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July 9, 2008For the incoming freshman class on the Trojan football team, the past few weeks have been a bit of a test.
Strength and conditioning coach Chris Carlisle has been pushing the players to their physical limits on the field and in the weight room.
Veteran Trojans have been going hard against the freshman in individual drills.
And mostly, the results are humbling.
But for Tyron Smith, his first few weeks have done nothing but proven to him that he's where he belongs.
Smith, a five-star offensive lineman, has been working hard in his first few weeks on campus - with positive results.
"It's been cool. I was getting used to everything, but I'm used to it now," Smith said. "I'm probably pretty close to where the other guys are at already."
His good performances aren't surprising considering Smith entered the summer as the 15th-ranked player in the 2008 class. They are surprising, though, when you consider the adjustments to a new system.
"Everything's quicker, and the guys are stronger," he said. "Everything we've been doing on the field is new. It took me about a week to pick everything up. After I went through the rotation once, I got it."
Tackles Butch Lewis and Charles Brown have been mentoring Smith early, teaching him what it takes to be successful at a high level.
"My footwork is getting closer and closer to where those guys are at," Smith said. "Physically, they're all about the same size as me. They've been helping me out."
Smith, a soft-spoken guy contrasting his rock-solid frame, said he's been able to look to his fellow freshman as they all adjust to new surroundings.
"It feels comfortable," he said. "The other freshman are all really cool, and the guys who are here are good too."
In his first few weeks on campus, in the classroom and on the football field, Smith said everything's lived up to his expectations.
He new it'd be hard work, and despite making things look easy at times, the strength and conditioning staff found a way to make him sweat.
"The team runs have been challenging," he said. "But, it feels good to get out here working."