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Thursday, September 29, 2011
Tony Romo isn't alone with bulletproof pads

By Jeff Caplan

On Monday night there was plenty attention being paid to the specially designed, bullet-proof vest Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo wore to protect his broken rib against the Washington Redskins.

Well, Romo wasn't the only one donning bullet-proof protection.

SMU Mustangs running Zach Line has played the past two weeks with a dislocated left shoulder. Thanks to specially designed padding made by the same company that put Romo in a Kevlar vest, Unequal Technologies -- which just hired Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick after he sustained a concussion two weeks ago --  Line has rushed for 221 yards and eight touchdowns without causing any further damage to the shoulder.

"It's bullet-proof silk. They absorb a lot of blows," SMU coach June Jones said of the special material added to Line's pads.

Not exactly.

The company calls the material it designed a combination of padding and ballistics-grade Kevlar, and boasts that it has developed the No. 1 shock suppression system in the world.

"He said it's the best he's felt after a game," Jones said of Line following Saturday's 42-0 win over Memphis in which the 230-pounder rushed for 136 yards and three touchdowns. "I think those new pads really helped him. He's sold on them."

He'll probably stick with it Saturday when the Mustangs face No. 20 TCU in Fort Worth. Line rushed for 139 yards and a touchdown in lat season's 41-27 loss to the Frogs.

Line said SMU has studied the film from Baylor's 50-48 season-opening win against TCU and that the Mustangs will be prepared to challenge the steadily improving Frogs' defense.

"We saw the way they played Baylor. We picked up a lot of things from that tape," Line said. "I don't think our scheme relates very much to what Baylor did. Obviously, they go deep we go deep; we run the ball, they run the ball, that's going to be the same. But, we saw some things on the tape, their alignment against some of the formations and we're going to try to take advantage of some of those things."

Pressed for details, Line, ranked 14th in the nation averaging 115. 8 rushing yards a game, said: "You'll see it on game day."