Season Preview: Quarterbacks

How has Kyle Padron prepared for this season? Find out in the first of a series of position-by-postion previews for 2011.

Expectations are high this season for Kyle Padron.

Last season the quarterback set SMU records in passing yards (3,828), total yards (4,072), touchdowns (31), completions (302) and attempts (508), and passed for 300 yards in consecutive games on two occasions. But to those 31 touchdowns, he threw 14 interceptions and he'll tell you that he could have done better and that he left too many points on the field.

But he'll also tell you that he's grown a lot during this offseason. Physically, he's gotten bigger, weighing in at 6-foot-4, 233 lbs. He put in work this summer, working out five days a week on a program designed by strength coach Mel deLaura, which involved lots of conditioning, running and lifting, plus 7-on-7s three or four times a week.

He'll also tell you that he has his mind right. Now a junior, Padron, who was thrown into the starting quarterback job in the middle of his freshman year, has matured and has an understanding of what his coaches are asking him to do.

"He has a better grasp of the concepts," assistant head coach/quarterbacks coach Dan Morrison said. "He works faster and he understands things on the other side [of the ball] as well.

"Seeing it last year maybe a split-second too late, that's how you learn."

Said Padron: "I'm more confident this year. I'm more confident in my reads pre-snap and my post-snap decisions. And it helps having experienced receivers with Cole (Beasley), Terrance (Wilkerson) and Darius (Johnson) on the outside.

"Having an experienced offensive line, experienced receivers and then Zach Line in the backfield takes a lot of pressure off of me."

Padron will be backed up by senior J.J. McDermott. Redshirt freshman Steve Kaiser and true freshman Conner Preston, who enrolled at SMU in January, will also be in the rotation.

"We learn from each other in the meeting rooms and then compete on the field," Padron said. "It's a healthy competition. We're all trying to get on the field. Four guys working pretty hard."

Padron said the biggest improvement he's made heading into this season is understanding what's happening on the other side of the ball. He spent a lot of time this summer learning the ins and outs of the defense.

"Just where they line up and getting a feel for what kind of stunts they're going to do," he said.

Additionally, his personal goals for the year are to get his team into better situations to win games, not turn the ball over as much and do a better job of managing the clock at the end of the game.

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