To jog everyone's memory a little, Padron, who has been SMU's starting quarterback the past year-and-a-half and nearly threw for 4,000 yards in 2010 as a sophomore, threw back-to-back interceptions in the first two series of the Texas A&M game a couple of weeks ago.
Due to the turnovers, which the Aggies turned into touchdowns, coach June Jones benched Padron for the rest of the game, replacing him with senior backup, J.J. McDermott. McDermott went on to get his first-career start for the Mustangs the following week against UTEP and will do so again this weekend against Northwestern State.
As Padron jogged off the practice field Tuesday, he looked skeptical to talk to just three reporters.
The first thing that needed to be addressed was his emotions since the A&M game:
"It's out of my control," he said while taking a deep breath. "You know, it's frustrating not to be playing, but I don't think I'm in the wrong for being frustrated. Just like the other guys that aren't playing, they want to be on the field and I'm the same way.
"So I just come out here and try to compete. I'm gonna push J.J. and he's gonna push me. I'm just gonna try to get on the field, but if I don't, I'll support J.J. and be the best teammate I can be."
Last week when Jones named McDermott the starter, he said that both quarterbacks will play. However, Padron only got two chances against UTEP and both were designed keeps. He ran in for a 12-yard touchdown on his first play and was sacked for a loss of four yards on his second.
When asked if Padron's role now is to be a running quarterback, Jones said, "No."
When asked what Padron's role is, Jones said, "To play quarterback."
When asked what Padron needs to do to regain his starting spot, Jones said, "He just needs to keep getting better, more efficient. Winning determines whose the best quarterback. Quarterbacks are judged by winning the games…that's what they're judged by."
But if Padron only gets a few snaps a game and the only way he can become the starting quarterback again is to win, but he can't win games by not playing in them, how will he get his spot back?
"It's tough. I want to play," Padron said. "But I mean, right now is not the time. But I'm going to come out here every single day of practice and do my job.
"People are going to watch me, the way I act, so I gotta have a positive attitude and hopefully show my character through what's going on.
"I had a few bad throws at A&M. I've made many of those [throws] since I've been here and that night they got away from me. I'm not going to make excuses. I should have made those throws. At the end of the day, I didn't get it done and I'm coming out here [to practice] every single day trying to get better."
Padron has talent (averaged 273.4 yards per game in 2010, third-best in Conference USA). Physically, he's got the quarterback mold standing at 6-foot-4, 233 lbs. So is it all in his head?
"I really can't point that out," he said.
That's an issue. If he can't identify the problem, he can't solve the problem.
Padron has football aspirations beyond college and he still has time (he's a junior). He said Jones told him that facing this type of adversity comes with the territory of being a quarterback. So he has a lot of things he needs to work through before he can start, much less play, again.
But the positive thing about this situation is Padron is not spiraling into any sort of depression or taking on a woe-is-me attitude. He's one of the team's leaders and plans on keeping that position.
"I can't get out there and do anything on the field right now, but just out here at practice, I show my teammates I'm working," he said. "They know I'm working hard."
Another thing helping him get through this period is his belief in everything happens for a reason.
"My faith is keeping me pretty strong right now," he said. "I surround myself with good people. My family, my friends and the man upstairs…he's got my side."
But as it stands now and will continue to stand until either a loss or a turnover-galore performance, right now the starting job is McDermott's to lose.
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