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SMU Football Preview
by Matt Fargo - 08/12/2008
No. 98 SMU Mustangs
2007 Record ~ 1-11 SU ~ 4-8 ATS
Starters Returning ~ Offense (6) Defense (6)
Phil Bennett had his Mustangs going in the right direction as he went from zero wins in 2003 to four wins followed by five wins and then six wins in 2006. A 1-11 season last year did him in however and in comes former Hawaii coach and offensive guru June Jones to lead SMU. Many seem to hopping on his bandwagon here but the Mustangs are far away from contending in C-USA let alone from reaching a bowl game. Give him time to recruit and SMU could once again become a national force.
The Mustangs were an above average team offensively last season and things could be better if the pieces are found to run Jonesâ€™ offense. Quarterback is obviously the most important factor and losing starter Justin Willis in the spring for disciplinary reasons was tough but he was reinstated. He is behind the eight ball now and redshirt freshman Logan Turner has looked good. The offensive line returns only two starters while two other starters are pegged to be freshmen. Running back DeMyron Martin is a solid ball carrier.
Defensively is where things may not be able to rebound so quickly. The Mustangs finished last season 117th in scoring defense, allowing 41 or more points seven times. Both passing defense and total defense finished 116th while rushing defense was not far behind at 99th. The good news is there is not much room to move down. Only three seniors are on the starting unit and only one is on the 2nd string. Experience is lacking and that could really hurt this team early on.
Four of the first six games are on the road including games at Texas Tech and Central Florida. One of the early home games is against Texas St. but the other is against TCU so a quick start to the year is not likely. The second half of the season begins with two home games but they are against Tulsa and Houston. The remaining road games are at Navy and UTEP, both of which are losses. Looking at the totals could be the way to go as SMU should score more and the defense is going to struggle to once again stop teams.