Focusing solely on Ben Hicks here, we haven’t seen the consistency some expected to see at this point in the season. Fortunately, Hicks had his best game of the season against Tulsa last week, and the coaching staff should be happy with the progress he made during that game. As the redshirt freshman becomes more comfortable in this offense, and as he learns to deal with the offensive line he has been dealt, he should continue to grow this season. Going forward, Hicks needs to continue to limit his turnovers (like against Tulsa), and continue to grow his chemistry with his wideouts.
Offensive Line: C-
Quite possibly the offense’s most disappointing position group, the offensive line struggled mightily throughout the first half of the season. There has been some improvement from last year, but injuries and lack of execution have plagued the big guys up front this year. Evan Brown has been the brightest spot for the offensive line at his new position, so hopefully a week off will allow him to recover from getting banged up last week. If there is any silver lining from this group, it’s that Coach Morris has had some good things to say about them, especially their knowledge in year two of the scheme that they run.
Wide Receiver: A-
Just like last season, and thanks to Courtland Sutton, this unit is one of the best at SMU. Led by Courtland Sutton and followed by James Proche and Xavier Castille, the group is fast, athletic and impressive across the board. One downside for this group though is the large drop off with guys like Kevin Thomas, Alex Honey and Myron Galliard not living up to expectations for this year (8 combined receptions). Granted some of that is because Proche, Sutton and Castille have all been fantastic, but more depth would help the team in the long run.
Running Back: B+
Despite poor play from the offensive line, SMU’s running backs have done well through the first half of the season. Braeden West picked up right where he left off last season, and the sophomore has cut down on his fumbles significantly with not a single lost ball all year long. With Xavier Jones out with a second injury now, West has more than stepped up in his absence. Freshmen Ke’Mon Freeman and Jordan Carmouche have both also run the ball well in limited game action. With Jones out, and for possibly the rest of the season, Carmouche and Freeman will need to provide some much-needed depth going forward.
Tight End: C
We haven’t seen a lot of guys like Jeremiah Gaines, Mitchell Kaufman and Ryan Becker in the offense this year so far, but that’s not necessarily their fault. This unit has been tasked with helping the offensive line some, and while they’ve done an average job, that means they aren’t involved in the passing game as much. Overall, you’d like to see more from a senior like Gaines, but guys like Kaufman and Becker should continue to grow as they learn the position more.