2009 CFN SMU Preview |
2009 SMU Offense
2009 SMU Depth
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Head coach: June Jones
2md year: 1-11
11th year overall: 77-52
Off. 23, Def. 27, ST 1
Lettermen Lost: 22
Ten Best SMU Players
1. WR Emmanuel
2. WR Aldrick Robinson, Jr.
3. LB Youri
4. QB Bo Levi Mitchell, Soph.
5. LB Pete Fleps,
6. C Mitch Enright, Sr.
7. CB Bryan McCann, Sr.
8. LT Kelvin Beachum, Soph.
9. WR Cole Beasley, Soph.
DE Taylor Thompson, Soph.
CFN Prediction: 3-9
9/12 at UAB
9/19 at Washington St
9/26 OPEN DATE
10/3 at TCU
10/10 East Carolina
10/24 at Houston
10/31 at Tulsa
11/21 at Marshall
CFN Prediction: 3-9
8/29 at Rice L
9/6 Texas State W
9/13 at Texas Tech L 43-7
9/20 TCU L 48-7
9/27 at Tulane L 34-27
10/4 at UCF L 31-17
10/11 Tulsa L 37-31
10/18 Houston L 44-38
10/25 at Navy L 34-7
11/1 OPEN DATE
11/8 Memphis L 31-26
11/15 at UTEP L 36-10
11/22 OPEN DATE
11/29 Southern Miss L 28-12
Did you really expect a miracle in June Jones’ first season on the
The coach may indeed prove to be a miracle worker, but
this is a process that’s going to take time. Jones had to break things
down before building them back up again. From the moment he chose true
freshman Bo Levi Mitchell to be his quarterback over veteran Justin
Willis, you just knew 2008 would be used as a 12-game seminar. The
players were asked to learn new systems and terminology. The staff got a
better idea of what it inherited. And the community got its first
glimpse of the future. Rather than wins and losses, success was measured
in ways that were best gauged by watching film and talking to the
coaches. Sure, 4-8 would’ve looked much better than 1-11, but most of
all, Jones and his assistants wanted to know that the kids were adopting
their preachings on and off the field. Those not toeing the line would
suffer the consequences in the form of suspensions, dismissals, and
reduced playing time.
Now that the storm of 2008 has passed, SMU
and its fans are approaching the 2009 season with eager curiosity,
wondering what the second chapter will reveal. After using so many
underclassmen and first-year players last fall, the hope is that the
Mustangs will be in a better position to compete and snap the trend of
back-to-back one-win campaigns. Fans of the program know something about
patience, which will need to be exercised a little longer before Jones’
presence really begins to pay tangible dividends.
watch for on offense: A
better-oiled machine. No, this is not a finished product, but after
breaking in a true freshman quarterback and installing a completely new
system, a quantum leap is expected on offense. The Mustangs took a while
to get going in the run-and-shoot last year, but gradually showed signs
of knowing where they belonged on the field. With all of the skill
position players back and a long offseason to digest the system, this
attack will look more like a June Jones production than a year ago.
What to watch for on defense: The adoption of the 3-4
defense. Considering the program’s strength at linebacker and problems
up front, the shift makes a lot of sense. Hey, the Mustangs are still
going to get bullied on running downs, but at least they’ll be fielding
a more athletic unit that can track down opponents and make more plays
behind the line of scrimmage. While SMU is going to give up points and
yards, if it can create more turnovers and get to the quarterback, the
situation won’t seem so dire.
This team will be far better if
… it grows up. Beyond the obvious need to execute better on both
sides of the ball, the Mustangs have to mature as a program, especially
in close games. They went toe-to-toe with more talented squads, like
Tulsa and Houston, yet faded down the stretch. Turning the corner will
require changing the culture of losing that permeates through the
school, and learning how to win games in the final 15 minutes.
The Schedule: For anyone else, the first month of the season would be
a walk in the park playing Stephen F. Austin, at UAB, and at Washington
State, but things gets really nasty in a big hurry. The
Mustangs have to go on the road to play TCU from the Mountain West and
go away for back-to-back road games against Houston and Tulsa. There are
winnable home games against Tulane, Rice, and UTEP, and the Mustangs
have to win all three. One of the big problems is the lack of a week
off after September 26th.
Best Offensive Player:
Senior WR Emmanuel Sanders. This is a complete toss-up with junior WR
Aldrick Robinson, who also has an argument for this spot. Sanders rates
a slight edge because he’s the more polished overall receiver, and will
be moonlighting in the secondary this season. One of the best
pass-catchers to ever play for the program, he enters his final season
with 187 receptions for 2,452 yards and 27 touchdowns. He’s a
gamebreaker with a future on Sundays.
Best Defensive Player: Junior LB Youri Yenga.
After quietly having a great year at defensive end, Yenga is being moved
back a level, where his speed is less likely to be halted by a 290-pound
tackle. As a sophomore, he flashed outstanding pass-rushing skills,
making 73 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, and 6.5 sacks. He’ll still be
blazing paths to the quarterback in 2009, but instead of having a hand
in the dirt, he’ll be a stand-up outside linebacker, blitzing on a
player to a successful season:
Sophomore QB Bo Levi Mitchell. This is a June Jones team, so naturally,
success is tied closely to the play of the quarterback. Mitchell endured
a baptism under fire as a rookie, making a ton of mistakes, but learning
just as many lessons. If he can make a quantum leap from 2008 and make
the most of a talented receiving corps, the rest of the team is likely
to follow his lead.
The season will be a success if
... SMU turns a few of last year’s close calls into wins. The Mustangs
nearly upset Tulane, Tulsa, Houston, and Memphis, losing all four by a
touchdown or less. If they’re truly moving down the right path, a couple
of those close calls will wind up in the win column. The program is a
year away from even thinking about the postseason, but after winning one
game in each of the last two seasons, a 3-9 mark will qualify as a
Sept. 12 at UAB. The opener with Stephen F. Austin won’t
uncover much about the Mustangs offseason progress. The trip to
Birmingham, however, will. SMU has been especially abysmal on the road,
losing 15 in-a-row dating back to the middle of 2006. Heck, the program
has also lost 17 straight league games, so a win here would end two ugly
streaks, while providing an injection of momentum.
- Rushing yards: Opponents 2,707 - SMU 497
Rushing TDs: Opponents 24 - SMU 3
- Third down conversions: Opponents
98-of-175 (56%) - SMU 48-of-139 (35%)