PonyStampede Publisher's Commentary

Texas Tech has one of its best teams since Mike Leach's arrival nine years ago. June Jones has brought a same type of excitement and high powered offense to SMU, it takes time to build a program especially when your doing it with a lot of freshmen. Go inside our Publisher's commentary this week to get his view of things.

A game featuring two high powered offenses never materialized Saturday night in Lubbock.

Turnovers, five interceptions in fact kept a young Mustang team's air attack grounded for most of the game.

While many may not think there very many positives from the game, the contest actually mirrored where one team is going and where the other one started out.

Mike Leach is in his ninth season as the head coach at Texas Tech, June Jones is in his first at SMU after a nine year successful stint at Hawaii. Leach has a veteran laden team, perhaps his best since his arrival in Lubbock nine years ago. Jones had his best Hawaii team his ninth year, before leaving the Island for SMU. Will this be Leach's best season and will he leave for bigger and better things than Tech next season?

Leach started a senior quarterback that has started the last three seasons. Jones started a true freshman that just started his third game of the season.

Many don't realize how young this SMU team really is.

Blake McJunkin started at center Saturday night for Rimington Watch candidate Mitch Enright, who apparently broke a finger in practice sometime this past week. Two other red shirt freshmen started on the offensive front against a good Tech team. Bryce Tenninson and Kelvin Beachum Jr both started the game and played well for the most part.

McJunkin, who played last year for Plano High School, didn't have a misfire at center and appeared to play a solid game for the Mustangs in his first start of the year.

Cole Beasley and Cole Loftin both true freshmen wide receivers, were quarterbacks for their high schools last year. Now both saw action for the Mustang receiving corp last night. Terrance Wilkerson another red shirt freshman that played quarterback in high school and even for SMU this spring, started at wide out against Tech.

SMU is a young but talented team. The question is how long will it take them to mature into seasoned veterans. Jones hopes that maturing process will be rapid and by the middle of the season, the progress will be apparent.

Another positive for last night's game came on the defensive side of the ball. After failing to force Texas State to punt at all last week, improved secondary play was very apparent by the Mustang defenders. No better time to improve your secondary play before playing a Leach coached team.

Tom Mason's defense came out in a 3-3-5 look for the first time this season in an attempt to slow down the Red Raider air attack. The Mustang defenses kept SMU in the ball game early, despite numerous turnovers by the offense.

Youri Yenga played a great game at his defensive end position, forcing several misdirected throws with his speed.

Another new name that appeared a lot on the defensive side of the ball was sophomore linebacker Ryan Moczygemba. His named was called several times last night, as the talented defender made several key plays and stops for SMU.

Chris Castro is another freshman that has seen action against Rice and Tech.

This hasn't been the easiest of schedules for Jones' debut.

Open the season at Rice, a place Mustangs haven't won at since 1986, it also doesn't hurt that this is probably one of the Owls best teams in sometime. Play on the road at nationally ranked Texas Tech before returning home to play undefeated TCU. Talk about jumping out of the grease and into the Iron Skillet.

While perhaps the score didn't indicate it much, I saw improvement at certain positions. Missed opportunities and turnovers kept the young Mustang out of the contest early. A team that throws five interceptions can't beat anyone, much less a nationally ranked team that has the offensive fire power Texas Tech has.

This week's battle for the Iron Skillet will be another opportunity for SMU to show improvement on both sides of the ball. What better way to head into conference USA play by knocking off your undefeated arch rival.

One thing about youth, one never knows when that maturation process will occur, it could happen anytime, lets hope it begins this upcoming weekend.

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