue of not finishing throws, but the ability to move around in the pocket seems like a tough thing to correct.  Brown also acknowledges that Potts has done well in practice, but things are different once it's a game situation.  I'm getting more and more worried about the offensive line and we should all collectively meditate that the offensive line stays healthy all year.

Willis sounded pretty positive, it's so hard to hear him as he's relatively soft-spoken on camera.  He did sound very positive about Phillips and didn't hesitate when asked if he could play.  Also mentioning Duncan, Smith and Hyder all rushing the quarterback is nice.

LAJ's Don Williams has a notebook with the actual quotes from the Wills and Brown conversations.

So much more after the jump.

Blockers Get Into Running Game:  LAJ's Don Williams writes about how the offensive line has done four-times the number of running drills than in prior years.  Here's senior RT Chris Olson:

"We do about quadruple the amount of drills — with the first-team defense, with the second-team defense — with running drills," Olson said a few days ago.

"We do half-line, inside, team run, all that kind of stuff," Olson said, naming assorted drills that focus on the running game. "I think that’s really helped us out a lot because we’ve been really having to focus on our pad level, which is something we kind of slacked off on last year. That’s been one big emphasis for us."

And head coach Tommy Tuberville says that you've got to work at being able to run the ball:

"You’ve got to go out there and do it in practice, which we have," Tuberville said. "In the spring, in (August) two-a-days, we’ve gotten back to getting down and coming off the ball, being more physical and all those things. It can’t be just giving it lip service. You’ve got to let them know, ‘Hey, there’s times we’ve got to line up and play on their side of the ball, not be catchers.’"

I like the idea of the team working on running plays more and I'm hoping that in situations where it's 4th and short, those yards are a bit easier to gain because the offensive line has worked on run-blocking so much.

Miscellaneous:  LAJ's Courtney Linehan has a few more thoughts on athletic director Gerald Myers' retirement . . . BOTC's TB with some interesting thoughts on whether or not the college sports bubble is about to burst . . . with a generic preview of all Big 12 teams . . . The Chron finally gets around to actually writing about Texas Tech . . .  SMU Mustangs Links:  DT's Mike Graham with an article about the improved SMU Mustangs . . . DMN's Kate Hairopoulos writes about SMU defense preparing for Texas Tech:

"What you hope is your defense is sound and can take care of a lot of different things," SMU defensive coordinator Tom Mason said.

"We're going to have to adjust as they come out. But they're going to have to adjust to us too. ... It's really hard to prepare right now. We've got to just guess and hope we're guessing with about 80 percent accuracy what we're going to see."

 . . . FSSW's Steve Hunt writes about how SMU and QB Kyle Padron want to raise the bar in 2010.  Padron also talks about his receivers:

"Cole Beasley, he’s come a long way. In the off-season, he watched a lot of Wes Welker tapes to see how he gets open and uses his quickness to get around guys in the NFL," he said. "Al[drick Robinson], he’s a 4.3-40 kind of guy. There aren’t many guys in the country that can cover him one-on-one. With our speed cuts and the way we run routes, it’s going to be hard for people to cover us."