Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Bo Levi Mitchell may lap Justin Willis’ Freshman records

Perhaps no topic garners more discussion than this one. Mitchell versus Willis; Willis versus Mitchell.

Lost in the scuttlebutt of leading the Houston game for all but the last few seconds was an interesting statistic. Bo Levi Mitchell set the SMU freshman record for passing yards with 2,047 (with four games to play). He will almost certainly break the SMU freshman total offense record of 2,401 this week. Further, Mitchell has 21 passing touchdowns (22 total touchdowns) and has four games to play; Willis had 26 passing touchdowns (29 total touchdowns) his freshman year (lest we forget he sat a game).

Not so long ago, SMU ran this ad for a kid that scored 29 touchdowns.

Reminder: Bo Levi Mitchell is a TRUE freshman.

Barring injury (knock on wood), Mitchell will likely beat all of Willis’ freshman records. That includes interceptions, of course. Assuming Mitchell starts 12 games in 2009, he will obliterate all of Willis' career records as well.

Here is an interesting thought: the offense appears to be coming around somewhat; the last four games, SMU has averaged 28 points per game. Assume that SMU adds a field goal to that average over the next four weeks. SMU would then average as many points per game as it did in 2006.

The difference between 2006 and 2008, of course, is wins. The difference, of course, is a lousy start and a lousy defense. In 2006, SMU probably had the best defense it has had in 20 years and it still gave up points in bunches. Make no mistake-in the future, SMU will only go as far as its defense takes it.

So what does it mean? This is not an attempt to say that June Jones was right to start Bo Levi Mitchell. I think that decision was wrong. Nothing I have written above changes that. Mitchell played too early; he struggled; they tried to compensate by dumbing the offense down and made matters worse. Now, it appears he is starting to get it. But it does give you hope for the future. Next season, there will be an offense in place that will likely be better than any offense we have seen in 20 years. I think you have to be optimistic about that.

Now if we can just get a defense that only gives up 300 yards a game....

Friday, October 17, 2008

My review

Dammit. Some people noticed I have blogged twice in the last month. Maybe that will get me to do it again. Or not. Or something.

Anyway, Tulsa was at Ford Stadium last week. Here is my review:

The first song was Leonard Cohen's "I'm your man." Then he went straight into Sinatra's "I've Got the World on a String." Wait. YOU wanted a review of the game? Sorry, dude. Wife dragged me to Michael Buble' for her Birthday. Going to see Michael Buble is not gay; going to Michael Buble for the second time in 9 months is gay.

A good friend provided constant updates via text message and for a moment, I was afraid I would have to avoid all future SMU games, because I thought my absence was going to lead to an SMU victory. Unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be. By all accounts, however, there was improvement and a complete game was played on both sides of the ball.

Let's just keep it up Saturday against Houston.

My favorite comment from the stream of text messages was my own-"Hey, I am at the Michael Buble concert, is Houston in town?, because all the Cougars are here!"

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Keith Hernandez

Listening to the SMU-UCF game, I realized what this season was about. June Jones decided to pull a "Keith Hernandez."

When a person seems to do something completely off the wall and/or completely outrageous for no other reason than he or she is famous and feels he can get away with it or not face repercussions from it, Simmons will say he is having an "I'm Keith Hernandez Moment". The reference comes from the famous Seinfeld episode where Keith Hernandez, on a date with Elaine, tries to convince himself to kiss Elaine by reciting (in his head), "Wait a second - I'm Keith Hernandez!" The most commonly used example of an athlete in an "I'm Keith Hernandez" Moment is Reggie Bush's ill-advised lateral against Texas in the 2006 Rose Bowl.

You see, June Jones walked onto the Hilltop and looked at the QB situation and decided he didn't like what he saw. He had a pretty good QB in Justin Willis whose strengths were not suited to June Jones' offense. Sure, he could make do with what he had and implement his offense over time, but, hey, he's June Jones. So he defied all logic and decided that a true freshman could come in, not participate in the Spring, learn a new system and start for SMU. Of course it is going to work. He's June Jones.

Well, of course it isn't working. Bo Levi Mitchell is a true freshman. He didn't participate in Spring Practice. He is learning a new system. The odds of this working were 1 in a 1,000.

Well, it isn't Mitchell's fault. He should not have been put in this position. June Jones should have known better. June Jones probably did know better.

One of the things SMU fans have craved is accountability. They want someone to take responsibility for the 20 years of losing. They want someone to admit the last 20 years have been a series of mistakes. That carries itself to every decision that is ever made about SMU football, from those made on the field to those made in the AD's office. SMU fans never get that satisfaction.

And here is another instance where that admission is not going to be made. Nor should it. There is nothing that can be said or done that is going to change the way the season is going. Sure, Willis or Turner or somebody else could be named the starter tomorrow, but what will that accomplish? We will be int he same spot next season. Let Mitchell play; let him figure it out. If he does, then all the better. If he doesn't, it is an open competition in the Spring. Fine. And let's be honest, we all recognize this team wasn't going to be very good no matter who was the QB: the defense is terrible and the best player at his position is the kicker. If the offense worked perfectly, maybe, just maybe, the team could win enough shootouts to eek into bowl eligibility. But that, I think we can see, was not and is not going to happen.

Somebody on ponyfans wondered why other schools can bring in a new coach and turn things around immediately and SMU can't seem to do it. I will give you three reasons. First, and most importantly, past academic restrictions really hurt the overall talent level of the team. Hopefully those issues have been resolved. The hiring of June Jones suggests it has as he wouldn't come if he had to deal with the BS his predecessors have. Second, SMU has kept coaches around too long. Five years is enough and in some cases, too long. After Bennett's winless season, recruiting took a nosedive and enthusiasm dropped off dramatically. Any objective observer would have told you the football team was going to struggle (especially the defense) after Bennett's 6-6 season and the graduation of probably the three best defensive linemen SMU has had in 20 years. Third, Cavan and Bennett were idiots.