Smart emerges from shadow; offense looks sharp

By Chadd Cripe

You don’t need to remind senior defensive tackle Ian Smart whose shoes he’s filling this year.

He has heard the name plenty.

Smart replaces Andrew Browning, a three-year starter and All-WAC first-teamer who recorded 8.5 sacks last season.

“I watched all his film,” Smart said. “You’re always trying to learn from the best. You look at the coaches and they’re expecting you to do what he did. I’m not trying to be Browning, but I want to have that production. … He’s not a bad guy to emulate.”

Smart (6-foot-3, 274 pounds) takes a different approach to line play than Browning.

Browning was a master technician. Smart runs more on instinct.

“I’m more of a guy who just makes plays,” Smart said. “Sometimes it looks ugly. … This whole fall I’ve been trying hard to do what (defensive line coach Pete Kwiatkowski) is saying. It’s coming along, but I’ve still got strides to make.”

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The offense looked sharp again at Wednesday morning's practice. Senior quarterback Taylor Tharp was perfect on the hurry-up drive, hitting Jeremy Childs for a 35-yard touchdown.

True freshman cornerback Brandyn Thompson, who has had an impressive camp, got some quality time with the first- and second-team defenses.

QBs

Chadd, Perhaps you could provide additional insight/opinion as to which quarterback has looked the best throughout fall camp? Who has been getting the first team reps? Personally I think this QB "competition" is somewhat of a ploy by the coaches, and would be shocked if Hamdan didn't start against Weber State.

QBs

Definitely not a ploy. Taylor Tharp has played well and so has Nick Lomax. Friday's scrimmage will be a big test for both of them, and Bush. Nobody has been clearly better than anyone else, and they've all been getting chances with the first team.