Spring Football: Padron, McDermott in QB Battle
March 30, 2010
By Robby Gillespie
Just months after taking over the starting spot and leading the Mustangs to a record breaking season at quarterback, freshman Kyle Padron faces another tough obstacle: earning his position once again.
Padron will face off against junior transfer J.J. McDermott who is eligible to play after sitting out last season due to NCAA transfer rules. As a gray shirt, McDermott spent the 2009 season simulating the opposing quarterbacks for the defense, never seeing a minute of game action, but now he looks to change that.
“Coach Jones like to express the open quarterback thing,” said Padron, who started seven games last season as a freshman. “Whatever happen last year is in the past, we’re looking forward to the future and it’s either going to be me or JJ. He’s a good quarterback and it will only make both of us better.”
Padron took over for an injured Bo Levi Mitchell in a losing effort at Houston on Oct. 24. The move sparked a three game winning streak eclipsing the six-win mark, earning bowl eligibility. Padron finished the season 6-1 as a starter after he threw for an SMU record 460 yards in the Mustangs’ Sheraton Hawaii Bowl win over Nevada.
“Everyone’s having fun again,” Padron said. “Going 1-11 takes the fun out of football, it wasn’t fun to be out here practicing. We’re now all having fun playing in practice. That’s what it’s going to take.”
McDermott transferred from New Mexico State prior to the 2009 season after throwing a total of only 74 passes his freshman and sophomore seasons. Both quarterbacks will use the spring to begin to improve on last year’s record season and to lead SMU to another bowl game.
“This is definitely the start,” Padron said. “This is page one and we’re going to keep writing the book.”
Padron said the goal, as it was last year, is to win the C-USA Championship. SMU came within one win of reaching the championship game in 2009.
The Mustangs practiced for the second time this spring Tuesday. They have 13 more practices over the next 25 days. The team says it’ll take some time to get back into football shape.
“[My] arm’s a little sore, we’ve thrown for two hours straight for the past two days,” Padron said. “It’s going to make my arm stronger and it’s going to make JJ arm’s stronger, we’re not too worried about it.”
Whichever player earns the starting spot won’t be able to throw to SMU’s most productive receiver, Emmanuel Sanders, who played his final game as a Mustang in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl. He continues to work out this spring in preparation for his Pro Day at SMU on Thursday and the NFL Draft on April 22.
The Mustangs also began practice without running back Shawnbrey McNeal who will also be entering the NFL Draft. McNeal ran for 1,188 yards last season, giving Head Coach June Jones his first 1,000-yard rusher.
“It’s a little weird not seeing 17 (Sanders) running around out here,” Padron said. “He’s going to be a good player at the next level but we’re going to miss him. We’ve got to have the young guys step up and they will.”