This cross town rival has been in favor of TCU the past few years, but the addition of former Hawai’i head coach, June Jones, now in town this could be an exciting team. Last year the Mustangs only won one game, but there is a buzz going around the Dallas area with Jones bringing his high octane offense to the school. Jones came to SMU looking for a challenge and to a school that would support the team, in Hawaii he had only a $50,000 recruiting budget and in SMU located in a state loaded with talent and a recruiting budget ten times of that at $500,000 and not to mentione a two million dollar a year salary. The Mustangs have had only one winning season since they were given the death penalty in 1987.
Offense: Expect June Jones to bring the run-n-shoot offense that was wildly successful in Hawai’i to Southern Methodist. The only experienced quarterback on the team is Justin Willis but Willis was suspended during spring ball and did not get a chance to have any live reps with coaching supervision to learn the offense. “As of now the competition is wide open,” according to Jones and during spring practice redshirt freshman Logan Turner took the extra reps and came out of spring as the first-team quarterback. Look for these two to compete for the starting job during fall camp, a darkhorse candidate could be freshmen Bo Levi Mitchell who had committed to Jones at Hawaii but he most likely will be the third quarterback.
Running game what running game! June Jones rarely runs the ball but when he did in Hawai’i he they averaged 5.7 yards per carry. The running game in his system is used for more of catching short passes and then the occasion run. The top backs this year will be DeMyron Martin and Chris Butler who had the best spring picking up the offense.
Wide receivers need to be plentiful for the run and shoot to be effective. Jones likes to go six deep which is something SMU does not have yet, well at least in terms of talent. The only proven receiver is junior Emmanuel Sanders who caught 74 passes for 889 yards in 2007. The most talented receiver is sophomore Aldrick Robinson who Jones loved during the spring workouts, but playing time will go to anyone who can pick up the offense and make the plays. A question to ponder this fall is if Jones will force the offense to always have four and five wide sets, or will he tone it down at times with using more two and three wide out sets with multiple backs.
Defense: They do return seven starters on defense, but with the new staff that really does not matter all that much or guarantee anything to those players. The defense was terrible last year by giving up 40 points per game and was one of the worst in all of division one. The defensive line that was hurt by injuries last year could end up being the strength of this defensive unit and they do return all four starters.
Linebackers return just one starter with Senior Will Bonilla and gives the Mustangs a solid presence and leadership from the strong side. The most impressive linebacker in the spring was clearly sophomore Justin Smart who did play in six games as a freshman who looks to break out this upcoming year.
Junior Bryan McCann and sophomore Derrius Bell are the two returning defensive backs and while they are returning players with significant time they were average at best. However McCann has impressed coaches the past few months and some believe he has a chance to make it to the NFL. If McCann can reach that potential then he could lock down the opposing teams top wide out.
Early Prediction: While June Jones should be able to out scheme coaches and get a few more wins, but SMU does not have the talent to be TCU. The Horned Frogs will win fairly easily.