SMU quarterback Kyle Padron ready to lead

UNIVERSITY PARK, Texas -- Quarterback Kyle Padron may look like a freshman, but he sure doesn't sound like one.

Despite a solid performance in his first ever collegiate start -- 20-of-30 passing for 354 yards and two touchdowns in SMU's 27-13 win over Tulsa on the road, -- Padron insists that practice doesn't feel any differently to him now than it did last week. And it's almost as if he's forgotten about last Saturday already.

"Except that experience brings about confidence," Padron said following Wednesday's morning practice. "But we still have to work and do everything we can to prepare for Rice. It's no different than the rest of the season."

That's when Padron went through a list of things he says he has to improve to be a better quarterback.

"I'm working on being a better leader, being more accurate with my throws and staying in the pocket," Padron said. "That's all a part of experience and getting a better feel for the game. My receivers made a lot of plays for me and that's what happened Saturday.

Shifting credit to his teammates certainly sounds like a leader. But Padron said he's not the most vocal guy, but is working toward speaking out more and encouraging his teammates.

"I'm always trying to fun and have a good attitude," Padron said. "I've always been told that attitude is contagious, so I try to do that. I want to be a good influence on people and stay on top of things. I try to lead by example. If I need to get on somebody, I'm going to and if they need to get on me, they will. That's part of being a good teammate and being accountable."

SMU coach June Jones said Padron looks better in practice this week than he did before getting a chance to start.

"He threw the ball better this week from confidence of knowing that he did it in a game," Jones said. "That's part of the maturation process."

Padron's play gives Jones the luxury of allowing sophomore quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell's shoulder injury to fully heal. It's Mitchell's non-throwing shoulder and he's been practicing. Jones said it's about whether the shoulder can take a hit. When might that be?

"I think a lot of it just depends on my decision whether to do it or not," Jones said. "At some point, you hope you don't risk further injury, but you've got to make a decision to do it."

So Jones is keeping things open at this point as to when Mitchell might return. In the meantime, Padron is getting a chance to show what he can do.

Other notes:

  • Starting center Mitch Enright rolled his sprained ankle again last week. He did not practice on Wednesday, but Jones said he will dress for Saturday's game against Rice. But Blake McJunkin will probably play most of the game.

  • Right guard Bryce Tennison (strained abdominal muscle) is doubtful for the Rice game.