The Best Quarterback You've Never Heard Of
I've said for awhile that the best part of bowl season is watching the contrasting styles of teams that don't meet during the regular season. You probably won't find two offensive systems more unalike that in Thursday's Armed Forces Bowl.
It's the triple option of Army versus the run-n-shoot of SMU. Not surprising, Army finished 10th in rushing offense and dead last in passing. SMU is 22nd in passing, 77th in running. That's contrast, folks. SMU's quarterback is Kyle Padron and unless you're a pigskin junkie, you probably don't know who he is.
But you should. Last year as a freshman Padron threw for nearly 2,000 yards in only six games as a starter. He led the Mustangs to their first bowl in 25 years and proceeded to destroy Nevada in the Hawaii Bowl with 460 yards and two touchdowns. In his second season Padron cooled off a bit, finishing 2010 with 3,526 yards and 29 TDs. Yes, the run-n-shoot is very much a "system" offense that inflates a quarterback's numbers but Padron has that certain quality that all good QBs have. It's undefinable, what the French call a certain...I don't know what.
Anyone who is familiar with SMU's history (and you should be if you saw ESPN's 30-for-30 story on the program) know that just getting the Mustangs to a bowl was a major accomplishment. Padron has now done it twice and he's got two more years to become a household name.