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Tuesday, June 21, 2011
How Tyron Smith is preparing for season

By Tim MacMahon

It might have been easier for Tyron Smith if the Cowboys could have held their regular schedule of minicamps.

The first-round pick certainly isn’t letting the lockout prevent him from preparing to start right away, probably at right tackle.

Smith, the 20-year-old selected with the ninth overall pick, is working out six days a week while splitting time between Southern California and his agent’s Wisconsin home. He’s following a workout plan set by agent Joe Panos, who spent seven seasons in the NFL as an offensive guard and was the Vikings’ assistant offensive line coach in 2008.

“I feel like I’m being prepared in the best way possible,” said Smith, who plans to join his new teammates for the Cowboys’ next round of player-run workouts. “I’m trying to do the best things I can to get ready for the NFL.”

A typical day for Smith, who works out at USC when he isn’t in Wisconsin, begins with a session with a personal trainer after breakfast. He spends his morning lifting weights, running and doing conditioning work.

After lunch and a nap, Smith hits the field for position drills, with the focus on run and pass alternating daily. These occasionally feature full-line drills with four other Panos clients, including Baylor’s Danny Watkins, an offensive guard selected 23rd overall by the Eagles.

Panos, who has known Dallas offensive line coach Hudson Houck for several years, has Smith doing many of the same drills the Cowboys use. They’re also similar to what Smith did at USC.

“A little faster,” Smith said, “a little more intense.”

After a couple of hours of drills, Smith returns home for dinner. For dessert, he studies the Cowboys’ playbook and some film.

Smith got the Cowboys’ playbook during his post-draft visit to Valley Ranch, which coincided with a court-ordered gap in the lockout. The lockout was reinstated that afternoon, so Smith didn’t get to spend much time with Houck, but he at least got an introduction to playing tackle for the Cowboys.

The freakishly athletic 6-foot-5 Smith, who has bulked up to 315 pounds, is determined to report to training camp ready for advanced courses.

“No one has to worry about Tyron working and preparing,” Panos said. “He’s got a lot of pride. He’s a very confident kid. The reason he’s confident is because he works and prepares. He’s working his tail off.

“He wants to be the best.”