Star linebackers prepare for last season with lofty goals
Published: Monday, April 23, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 16:11
Senior linebackers Taylor Reed and Ja’Gared Davis are coming to the culmination of their four years at SMU.
They have high expectations for the defense as well as the team taking the next step in Coach June Jones’ plan for the program.
As the two seniors progess into their final season, the two players openly share on what they think would make for a successfull football team.
The defense fell off last year in the turnover ratio department, but ended up as the #37 defense in the country.
The unit is looking to step up in trying to get other offenses off the field more to help the offense get in better position to make plays more often.
Reed believes the turnover ratio that they had needs to get better.
“In 2010 we were pretty high up there and then this past year we fell off. I know we were negative 12, negative something like that so we have to pick that up as a defense,” Reed said.
Their senior year goals include bringing the defense into the top ten of the college football, winning Conference-USA and setting their sights on an undefeated season.
Reed and Davis both agree that their games need to improve with the rest of the defense for these goals to become reality.
Davis believes the entire unit must elevate its game to play at its potential.
“We are all just trying to step our game up to the next level. There is no one particular part on our defense that needs improvement, but as a whole we all do,” Davis said.
Reed, who just returned this spring after having to take care of some class work the first week of spring, says both Davis and him will have to step up as leaders after losing Chris Banjo, Richard Crawford and Taylor Thompson on defense.
“Both of us are going to be more of a leader out there. We have to get better at pass coverage and keeping our cool in the game,” Reed said.
Reed and Davis, who have been roommates since their freshman year, have an incredible feel for each other on the field because of growing up through the system together.
“I can easily read off of him. I’ve been playing with him; this will be our fourth year playing together so I can easily know what he’s thinking out there. I know what he’s thinking and he knows the same with me,” Reed said.
There was speculation that maybe the two star linebackers were considering looking into their draft prospects earlier this spring
They say they never thought one minute about it.
Instead they continue to work to finish off their legacy at SMU by tutoring the younger players and fine tuning their game.
With Reed and Davis’ help, the younger players have grown up quickly.
“The younger linebackers have been able to pick of the system much better than they did in the fall, because they have more time to learn, as a result they are preforming a lot better, making big strides for a young linebacker core,” Davis said.
The two seniors’ leadership will be much needed running the defense this year after a few keep spots opened due to graduation.
If their growth continues and the take an expanded role in leading and teaching other players, the defense has the opportunity to rebound from a down 2011 campaign and return as one of the better defenses in the conference and country.