Profile of an Opponent:
- School: Southern Methodist University
- Website: SMUMustangs.com
- Mascot: Mustangs
- Location: Dallas, Texas
- Blogs: PonyFans.com; SMU Football Blog (not updated since January)
Conference: Conference USA
- 2007 Record: 0-11 (0-8)
- 2008 Prospectus: Sorta
Season Statisitics: (National Rank)
- Rushing Offense: 170.17 (42)
- Passing Offense: 252.08 (41)
- Passing Efficiency: 127.78 (56)
- Total Offense: 422.25 (37)
- Scoring Offense: 28.33 (54)
- Rushing Defense: 197.25 (99)
- Pass Defense: 301.42 (116)
- Pass Efficiency Defense: 138.36 (92)
- Total Defense: 498.67 (116)
- Scoring Defense: 39.75 (117)
- Turnover Margin: -0.75 (104)
- Sacks: 1.67 (88)
- Sacks Allowed: 2.50 (85)
Generally: A dismal 1-11 season in 2007 led to the firing of Phil Bennett and the hiring of June Jones. I suppose the most interesting thing, and I think that most Texas Tech fans can attest to this, is that the offense didn't need much help. The Mustangs were good to pretty good on offense, but it was the defense that absolutely failed them. SMU was 116 out of 119 in total defense last year, only behind UTEP, Rice and Minnesota (Umm, I had no idea that Rice and UTEP were also that bad on defense last year.). I don't know how much Jones is going to be able to change the defense, especially in such a short period of time (we Texas Tech fans know that this sort of thing takes time) so I wouldn't be surprised to see a similar result to last year.
Offense: Justin Willis returns, but I think it's safe to say that he's not on solid footing with June Jones. Willis was suspended early in the spring, but was reinstated by the end of may. I've always like Willis' game, thought he was the perfect type of quarterback at SMU - because he can't get yards a number of ways, he's creative and exciting. Willis was 13th in the nation in total offense in the country (303.58) and helped this offense score over 28 points a game. He's solid.
But perhaps SMU's biggest fault (and the same could be said about Texas Tech to an extent) is that SMU is 76th in the nation in time of possession, so a defense that struggles is on the field quite a bit (Texas Tech was 104th) and probably adds to the Mustang's woes.
Leading receiver Emmanuel Sanders returns for his junior year and was by far the Mustangs most productive receiver with 74 receptions for 889 yards and 9 touchdowns. Columbus Givens also returns and he caught 42 passes for 386 yards and 4 touchdowns. The rest of the returners don't have huge numbers.
Running back James Mapp also returns and although he didn't play much against Texas Tech (6 rushes for 27 yards) he ended up with 526 yards for the year. Keep in mind that Willis led the team in rushing with 699 yards and much like Texas Tech, SMU needs to get a little more from their running game, especially in terms of production of touchdowns.
Defense: SMU is awful on defense (again, as a Texas Tech fan, I'm talking from experience) and it doesn't look to get better this year. Statistically, SMU wasn't very good in any category and as I peruse their depth chart, this team is awfully young in some important positions.
On the defensive line, the Mustangs return two seniors, Patrick Handy (11 tackles) and Serge Elizee (22 tackles). The bad news is that the Mustangs are really young at defensive end, with 3 sophomores returning, Anthony Sowe (1 tackle), Jordan Johnson (10 tackles, 0.5 sacks), and Youri Yenga (27 tackles, 2.5 sacks), and 1 junior, Adrian Dizer. Not just a ton of production returning.
The linebacking corp is also young with 2 sophomores, Justin Smart (29 tackles) and Pete Fleps (10 tackles), and 1 senior, Will Bonilla (82 tackles). Again, as you can tell, there's just not a lot of production here, other than Bonilla and that would be worrisome.
The pass defense is in much of the same boat as the rush defense, of the 8 players listed on the Mustang depth chart only 3 are juniors, KJ Ellis (FS), Rock Dennis (SS) and Bryan McCann (CB), the rest are freshmen and sophomores. It's going to be tough for the Mustangs to defend the pass for the year.
As an aside, I should point out that the Mustangs return an incredible punter in Thomas Morstead who was 8th in the nation in yardage.
YouTube: I have no other reason to post this video other than the glimpses of the very cute Erin Hawksworth of WFAA's Channel 8:
SMU v. UNT Rivalry - Erin Hawksworth talks to fans (via dallassportsdude)
Okay, back to football.
There's over 10 minutes of footage from the SMU v. UTEP game last year and the first thing that you notice is the awful rush defense and passing defense. The SMU defense gives up big chunks of yards to the Miners. That's the biggest problem (there's a point about 2 minutes into the footage that the announcer calls the SMU defense rugged). This is a UTEP highlight video, but I think you get the point.
UTEP overtime win vs SMU (via vader519)
Surprisingly, there's not much video out there of the 2007 season and as a result, I give you Michael Crabtree highlights:
Michael Crabtree (via Laconic913)
What I Think: I've always had somewhat of a soft spot for SMU. I can't figure out why, but I do. I'd like to seem them succeed, just so long as it's not against Texas Tech. I think we should expect the same type of success that the Red Raiders are expecting against Eastern Washington. There's just not much there on defense and I just don't see how the Mustangs keep up, at least not this year. It's going to take some time for June Jones to get that program on track, but it's not going to happen in 2008.