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Thursday practice notes and '78 Classic Moment

The Dolphins just finished one of the most competitive practices I've seen them conduct since camp opened.

The reason this practice was so competitive is because there were team drills throughout the practice. There were two-minute team drills. Firsts against Firsts team drill. Third down team drill.

It was very interesting. And, yes, competitive.

In the two-minute drill, Chad Henne got the opportunity to run the starting offense. The situation is that 1:32 is left in the game and the offense has one time out. Oh, and you have to get in the end zone because a field goal doesn't help.

So Henne misses on his first two passes, including one in which Davone Bess is open against Vontae Davis but the ball is too high. Henne comes right back to Bess on the next play and completes the pass against Davis.

Then he's incomplete again, then he completes one to Greg Camarillo who beats Jason Allen. Then it gets tough. Incomplete. Incomplete. Incomplete. And incomplete when a blitz forces a quick throw and Chris Clemons knocks away the pass to Anthony Fasano.

One thing about this period that I noticed is that with the exception of the blitz, the defense got zero pressure on Henne. That's as it should be because it is the first team OL vs the second-team defense. But it would have been nice if Cameron Wake had mounted some pressure at some point.

In the third down work, Donald Thomas got significant snaps with the first team offense. And Chad Pennington put on a clinic.

Third and 8 completion to Bess. Third and seven completion to Camarillo. Third and five completion to Bess. Pennington tripped and was sacked on the next play. And then on third and second he completed another to Ricky Williams.

That's an 80 percent conversion percentage.

The Henne-led second teamers converted two of five.

Speaking of conversions, it was a solid day for Connor Barth and Brandon Fields. It was a tough afternoon for Dan Carpenter.

Fields converted an extra point obviously meant to show he can do it in an emergency. Then Barth connected on field goals of 42 and 46 yards. Carpenter missed both his tries from 42 and 46 yards and then was given a 61-yard attempt -- which he also missed.

As far as the obligatory Pat White update goes: He practiced, he missed half his throws, he connected on half his throws, he didn't fumble, he didn't trip, he seemed to have more velocity on the ball today than I've seen from him. He was neither great nor terrible.

And now this Classic Training Camp moment from 1978 ...

In '78 the Dolphins began to enjoy the fruits of having lost Larry Csonka after the 1974 season. The New York Giants had sent Miami third-round picks in both 1978 and '79 for the rights to sign Csonka after the World Football League folded.

And so in the '78 draft the Dolphins used that third-round pick to select defensive tackle Lyman Smith out of Duke. The Dolphins had great hopes for Smith because he was 6-5 and 250 pounds and smart as they come.

But maybe Smith was too smart for his own good. And definitely he was smarter than he was athletically gifted. Both caused problems.

Seems that during rookie hazing, Smith balked at the idea of having to sing in front of the team, or buy veterans their breakfast every morning, or carry their pads off the field after practice. He just would not join in the reindeer games like the other rookies.

And so the veterans made Smith pay a price. They grabbed him and did what any band of grown men whose sensitivities have been upset would do. They tied Smith to a tree. And left him there. And didn't go back to untie him.

I don't know how Smith got free, but when he did, he found himself facing another more depressing issue: He really wasn't that good. Smith struggled and disappointed and clearly was not destined for an NFL career.

"The guy was a terrible player and he was something of a [jerk] about not participating in the normal treatment of rookies," one player from that 1978 training camp told me Thursday. "He could have saved himself if he had been a very talented player but been a [jerk] otherwise. It would have even been fine if he wasn't that talented but wasn't a [jerk], either. But he was a [jerk] and a terrible player. He was the total package for all the wrong reasons."

And so Smith, drafted 64th overall, was cut. Can you imagine such a thing today? A third-round pick cut without making it out of training camp?

Smith was picked up by the Vikings and lasted one year with them before being cut. And that's just as well because football really wasn't his calling. But don't fret. Lyman Smith is today Dr. Lyman Smith, a board certified orthopedic surgeon.

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