Tuesday, July 15, 2008
2008 SMU football preview: Offense
If the offensive line picks up the protections and gels as a unit, then SMU’s offense should be explosive by the end of the season.
While Phil Steele has SMU pegged number 6 on his most improved list, it’s hard to believe that the Mustangs will be much better at offense. SMU averaged 170 yards rushing and 252 yards passing for a total of 422 total yards per game. QB Justin Willis accounted for 3643 total yards, an average of 303.58 yards per game. SMU had 31 turnovers in 2007, 19 INT’s and 12 fumbles. Most of SMU’s major playmakers return including Willis, WR Emmanuel Sanders, RB James Mapps (550 yards rushing), RB DeMyron Martin (491 yards rushing), and WR Aldrick Robinson whom the new coaches are high on according Dave Campbell’s Texas Football. With the arrival of June Jones, the offense should be a little more efficient, and the numbers will increase, especially the passing yardage.
Much of the attention in fall camp will be around who will start at QB. While Willis is a returning 2 year starter, he was suspended in the spring for undisclosed reasons leaving SMU with one scholarship QB for spring drills, Logan Turner (Springtown, TX). Turner should have an edge in knowing the offense when practices start in August. Willis will return for the fall, and don’t count him out. Joining those two will be freshmen QB’s Braden Smith (Rockwall, TX) and Bo Levi Mitchell (Katy, TX). Mitchell was headed to Hawaii to play for Coach Jones before switching to SMU after Jones took its Head Coach position.
SMU returns WR Emmanuel Sanders and potential breakout player (see Texas Football) Aldrick Robinson. The Mustangs also return experienced WR Zach Zimmerman. The Mustangs need the help of multiple receivers to operate out of the Run and Shoot Offense, so expect extensive play from several younger receivers. Nevertheless, Sanders should cross the 1000 yard mark if he stays healthy as he had 889 yards a year ago.
If the Mustangs return the skill players to build the Run and Shoot system in Dallas, their biggest weakness would be the offensive line. And, the O Line is critical if the Run and Shoot is to be effective. Pass protection is a must. One of the ways defenses defend the Run and Shoot is by getting to the QB and either making him hurry his passes or getting a sack. SMU is slated to return four starters on the offensive line; however, one was actually a Tight End last year. If the line, which will be lead by Junior Mitch Enright (Southlake, TX), picks up the protections and gels as a unit, then SMU’s offense should be explosive by the end of the season.
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