#67 Southern Methodist Football Preview

Southern Methodist Mustangs

Overall Rank: #67
#4 Conference USA

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2010 Record: (7-7, 6-2)
2010 Bowl: Armed Forces Bowl vs. Army (L 14-16)
Coach: June Jones (16-23 at Southern Methodist, 92-64 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: June Jones
Defensive Coordinator: Tom Mason

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Zach Line, RB, 1,494 yards
Passing: Kyle Padron, QB, 3,828 yards
Receiving: Cole Beasley, WR, 1,060 yards
Tackles: Taylor Reed, LB 145
Sacks: Ja’Gared Davis, LB, 9.0
Interceptions: Richard Crawford, CB, 4

Other Key Returnees: S Chris Banjo, OT Kelvin Beachum, OT J.T. Brooks, G Bryce Dennison, DT Marquis Frazier, WR Bradley Haynes, DE Margus Hunt, WR Darius Johnson, C Blake McJunkin, S Ryan Smith, DE Taylor Thompson, G Kelly Turner

Key Losses: LB Pete Fleps, CB Sterling Moore, WR Aldrick Robinson, LB Youri Yenga

SMU was quite inconsistent last year. Coach June Jones’ squad never won more than two games in a row and never lost more than two in a row. The result was a 7-7 overall record. The offense will stay in the air most of the time, but running back Zach Line had a superb sophomore season, rushing for 1,465 yards and ten touchdowns on 244 carries. There are some more young backs that could make some noise, but as long as Line is physically able, he should be on the field.

The SMU defense did a superb job last season. Playing defense is always tough in Conference USA, but the Mustangs did quite well with a young group. The front line returns all three starters and has plenty of talent. Taylor Thompson does a good job getting into the backfield and end Margus Hunt can help out. Nose guard Marquis Frazier is also getting better with time. Ja’Gared Davis and Taylor Reed will have to make a lot of plays as the two returning linebackers. Davis is a menace to opposing quarterbacks and Reed is a tackling machine. Getting production out of the new starters in the linebacker corps will be key. The secondary returns three starters, led by free safety Chris Banjo. Cornerback Richard Crawford is a fine corner and SMU hopes emerging sophomore Kenneth Acker can handle the other spot.

By C-USA standards, and June Jones standards, the SMU offense was a little disappointing last season. Quarterback Kyle Padron threw for 3,828 yards and 31 touchdowns. Those numbers are good enough, but this offense struggled to finish drives. The offense totaled 414.57 yards per game, but scored just 25.71 points per contest. That is a huge discrepancy. Padron will also have to live without big play receiver Aldrick Robinson. Robinson led the team with 1,301 receiving yards and 14 receiving touchdowns. Cole Beasley and Darius Johnson are both superb receivers and are ready to take over. Add Terrance Wilkerson and Keenan Holman to the mix and Coach Junes has the four receivers he needs for Padron to be effective.

The Bottom Line:
If the offense could finish drives and the defense could create more turnovers, SMU would have had a much better record in 2010. If they can do that this season, they will compete for a Conference USA crown. With all five starters, and Josh LeRibeus who missed last season due to academics, returning to the offensive line, there is good reason to believe the Mustangs can be more efficient on offense.

Projected Bowl: New Orleans Bowl

2010 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 138.79 (81st in nation, 7th in conference)
Passing Offense: 275.79 (21, 4)
Total Offense: 414.57 (33, 6)
Scoring Offense: 25.71 (74, 9)
Rushing Defense: 144.79 (53, 4)
Pass Defense: 208.07 (43, 3)
Total Defense: 352.86 (40, 2)
Scoring Defense: 25.64 (59, 2)
Turnover Margin: -.86 (111, 11)
Sacks: 2.14 (52, 4)
Sacks Allowed: 2.43 (86, 11)

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