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What We Think We Know | SMU Mustangs

Stats Schedule
OFFENSE 9/5 @ Texas Tech
Rushing | 109.77 (103) 9/11 UAB
Passing | 282.00 (15) 9/18 Washington St.
Total | 391.77 (51) 9/24 TCU
Scoring | 29.23 (45) 10/2 @ Rice
9/9 Tulsa
DEFENSE 9/16 @ Navy
Rushing | 166.69 (88) 9/23 Houston
Passing | 230.38 (79) 9/30 @ Tulane
Total | 397.08 (84) 11/6 @ UTEP
Scoring | 27.62 (80) 11/20 Marshall
TO Margin | 0.15 (51) @ East Carolina

What We Know | The Mustangs are coming off a really good season, after going 1-11 in 2008 to 8-5 in 2009. I think June Jones is part miracle worker.  Quarterback Kyle Padron returns for the Ponies and he helped lead a SMU offense to 15th in the nation in passing offense last year in the NCAA. The biggest problem for SMU on offense is that they're replacing Emanuel Sanders, the Mustangs' top pass-catching threat last year and one damn fine receiver.  Aldrick Robinson is expected to pick up where Sanders left off, but Red Raider fans know what it's like replacing a player that was a huge part of the team's offensive production. It's typical for a team to be held back by one side of the ball, offense or defense, and that was the case for SMU. The defense ranked 84th in the nation overall last year, was 88th against the run and 79th against the pass. Despite the overall problems with the defense, the 2009 season was pretty spectacular considering the recent history with SMU.

What Can We Expect | It's not a stretch to think that the Texas Tech cornerbacks and safeties will get a healthy workout this game. Cornerbacks Will Ford, D.J. Johnson, Jarvis Phillips and Tre' Porter will be tested early and often against SMU. The safeties will also be tested early and often as June Jones offense is predicated more on getting the ball down the field.  Cody Davis and Franklin Mitchem better be ready. I think a big part of the secondary's success will be dependent on whether or not the Texas Tech pass rush can get pressure on Padron.  Tuberville has preached all spring and fall practices that he wants to put pressure on the defense from all over the field and there's no doubt that I'm truly interested in the, hopefully, new and improved defense. Texas Tech fans aren't sure what they're going to get out of the defensive line, other than DT Colby Whitlock. We've seen some of the defensive line in bits and pieces during the spring game, but not the entire unit as a whole.  If we're being honest, the defense will be tested. Considering the struggles that SMU has had defensively, I think it's safe to expect that you'll see a Texas Tech offense try and put pressure on SMU early and often to help out a relatively unproven defensive front five and secondary.

SMU Week
MONDAY Five Questions
TUESDAY What We Think We Know
WEDNESDAY Keys to the Game
THURSDAY Reasons for Concern and Optimism
FRIDAY Prediction Time

Players I Think You Should Watch | It's hard not to spotlight the play of QB Kyle Padron. In only 7 games last year, Padron completed 67.2% of his passes with 9.6 yards per attempt, 10 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. This is not a dink-and-dump offense, but rather an offense that gets the ball down the field. Padron finished with a quarterback rating of 159.92 and averaged 274.6 yards per game passing. And just to express how good Padron was last year, take a look at SMU's bowl game against Nevada: 32/41 (78.0%) | 460 Yards | 11.2 Yards/Attempt | 0 INT | 2 TD | 188.40 Rating.  That's pretty good. Padron can play.

Defensively, you can still expect to see quite a bit of FS Chris Banjo roaming centerfield in the secondary and he's a proven commodity, but you should certainly pay attention to DE Margus Hunt, a 6-8/270 defensive end from Estonia (I think the Texas Tech players have mentioned him) who is big and athletic (I think he's some sort of discus champion).  But this isn't Phil Taylor huge (big but can't play), this is a strong, athletic defensive end.  And he's only a sophomore.  We should find out pretty quickly if LT LaAdrian Waddle is going to be ready to play this year.