SMU Offensive Preview

Joseph Yeager breaks down the SMU offense as the Red Raiders and Mustangs open the season on Friday.

Under Center: Coming out of Lake Travis as the Gatorade National Player of the Year, Garrett Gilbert probably imagined he'd be in an NFL training camp at this point. He certainly never thought he'd be entering his senior season as an SMU Mustang. But Gilbert's career has taken a meandering path since signing with the University of Texas in 2009. Following two humbling seasons in Austin, the son of former journeyman NFL quarterback Gale Gilbert now has one final season to make his case for a similar future. He'll have to do better than a year ago when he completed only 53 percent of his passes and had an equal number of touchdowns and interceptions while passing for 226 yards per contest. Gilbert is a solid runner having carried for 346 yards a year ago.


In the Backfield: The Mustangs will trot out another offensive starter with a Longhorn pedigree in six-foot-two 230-pound Traylon Shead, a former Parade All American who signed with Texas, transferred to Navarro Junior College and then found his way to SMU. He rushed for 1,194 yards and 17 touchdowns at Navarro and has already earned praise from SMU boss June Jones. If for some reason Shead can't toe the line, freshman Prescott Line should be able to. As brother of former Mustang All Conference back and current Minnesota Viking Zach Line, Prescott certainly has the bloodlines. He's a tough bruiser who ranked among the top recruits in the state of Michigan last season.


In the Trenches: Ben Gottschalk, a six-foot-five 295-pound senior returns to his starting post at left tackle. He'll be backed by freshman Chauncey Briggs. Starting alongside Gottschalk at left guard will be six-foot-four 285-pound sophomore Sam Rice who appeared in 12 games last season. Anchoring the line at center will be sophomore Taylor Lasecki. The six-foot-three 295-pounder started all 12 games last season and looks to be a future star, if he's not one already. Right guard will be hulking (6' 5" 310) sophomore Kris Weeks who started one game a year ago. Rounding out the starting line will be six-foot-six 290-pound freshman Seaver Myers of Friendswood, Texas. Myers, who got a medical redshirt last season, is SMU's most heavily recruited offensive lineman; he fielded offers from Texas A&M, Colorado and Louisville, among others. On the whole, this is a fairly talented but extremely young offensive line.


The Receivers: Returning starter Der'rikk Thompson, winner of SMU's Outstanding Onomastic Orthography Award, had a solid season in 2012, catching 535 yards worth of passes, averaging 13 yards per grab, and hauling in four touchdowns. He has 4.37 forty speed. Abilene sophomore Darius Joseph should also be in the starting lineup for the Mustangs. As a freshman he caught seven passes for 70 yards. The third starter in SMU's receiving corps will be senior Jeremy Johnson. The All C-USA candidate led the Mustangs in receiving last year with 67 catches for 679 yards, but only three TDs. As a prepster he was recruited by Baylor and TCU among other schools. Rounding out the unit will be six-foot-one 185-pound senior Keenan Holman. He started six games last season, catching 25 passes for 311 yards and two touchdowns. This will not be one of the deadlier receiving groups Tech faces in 2013.  

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