SMU starts spring ball tomorrow, get the red vests out boys, hits on the quarterback aren't legal. Here's what we'd like to see from the Mustangs this spring.
Is Ben Hicks the "guy" at SMU or is it one of the other "guys" on campus. Those other guys include JC transfer D.J. Gillins, Arkansas transfer Rafe Peavey, and potential sixth year player Matt Davis. We say potential because no one knows if Davis will be granted a sixth year by the NCAA. All this means that the Spring and probably Fall camps will be full of a good old fashioned quarterback battle.
Chad Morris won't say this, but he'd rather settle this thing early. He'd like one of his charges to take the reigns and go. If it's Hicks so be it, but the longer this lingers the less chance SMU has an answer on campus.
The Back End
Replacing Darrion Millines and Horace Richardson won't be easy for SMU. Spring practice starts the hunt for guys that can step into those shoes. Or not. SMU picked off 20 passes in 2016. That number probably won't be reached or breached in 2017.
Rodney Clemons returns at strong safety and the surprising Jordan Wyatt is back. Clemons, Wyatt, Millines and Richardson started every game for the Mustangs in 2016, now half that production is gone. Look for Mikial Onu and Kevin Johnson to get first crack to step up.
Teams that make a leap from mediocrity to greatness will tend to do it based on line play. The ability to dictate via their offensive line plus the ability to stop the run and get after the passer with as few as possible on the defensive line.
If SMU is going to make a leap they'll need improvements on both lines of scrimmage. The Mustangs lose two starters on offense and a bevy of young players, many of whom are redshirts and true freshman will get the call.
On defense, other than Justin Lawler, the Mustangs lack productivity. Can SMU find Lawler some help up front? It's time to find out.
The Morris rebuild is entering phase three. The Mustangs have withstood the initial shock of a culture change, become competitive in their league, and now look to build depth. If SMU's recruiting has filled the voids it's supposed to, the Mustangs will start seeing capable backups emerge. Some of that depth is already apparent as the Mustangs skill position talent is at a surplus. Now the question is can SMU find linebackers, defensive linemen, offensive linemen, and secondary players to fill in when need and not cause a substantial drop off.
Morris has turned over his roster, this spring he'll need to show he has the right pieces to fill out a competitive two-deep.
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