Reflecting on SMU’s Bowl Game

Posted by    |    January 4th, 2011 at 1:54 pm

I didn’t write a preview for the SMU-Army game because it would have been boring, and I didn’t write a review immediately after the game because I was pissed.  I have finally had the urge to discuss the game, and I wanted to do it by writing out the first thing that came to mind.  None of this article has been planned out (or really thought out), so I will dub this my first ever mouth-diarrhea game reflection.

In my preview [which I didn’t write] I would have said- “don’t worry about it all you SMU fans…Army can’t defend at all, and the only think they can do on offense is run it…which is what SMU defends against the best.”  I was right, except I obviously missed a few caveats.

First: Even when an opponent can’t defend, you can still make them look good by shooting yourself in the foot, then finding your other foot and shooting that one too.

Second:  Even when your opponent can only run the ball, and that is your defense’s strength, if your offense blows it is all for naught.

That being said, this loss was by no means the defense’s fault.  In fact, in the first half the defense only let in nine points and in the second half the defense let it zero.  I can honestly say that I was proud of the defense, and they had one of their best showings of the season. This is where I get mean, though, so cover your childrens’ ears if they like the SMU offense.

Kyle Padron was single-handedly responsible for almost half of Army’s points and for botching three offensive drives.  Our kicker (who is usually reliable) missed one easy field goal and one pretty difficult one.  As you can probably tell, It was a pretty frustrating game for me to watch as the SMU offense summed up its season in one well-executed failure of a half.

What is also frustrating is that June Jones seems to waffle back and forth between realizing that he needs a more balanced attack to be successful (please reference the 4th quarter touchdown drive) and saying “screw it, lets pass it 8 times in a row even though that clearly isn’t working.” (please reference the 2nd quarter).  Zach Line is one of the most reliable rushers SMU has ever had.  Not as talented as many others, but that is not the point.  The play action and the draw play are how SMU has successfully moved the ball this season because of Line’s ability to consistently get yards.  Nevertheless, there are stretches in games, often lasting quarters, or even entire halves, where the play calling goes completely away from that.

The first successful drive of the game, for example, had four rushing attempts and four pass attempts.  Even though the field goal was missed, it was clear that this was the way to move the ball against Army because it kept their defense from guessing and they couldn’t jump Kyle Padron’s passes.  More on this in a minute.

The immediate next drive by SMU was one rush attempt, then five consecutive passes, the last one being an interception.  Now lets get something straight…this may work with a quarterback who moves his eyes and doesn’t stare down one receiver for the entire play from the beginning of every play to the end of every play.  Kyle Padron is not that quarterback.  Unless June finds a qb who can hide his intentions better, five-or eight-passes in a row is not the way to move the ball down the field.

That was all very negative, I agree.  Making to a conference championship then losing to a pretty bad team who hasn’t beaten anybody even mediocre can do that to a man.  However, there are reasons to be extremely optimistic for next season.  I foresee SMU winning C-USA next year, and continuing to improve.  Next year’s preview will be coming soon, and you will like what you hear.

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