Sonny Dykes needs a break. His team is 0-3 and reeling after a trip to Ann Arbor resulted in a quarterback benching and another 20 point loss. Life doesn’t get easier with Navy coming to Ford Stadium. A few things we’re watching for:
Navy is hard to prepare for. The flexbone takes time to disect and most teams can’t prep for the assignments and blocking scheme in a typical game week. Most teams will prep for a flexbone team in the spring and a little bit in fall camp, so the unique aspects of the offense aren’t overwhelming. A scout team simulation doesn’t typically do it justice so SMU will have to adjust to the midshipmen quickly on Friday.
Because so few teams run the flexbone, compared to spread or air raid offenses like SMU’s the learning curve isn’t as steep for Navy.
Dykes benched Ben Hicks after another “what was he thinking” throw at the end of the first half against Michigan. He turned the keys over to William Brown, a true freshman from Lamar Consolidated. Brown proceeded to demonstrate a savvy beyond his years.
We charted Brown’s first action here.
Now Dykes is left with a choice, does he upset the apple cart and start Brown or does he ride the multi-year starter? Dykes will hold the company line that he’ll play whoever gives SMU the best chance to win, but with the new redshirt rule it may not be that cut and dried. Dykes has a bit more time to make the decision.
Hicks’ 2018 performance has left a lot to be desired, but he’s turned things around before. Whether Dykes has the patience to see him do it is another matter.
Meet James Proche
From out of Courtland Sutton’s shadow comes SMU go-to guy James Proche. The junior from DeSoto caught eleven passes last weekend, giving him nineteen catches for the season. Brown showed a dependence on Proche in the second half, targeting him twice as much as any other SMU player. Proche rewarded that attention.
After the frustration of the North Texas game, Proche is ramping up. He also returns kicks and punts. Proche is due for a big year, but he’s going to get a lot of attention from defenses this season. Last week he beat some aggressive man coverage from the Wolverines and showed great ability to win 50/50 balls.