With our final AUS preview here is Kevin Garbuio once again.
Last year: 3-5 season, 4-6 overall, -1.2 SRS
Extra AUS opponent: Acadia
Interlock opponent: Montreal
The Huskies were doomed to fail last year. Perry Marchese was put into a horrible situation that only got worse as the season started. To refresh everyone's memory, SMU fired Steve Sumarah for reasons many of us did not understand, they didn’t have a contingency plan, and that created some huge problems. One was losing blue-chip QB Jesse Mills to Carleton (of course, coached by Sumarah) and another was not being able to recruit. The Huskies struggled to fill out a roster and at times only had 60 serviceable bodies.
The Huskies were given a death blow when quarterback Jack Creighton was severely injured when scrambling for a first down in week one; with no serviceable backup, the Saint Mary’s offence was unable to produce.
This year should have a different look. For one, they were able to have a full recruiting season, but more importantly they have depth at the QB position. Western transfer Ben Rossong looks to be the starter but will be challenged by returning senior Jack Creighton. They also have an explosive tailback with Melvin Abankwah who overtook Jahmeek Taylor as the primary weapon last year. There is a lot to be optimistic about in Halifax this year offensively. Marchese looks like he is trying to establish a run-first identity this season and with capable passers they will actually be able to keep teams honest.
Defensively the Huskies are strong. Their new defensive co-ordinator Marcello Simmons should continue the SMU tradition of having strong D. The Huskies lost Neil King and Kyle Norris to the CFL which leaves two big holes to fill, but they still return nine starters including DE Rob Jubenville and All-Canadian Kayin Marchand-Wright.
I want to say the Huskies need to be able to pass the ball to be successful but I have seen this program win without being able to throw so I’ll end with this: If the Huskies can have an above-replacement-level player at quarterback they could be have home field advantage heading into the playoffs. Their week one match up vs. Acadia on Friday night is a definite must-win as they face Montreal on the road in week two and would most likely be facing an 0-2 start otherwise.