August 8, 2007

Ponies put on the pads as position battles heat up

The competition for the starting middle linebacker position has grown past the interest of SMU's defensive coaches. Other players are now taking an interest beyond wanting to know who will start.

Wednesday's practice put the Mustangs in pads for the first time this fall, and at least one player noticed the extra energy coming from the heart of SMU's defense.

"Those guys are all playing hard and fighting for that position," said senior linebacker Wilton McCray, who will start next to either Damon Hurst, Ryan Moczygemba, Pete Fleps or Chase Kennemer, the four players trying to win the starting spot in the middle.

"It's like watching dogs fighting for some meat they're working so hard," McCray added. "They know the coaches are going to put the best guy out on the field, and the defense knows whoever it ends up being will mix in fine with Tony and me."

McCray and Tony Hawkins are senior starting outside linebackers and three-year letter-winners. McCray said that it's natural for the offense to get the attention early in the preseason, especially after the record-setting seasons many of SMU's offensive returnees had in 2006.

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