The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

Rating the mustangs

Run offense – F

There has to be a way to get the running game involved in the offense. Justin Willis’ scrambling for yardage does not count as an effective running game. (Does that sound familiar?) Willis had 88 yards rushing. DeMyron Martin and James Mapps had three yards apiece. Martin needs to start consistently showing the flashes of brilliance that were on display in the 2005 TCU game. Otherwise, that is all he will be known for – one game from two years ago. Balance is needed in SMU’s offense to keep defenses honest. An ineffective running game does not accomplish that.

Pass offense – D-

SMU is going to win by outscoring other teams. This puts a lot of pressure on the passing game with little room for error. The fact that SMU didn’t put any points on the board until there was less than four minutes left in the second quarter constitutes a failure. There were way too many three and outs in the first quarter, something that consistently puts the Mustangs in a hole. One thing that became apparent was a flaw in the execution of the shotgun formation. The receivers and Willis never made it to their set points in the plays; instead, the major completions seemed to come on the fly. A shotgun-based offense should be more precise with the routes run.

Run defense – F

This was the first true test of SMU’s front line. Texas Tech and North Texas threw the ball a lot, but Arkansas State came in wanting to have a more balanced attack. And they did, with 250 yards rushing and 4 touchdowns on the ground. SMU’s red-zone futility continued as the Indians scored six touchdowns the seven times they were inside the 20-yard line. Arkansas State ran the ball at will against the defense. This makes SMU’s defensive issues even worse than everyone thought, because it means every position can be taken advantage of by opposing teams.

Pass defense – F

It’s getting hard to write this without repeating items from previous weeks. Again there was record output from the offense – this week was Arkansas State’s turn to rewrite the record books. The ball was equally spread amongst five Indian receivers for 266 yards on the day and a total offensive output of 516 yards. If head coach Phil Bennett does spend so much time working with the defense, then why does it consistently underperform week to week? The secondary was not noticeably better than it was in the first two games. At this point, all anyone can ask for is improvement, no matter how small.

Special Teams – C+

Nothing went horribly wrong, but it was not the best effort out of the special teams unit so far this season. The second PAT barely made it through the uprights because of a botched snap. Somehow kicker Thomas Morstead made it work. The kick return unit didn’t do anything outstanding. Teams are trying to keep the ball away from Jessie Henderson, which works sometimes. Arkansas State didn’t do too well with that, but they did gear their coverage to ensure no major returns from Henderson. SMU needs to figure out how to keep Henderson useful despite the opposing team’s focus on stopping him .

Coaches – F

This might be the game that costs Bennett his job. There have to be immediate improvements on the defensive side. Teams are salivating at the thought of facing SMU’s defense, which is incredibly ironic for a coach so defensive-minded. Offensive coordinator Rusty Burns must find a way to get his offense to score in the first quarter. Burns seems to use the first quarter as an in-game scouting period to find out what he can do with Willis against that particular defense. At this point, scripting the first 15 plays would probably be a good idea.

Overall – F

Bennett asked for an easier out-of-conference schedule so SMU wouldn’t be so beat up by the time conference play started. Arkansas State was one of those easier games. To lose by 17 is inexcusable and seriously calls into question the idea of SMU going to a bowl game. If SMU can’t beat a team from the Sun Belt Conference, then why should anyone believe it is going to win a game when play in Conference USA starts in two weeks? Things only get worse as SMU heads to Ft. Worth to play rival TCU, who is steaming after a 20-17 OT loss to Air Force.

Previous Games Overall

Texas Tech – D

North Texas – B

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