#65 Southern Methodist Football 2012 Preview

Southern Methodist Mustangs

2012 Overall Rank: #65
#4 Conference USA
Southern Methodist College Football 2012 Team Preview
Southern Methodist Team Page


Head coach June Jones has begun to resurrect a program that was once at the top of the college football world in the 1970s and 1980s.  After receiving the dreaded “death penalty” from the NCAA, SMU has not been able to really put a contender on the field due to sanctions and scholarship losses.  After Jones left a successful gig at Hawaii to take over the Mustangs, the program has shown signs of life.  They put together a winning season last year and put up some solid numbers.  Jones was initially questioned for his decision to take the job, but now it appears he is the right man to lead this team back to prominence.  They appear to be poised to make a charge for the Conference USA title.  

2011 Record: (8-5, 5-3)
2011 Bowl: BBVA Compass Bowl (W 28-6)
Coach: June Jones (24-28 at SMU, 100-69 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Jason Phillips
Defensive Coordinator: Tom Mason

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Zach Line, RB, 1,224 yards
Passing: Kyle Padron, QB, 152 yards
Receiving: Darius Johnson, WR, 1,118 yards
Tackles: Taylor Reed, LB, 101
Sacks: Ja’Gared Davis, LB, 5.5
Interceptions: Ja’Gared Davis, LB, 2

Other Key Returnees: WR Jeremy Johnson, DL Torlan Pittman, DL Stephon Sanders, K Matt Stone

Key Losses: QB J.J. McDermott, DL Taylor Thompson, DB Chris Banjo, WR Cole Beasley


SMU was solid in a lot of areas, though not particularly great in anything.  They did excel in the passing game at 274.85 yards per game.  That was good for third best in the conference.  Quarterback J.J. McDermott could sling it.  With his departure, Jones will have to find a viable replacement so the passing game does not miss a beat.  Senior Kyle Padron seems like the logical choice.  He played sparingly last year.  The Mustangs greatest strength was on defense.  They were stout against the run, and ended up second in Conference USA in total defense.  In a division with high flying Houston, that is impressive.  The defense was also able to put pressure on the opposing quarterback.  They averaged over two and a half sacks per game.

The biggest problem for SMU last season was their turnovers.  They were dead last in Division I in turnover margin.  Opposing teams were greater than one turnover better per game than the Mustangs.  As productive as McDermott was through the air, he also threw 16 interceptions to go with his 17 touchdowns.  That just will not cut it going against strong defenses like Texas A&M and Southern Mississippi.  They also had trouble churning up yards on the ground.  They only mustered 114 yards per game, one of the worst in the league.  In that same regard, the offensive line could not do much to stop pass rushers either.  They gave up over two sacks per game.  Special teams were also an issue.  They were amongst the bottom teams in the conference in punting and kick returns.

The Bottom Line:
SMU has a real shot to do some damage in the Conference USA this coming season.  They have a strong defensive prowess and can apply pressure to fluster offenses.  The other side of the ball will really need to improve if they want to win ball games.  The first step will be to find their new quarterback.  Jones has to like the experience he has on his roster in Kyle Padron, but he might find a better option in camp.  Their schedule sets up for them to win at least eight games again as long as their trajectory keeps moving upward.  Jones has done remarkable things with this team in a short time.  If he can navigate around a potent Houston club, watch for the Mustangs to compete for the Conference USA West Division title.

Projected Bowl: Beef O' Brady's Bowl

2011 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 113.77 (101st in nation, 10th in conference)
Passing Offense: 274.85 (24, 3)
Total Offense: 388.62 (58, 6)
Scoring Offense: 25.85 (69, 7)
Rushing Defense: 118.31 (23, 2)
Pass Defense: 221.69 (55, 4)
Total Defense: 340.00 (27, 2)
Scoring Defense: 23.08 (40, 4)
Turnover Margin: -1.23 (120, 12)
Sacks: 2.54 (21, 1)
Sacks Allowed: 2.38 (87, 10)


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