SMU might need freshman to step up

"I understand the situation, I have been in this game for 32 years. You are not going to take a freshman and make a player out of him over night," said SMU defensive coordinator Tom Mason. But if the Mustangs front seven wants to be strong next season, it might be a freshman that needs to step up.

As SMU spring practices wrapped up and Coach June Jones answered questions from the media for the final time, he sung the praises of the Mustangs front seven. Saying they will be a strong suit in the 2010 season. That is, if they can figure out the nose tackle position.


DT.) Aaron Davis
Currently, the situation looks like this. The starter is undersized at 260 pounds, their back-up is a true freshman that looked out of shape in spring practices, and their only incoming help in the fall hinges on a junior college standout getting his tall academic orders in check this summer.

So what are the Mustangs other options? Could they move a defensive end like Marquis Frazier or Taylor Thompson inside, opening up things on the outside for sophomore Margus Hunt? Hunt did reportedly have a great spring according to SMU defensive coach Tom Mason.

"We are doing it on our nickel package right now. There is some possibilities we could do that in base, but the problem there is that you have all those bodies coming at you and it takes a different mentality," said Mason. "I would rather get a new guy in there because the other guys have defensive end mentalities. I don't want them getting double teamed and cut blocked."

With Mason hesitant to move anyone inside and Davis needing to add a lot of weight to be a traditional nose tackle, it looks like the Mustangs' biggest chance of success is for freshman Michael O'Guin to show major signs of improvement in the summer/fall. The true freshman graduated from high school in December to enroll early at SMU, but didn't progress as quickly as some would hoped.

"I understand the situation, I have been in this game for 32 years. You are not going to take a freshman and make a player out of him over night," said Mason. "We saw gradual improvement as the spring went on, and you will see more from the spring to the fall, but hopefully we won't be in a situation where he has to start and be the guy."

"Mike needs to get in shape," said Jones. "He is an 18 year old, but someone who has now been through a spring. He now knows what it takes. We are counting on him to get in shape and be a big part of the defensive line next season."


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