In preparation for the upcoming Houston vs. SMU matchup, The Stable staff writer Reece Graham joined the Scott & Holman Pawdcast to talk all things Coogs and Mustangs. Here are some of the highlights:
After Ben Hicks took over at QB following the injury to Matt Davis, what have you seen so far in his development?
Reece: Ben has had his struggles this season. Obviously, being forced into a situation that nobody thought he was going to be forced into. Really unfortunate that Matt Davis went down with that injury…Because of his inexperience, and because of his youth he really has been that puzzle piece that is very talented and very promising, but doesn’t quite fit yet…Ben definitely has an arm on him, but definitely struggles connecting with receivers, especially on passes that are down the field 15-20 yards, just isn’t at that point in his development yet where you can depend on him to deliver a ball where you need it to be…He is getting more comfortable, but definitely the loss of Matt Davis looms very large for this program.
With Chad Morris’ 4-14 record at SMU, how patient will the fan base be with him?
Reece: I think the attitude that SMU fans had when Chad came into the program was, ‘if anyone can do this, Chad’s the man for the job.’ … Coming off of the June Jones era, the cupboard is really bare for the Mustangs right now. Chad has brought in a couple of great recruiting classes in the past few years, but the drought from the Jones era, especially when you consider he didn’t like to recruit locally, he didn’t even like to recruit in the state of Texas that much, just the talent wasn’t there. And we saw that in the 2014 season when SMU went 1-11…I think after all of that, yes, I think SMU fans are willing to be patient with Chad because they think he is the man with the talent and the knoiwledge to turn the program around. Now, we are just waiting on him to get the tools necessary to do so.
What is the key for SMU to stay competitive with Houston on Saturday?
Reece: Well, I think the No. 1 thing they are going to have to do, which unfortunately for the Mustangs is something they’ve struggled with over the last couple of seasons, is the Mustangs have to figure out how to contain a dual-threat quarterback. Greg Ward Jr., he’s one of the top quarterbacks in the nation in terms of getting things done with both his arm and his feet…That being said, coming off a bye week, SMU has definitely been preparing for Greg Ward Jr. He’s probably been No. 1 on the mind of defensive coordinator Van Malone. So, they know what they’re going up against, and I think that’s defintely going to be the key for the defense. But they’re also going to need to get some help. If Ben Hicks can’t get the job done, if SMU can’t put together multiple productive series on offense, they’re probably going to be dead in the water.
Catch the entire podcast for more, including why SMU’s 2-4 record shouldn’t be blamed on their struggling defense…
(FWIW: Reece’s segment is from 24:15-40:00)