New SMU coach Rhett Lashlee inherits a team capable of making plenty of noise in the American Athletic Conference in 2022. The Mustangs return 12 starters off a squad that went 8-4 last season, including quarterback Tanner Mordecai, receiver Rashee Rice and defensive linemen DeVere Levelston and Elijah Chatman. The home schedule presents opportunities for SMU to surprise in Lashlee's debut, as Houston, Cincinnati and TCU all visit Gerald J. Ford Stadium.
Previewing SMU's Offense for 2022
In his first season at SMU, Tanner Mordecai led the AAC with 3,628 yards passing, and his 39 touchdowns ranked fifth nationally. But those numbers did not guarantee him the starting job over redshirt freshman Preston Stone. New head coach Rhett Lashlee is banking on both quarterbacks improving through competition, although Mordecai will be hard to unseat.
The receiver corps lost breakaway threats Danny Gray and Reggie Roberson Jr., who declared for the NFL Draft. Rashee Rice, the team leader in receptions with 64, figures to be the main target. Transfers Beau Corrales from North Carolina, Jake Bailey from Rice and Kelvontay Dixon from Texas will provide depth and experience.
The offensive line, which showed improvement last season, will get major help from transfers Joe Bissinger from Virginia and Owen Condon from Georgia. The Mustangs allowed only 16 sacks, a remarkable number considering their 468 passes. Tre Siggers, who rushed for 727 yards and nine TDs, returns along with strong short-yardage back Tyler Lavine.
The offense will not be dramatically different under Lashlee. The most noticeable changes will be a faster pace and more intermediate and long throws.