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"The best player is going to play. I don't care who it is. If you have a freshman who comes in and he is the best, I'm not doing the seniors a fair job by not putting the best players on the field. That is what I tell them all the time. I'm not into red-shirting guys. If you can help us win, you are going to play."
-June Jones on if incoming freshman Kyle Padron could start this season.
These words echoed by June Jones last week during C-USA media day have raised a few eyebrows around the Hilltop. I have been asked by multiple members, "could Padron push Bo Levi?" "What about Smith? Where does he stack up against Bo and Kyle?" The fact of the matter is, unlike last fall, there will be no quarterback controversy at the start of SMU practices.
There is no doubt in my mind, that Bo Levi Mitchell is far beyond his competition at quarterback at this point. Could Padron catch him some day? Yes, will it be this season, no! No one, including June Jones wants to relive a true freshman under center this season. Mitchell was thrown to the wolves last season, but lived and learned from it. He was operating on pure guts and very little instincts. This year, you can expect to see a more polished passer and one who better understands the run and shoot offense. He has looked solid in voluntary workouts and doesn't look like someone who threw 23 interceptions last year.
"Last year, when you go through the tapes, his failures to hit a guy were when he didn't really know where the guy was going," said June Jones. "When he knew where the guy was going, he threw a strike. He knows a lot more now and will throw it better."
With Mitchell as the clear #1, the question becomes what do the Mustangs do with Kyle Padron? Red-shirt freshman Braden Smith might only be 5-11, but he has shown good zip on his passes during the spring and voluntary workouts. He's also a coach's son and understands the offense. If Mitchell was to get hurt, I feel Braden could more than handle the offense for a few games. This means, Padron has a year to sit back, learn the offense, and take his red-shirt. No use burning a year if your only going to get mop up work. If Mitchell was to go down early in the season, maybe it's a different story.