Depth Chart |
It's hard to preach patience when teams like UCF, Tulsa, and
UTEP go from zero to contender in a season, but SMU has slowly been
building under head coach Phil Bennett over the last four years and
should finally be ready to emerge as a legitimate threat.
He has had a team with no experience, he has had one with no
talent, and he has had one with an ugly combination of the two.
Now this is his program and he has to hope he has created a team that
can turn things around after one winning season in the last 20 years. It's also
his best team yet.
Last year, the Mustangs pulled out of a nosedive to win the final
three games of the season beating bowl bound Houston and ruining UTEP's Conference USA title hopes. That proved once and for all that
SMU really can become a player in the Conference USA race. It was
the only team to beat TCU, and four of its six losses came by seven
points or fewer. It's time for all those close losses to turn into
Head coach: Phil Bennett
5th year: 11-35
Returning Lettermen: 42
Lettermen Lost: 14
Ten Best SMU Players
1. RB DeMyron Martin, Soph.
2. SS Joe Sturdivant, Sr.
3. DT Adrian Haywood, Sr.
4. DE Justin Rogers, Sr.
5. WR Bobby Chase, Sr.
6. TE Ryan Kennedy, Sr.
7. LB Wilton McCray, Jr.
8. TE Vincent Chase, Soph.
9. C Ben Poynter, Jr.
10. DE Cory Muse, Jr.
at Texas Tech
at North Texas
Sam Houston State
at East Carolina
2005 Record: 5-6
2005 predicted wins
Baylor L 28-23
TCU W 21-10
at Texas A&M L 66-8
Tulane L 31-10
at Marshall L 16-13 OT
at UAB W 27-22
at Tulsa L 20-13
Rice W 27-7
at Houston W 29-24
UTEP W 40-27
There will be an
interesting mix of fast, talented young players, a lot of inexperience,
and good building blocks. Bobby Chase leads a deep and experienced
receiving corps, DeMyron Martin is one of the league's best backs
heading a very fast, very good backfield, and the starting five up front
should be fine. However, there's no experience whatsoever at quarterback
and absolutely no developed depth on the line.
The attack struggled throughout last season and was never consistent.
Now it has various options in its spread formation with several pieces
looking to find time in different formations to adapt and adjust on the
fly. For a team that has averaged 17.7 points per game over the last 90
outings scoring 14 of fewer in 43 of them, any pop and explosion will be
The offense might have been bad throughout last year, but the defense
saved the day time and again keeping the team in several games.
There are lots and lots of speed in the back seven, but little experience
outside of safety Joe Studivant and linebacker Wilton McCray. The line
will be fantastic with Adrian Haywood and Justin Rogers among the best
in the conference.
Outside of the conference-opening loss to Tulane, SMU had a shot at
winning each of the three league losses last year. For Bennett and his
program, it's time for some good breaks to come their way. More
importantly, it's time for the team to be good enough to make it's own
Schedule: If SMU's dream is to win the West, it has a decent enough
schedule to do it with Houston and Tulsa coming to Dallas and missing
UCF and Southern Miss from the East. The key will be getting off to a
hot conference start with road trips to Tulane and UTEP that might
make-or-break division title hopes. The non-conference schedule is nice
and fluffy after the opening day game at North Texas with Sun Belters
North Texas and Arkansas State along with Sam Houston State.
Offensive Player: Sophomore RB DeMyron Martin. Martin exploded at times
throughout his true freshman season ripping up TCU, East Carolina, Rice
and UTEP, but he was held in check by Tulane and Marshall. He's a strong
workhorse who'll be a 20-carry back from the start and a 1,200-yard
runner if he can stay healthy.
Defensive Player: Senior SS Joe Sturdivant. The leader of the
secondary didn't just lead the team in tackles last season, he led the
team in tackles with 33 more than the number two man. He's like a free
safety when the ball is in the air, and he hits like a linebacker.
to a successful season: Redshirt freshman QB Justin Willis. The only
SMU quarterback with even a lick of experience, Chris Phillips, is
playing fullback/tight end. Willis has a ton of talent and the type of
running ability to be a do-it-all playmaker, but he's going to need time
to figure out what he's doing. Teams are going to load up to stop
DeMyron Martin and the running game until Willis proves he can take
advantage of what's being given to him.
will be a success if ... SMU has a winning season. There are way too many holes to win
the West, but the schedule is nice enough to expect seven wins and a
possible bowl bid. At the very least, it would be a disaster if this is
another losing season.
Sept. 30 at Tulane. The Green Wave only won two games last year, and
one of them was a 31-10 blasting at SMU for the only Conference USA
blowout loss the Mustangs suffered. It's the league opener this year for
SMU and will be a must win with a trip to UTEP coming up the following
The Last Time SMU…
- Fourth quarter scoring: Opponents 110 - SMU 60
- Penalties: SMU 76 for 660 yards - Opponents 57 for 502 yards
- Field goals: SMU 18 of 22 - Opponents 12 of 23
…played in a bowl game…1984 (Aloha Bowl vs. Notre Dame)
…missed a bowl game…2005
…pitched a shutout…1998 (Hawaii)
…was shutout…2004 (Fresno State)
…scored 50 points…1999 (Northridge State)
…won a conference title…1984 (share, SWC)
…had a 3,000-yard passer…1978 (Mike Ford)
…had a 1,000-yard rusher…2003 (Keylon Kincade)
…had a 1,000-yard receiver…1978 (Emanuel Tolbert)
…had a first-round draft choice…1986 (DB Rod Jones and RB Reggie Dupard)