In the Trenches: Starting
at one defensive end spot in SMU's 3-4 scheme will be six-foot-six 265-pound
sophomore Andrew McCleneghen. He saw limited action a
year ago. In the middle of the line will be Darrian
Wright, a six-foot-two 280-pound junior who saw action in all games last season
and recorded a pick six against the University of Houston. Manning the other
defensive end position will be Zach Wood, a six-foot-three 260-pound sophomore.
He played in nine games last season.
None of SMU's starting defensive linemen is returning
starters. Texas Tech's offensive line, currently regarded as a question mark,
will remain so following the SMU game regardless of the outcome.
The Linebackers: One
of the real stars of the SMU defense can be found at the strong outside
linebacker position where six-foot-three 250-pound junior Stephon
Sanders holds sway. Sanders is a returning starter who
tallied 48 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and a pick six last season. Perhaps even
better than Sanders is senior inside backer Randall Joyner. A strong All C-USA
candidate, the five-foot-ten 235-pounder made 93 stops in only eight starts
last season. He also had three interceptions, five
pass breakups, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. SMU's other
starting inside linebacker will be Kevin Pope, a five-foot-ten 225-pound senior
who started one game last season, registered 20 tackles and scored one
touchdown on a fumble recovery. The starting linebacker on the weak side should
be sophomore Robert Seals, a six-foot-three 225-pounder who played in eight
games a year ago.
All in all, this could be a good linebacker corps, and it
will need to be given the fairly pedestrian nature of the Mustang front three.
In the Secondary: SMU
returns starter Chris Parks at one cornerback spot. The six-foot-one senior had
seven pass breakups and 48 tackles last season. Parks had a scholarship offer
from Kansas State coming out of high school. Redshirt freshman Ajee Montes, a five-foot-eleven 185 pounder is expected to
start at the other cornerback position. Jay Scott is a good player at safety
from the Mustang. The six-foot-one 210-pound senior is a returning starter. He
had 76 tackles, an interception and an impressive 10
pass breakups last season. Rounding out the SMU defensive starting lineup will
be six-foot 205 pound junior Hayden Greenbauer. He
started one game last season, recorded 20 tackles and a pick six. Greenbauer is an athlete with good speed.
This could be a pretty good secondary for the Mustangs.
However, June Jones will be biting his nails with redshirt freshman Montes
starting at corner. It goes without saying that Texas Tech will put Montes to
the test and SMU will do what it can to help him out.