Preview 2019: Previewing and looking ahead to the SMU Mustang season with what you need to know.
2018 Record: 5-7 overall, 4-4 in AAC
Head Coach: Sonny Dykes, 2nd year, 5-8
5. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE SMU OFFENSE
– The offense didn’t quite crank it up in the first year under Sonny Dykes. The passing game did its part putting up 271 yards per game, but the scoring wasn’t there in key games – really, SMU, 24 in the bowl-or-go-home loss to Tulsa? – but it wasn’t as explosive an attack as it needed to be. That’s about to change.
– Starting QB Ben Hicks left to be an Arkansas Razorback, and the Mustangs might have just upgraded with the arrival of Shane Buechele from Texas. He’ll have to battle a bit to assure his spot with 6-4, 220-pound sophomore William Brown one of a group of big passers who’ll get the opportunity. Helping the cause …
– The receivers are there to be fantastic. 93-catch all-star James Proche is back to be the No. 1 target on the outside, and he’s not alone with 52-catch former West Virginia Mountaineer Reggie Roberson a nice playmaker on the inside. With speedy former Notre Damer CJ Sanders in the mix, too, along with a solid group of tight ends, the Mustangs are loaded.
– The running game was mostly along for the ride – finishing dead last in the AAC on the ground with 115 yards per game – and now top rusher Braeden West is gone. There’s talent, though, with the senior combination of Ke’Mon Freeman and Xavier Jones good enough to handle the workload, and redshirt freshman TaMerik Williams will find his way in the rotation.
– The line struggled way too much in pass protection, but that’s partly because it was really, really young. Four underclassmen were starting by the end of the season, and now is when the payoff has to kick in. There’s not a lot of size, but 300-pounders Beau Morris at tackle and Alan Ali at guard are back on the left side, and 290-pound Hayden Howerton returns at center. There’s decent depth and backup options, too.