Tyron Smith still working hard

September, 15, 2011
9/15/11
7:13
PM ET
IRVING -- There has been a lot of talk about what the Cowboys are going to do at the guard position this week with rookie Bill Nagy nursing a neck injury, but another rookie, first-round pick Tyron Smith, will start his second NFL game on Sunday.

Smith played last week's game while recovering from a hyperextended knee in practice and didn't appear to be too stiff as he moved against the New York Jets pass rush.

"I think it’s admirable of a young guy, 20 years old that had an injury," offensive line coach Hudson Houck said. "I saw no problem with that whatsoever. Of course, he doesn’t complain at all. Now, he went in to see the trainers, get the treatment, do all of the things you’re supposed to do, but he never complains to me. Maybe I don’t listen."

Smith, who is the first Cowboys player born in the 1990s, started his last 24 games at USC and in his junior season was a first-team All PAC-10 selection.

"It went by quick," said Smith, who turns 21 in December. "I can't believe where I am right now."

Sunday he'll return to his native California where the Cowboys visit the San Francisco 49ers. Smith is from Moreno Valley and his parents, who have moved to Dallas to be with him his rookie year, and his sister will make the trip.

So far Smith, who was penalized twice in the opener, has played well. But there is room for growth.

"I did good, just a few things I need to work on," Smith said of his performance in Week 1. "It's a little faster than preseason. A lot faster and it's more mental. You got to know what you're doing out there."
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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