The Pony Stampede staff gives five bold predictions for SMU’s training camp. Share your bold predictions on our forum as well!
Billy’s Prediction: Burcham gets firm grip on starting job
I’m still very high on Neal Burcham’s ability to run June Jones’ offense, especially now with coach Jones’ recent comments about getting back to what the Mustangs do best, throwing the ball vertically. Matt Davis is a talented quarterback, but is raw as a passer. I don’t see him being able to give coach Jones what he wants out of the quarterback position. Could he be a change of pace guy that can give SMU a different dimension if they’re dragging? Yes, but I don’t think he has the accuracy or really the time to pick up this offense and be ready to go. Garrett Gilbert struggled early before getting comfortable towards the end of his first year as a starter, but SMU can’t afford that adjustment period. Burcham will take the job with his play, not his experience in the system. I expect an even better Burcham in training camp.
Omar’s Prediction: Barns starts at center
I'll say grayshirt freshman William Barns ends up being the starter at center. The Mustangs have considered moving Taylor Lasecki to guard and I think Barns will force their hand with a great camp. There are essentially two spots up for grabs on the offensive line and coaches should be able to find the best group by the time camp is over. My bold prediction is that June Jones goes young and starts Barns, Lasecki, and Daniel McCarty in between the two returning veterans at tackle. It would be a risky move for the Mustangs, but I think Barns has the talent to step up and succeed right away.
Everyone knows Gresham has the makings to be a very productive running back on the Hilltop, but but with senior Kevin Pope and redshirt sophomore Prescott Line ahead of him on the depth chart at the moment, no one knows exactly when we'll get to see what the kid has got. From my conversations with Gresham, I can already tell it won't take long. Since signing with SMU, Gresham has been working non-stop in the weight room (has lost 15 pounds already) and the film room to best prepare himself to turn some heads during camp, and I think he'll do just that. Despite being a freshman, I predict Gresham will have an outstanding camp, and catapult himself to second on the depth chart ahead of Line (and right behind Pope). Pope and Line have the advantage of multiple years in the program, but I think because of Gresham's drive, smarts and running ability he'll become one of SMU's primary backs this fall.
Patrick’s Prediction: Jeremiah Gaines will lead SMU in catches and touchdown receptions
SMU's wide receivers are unproven, and the Mustangs will need a couple of them to step up and help out Neal Burcham. I think Gaines is the most complete receiver in the group, and he looked good in spring. While he may not lead in yards because of the deep threat presences of Der'rikk Thompson and Cedric Lancaster, I think he will climb up the depth chart and see a lot of snaps, which will result in him leading the team in catches and touchdowns.
Demetrio’s Prediction: Yenga overtaken by Nwosu at the Mike linebacker
Over the course of training camp, Cameron Nwosu's size advantage over Jonathan Yenga will become extremely clear. Picking up the defense will also prove easy for him and he'll look very comfortable within the scheme in no time. So, with nothing else standing in his way, Nwosu will overtake Yenga and become the starting Mike by end of camp.