As SMU prepares for its Conference USA opening tilt against the University of Texas-El Paso this Saturday, the Mustangs' secondary unit will not be operating close to full strength after enduring another injury to a key player.
Starting safety Ryan Smith, who was hurt in the team's 24-16 loss to TCU on Saturday, will be out for the remainder of the season, according to a report by Bill Nichols of The Dallas Morning News.
Smith joins defensive backs Horace Richardson, who was also lost for the year with a knee injury, and J.R. Richardson, who was hurt in the team's training camp, as members of the secondary on the shelf as the Mustangs face a Miners team averaging 208.4 passing yards per game.
Freshman defensive back Shakiel Randolph will make his first start at SMU in place of Smith, and head coach June Jones expects him to rise to the occasion.
"He's going to be a real good player,'' Jones said in the report. "Shakiel's all of a sudden a starter now. He can't be a freshman anymore.''