Bye Week Grade Book: Offense

Staff writer Billy Embody distributes grades to each offensive position group and gives his thoughts on how they've done through the season's first three games


When SMU quarterback Garrett Gilbert transferred from Texas to SMU after J.J. McDermott graduated and Kyle Padron and Stephen Kaiser transferred from SMU, Mustangs fans were excited for the former Gatorade Player of the Year to take over and possibly take June Jones' run-n-shoot to a new level. Instead, Gilbert has looked unimpressive and lost in his first few games as the Mustangs signal caller and is a reason why the Mustangs offense has not found any sort of groove yet this year. With all of the talent Gilbert has, Mustangs fans have to believe there is some way he will turn it around, but Gilbert has yet to show that in a game.

It is obvious that Gilbert will not be benched for Conner Preston, who has looked good in relief of Gilbert, but if Gilbert cannot turn it around, Mustangs fans will be asking for the redshirt freshman from California to be given a chance to operate this offense eventually. Gilbert looks unbelievable in practices and that is undeniable. The translation for Gilbert from practice to the games has not happened yet and for a Mustangs team that had so much hype going into the season, the quarterback play has been disappointing and downright bad for SMU so far.

Grade: D

Running Backs

While the offensive line has been a big part of the reason why the running game or passing game hasn't picked up much so far this year. The passing game has been non-existent, which has allowed teams to focus even more on the running back Zach Line and shut him down early. Line hasn't been nearly as big of a threat this year because the blocking has not been that great and the play calling has been very predictable.

Line had 100-yard games against Baylor and Texas A&M, but most of that yardage has come against backups. Line must be more consistent at running the ball like SMU fans used to seeing, but it will take a group effort by all of the offense for the Mustangs to be able to get that going.

Grade: B-

Wide Receivers

The wide receivers have been the weakest link of the SMU offense so far this year. The lack of physicality, explosive plays and key catches have been a big part of why the Mustangs have struggled mightily on offense. Senior receiver Darius Johnson has been especially disappointing and has been a non-factor in all of the Mustangs games this year. Against Texas A&M he was held without a catch in the first half. SMU has been dinking and dunking the ball this year and that is not what was expected of this offense with plenty of speed on the field for SMU.

On receiver that many people think will see more time on the field is freshman Gehrig Dieter. Dieter caught a touchdown against Baylor late and has made some plays when he has gotten the ball. There hasn't been many big plays made by the receivers so the Mustangs will look for some plays to be made down the field especially later in the season so this offense has a chance to operate at its fullest.

Grade: D-

Offensive Line

At the beginning of the season, the offensive line was thought to be the weakest link on this team, but thanks to the play of the quarterbacks and wide receivers, that has not been the case. June Jones has said that the quarterbacks have been given the time to make the plays, but the line has not opened the running lanes for the running backs to make some plays. If the line starts opening lanes for the backs, this offense has an opportunity to get back on track.

The line has numerous starters that are new together, but the line has also been banged up early this season. Left tackle Ben Gottschalk and guard Jordan Free have been nicked up so the bye week came at a good time for the Mustangs. June Jones said six players would not have played if the Mustangs had a game this weekend. The line will take this week to continue to work on their chemistry in hopes of bouncing back in this season.

Grade: C-

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