Matt Visinsky

Takeaways from SMU Football's First Spring Practice

Chad Morris spoke with the media before his team's first spring practice of 2017.

Quarterback is Wide Open

After starting quarterback Matt Davis tore his ACL in SMU's opener last year, they were left very thin at the position. Redshirt freshman Ben Hicks took over quarterbacking duties for the rest of the year, throwing 19 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in an up-and-down season. 

SMU will have much more depth at quarterback at quarterback this season, as transfers Rafe Peavey and D.J. Gillins will be competing with Hicks for the starting spot. SMU is also seeking a sixth year of eligibility for Davis. 

"We've got plenty of depth at quarterback," Morris said. "We've got a great competition going on there."

Position Battles at Every Spot

Morris emphasized that there is a position battle at every spot. He mentioned multiple times that he considers every position to be open for the taking. 

"Competition is gonna make everybody better. That's the way this football team is gonna get better, competing with each other on a daily basis," Morris said. 

Along with quarterbacks, Morris mentioned running back, wide receiver, defensive line and offensive line as position battles worth watching. He expects someone in SMU's group of redshirt freshman offensive linemen to take a step forward.

"We really should start seeing some transformation take over with these guys," Morris said. "We're expecting a lot of competition. That's an area right now where we're down in numbers.

Morris has a lot of mouths to feed at running back, with Xavier Jones, Braeden West, Ke'Mon Freeman and Aphonso Thomas all expected to get carries next year. He will decide which role each back will play by having them compete with one another.

"Every job is wide open right now," Morris said. "Any time you come off a season like last year, any position is wide open. Nobody signs a lifetime contract. It's about coming out every day and competing; and starving yourself of the distractions and feeding your focus. That's the biggest emphasis coming into spring ball."  

Injury Updates

The coaching staff expects to hear about Davis' potential medical redshirt in the next few weeks. Morris certainly hopes Davis can play next year, saying "it would be a big lift" to get him back.

Running back Xavier Jones is at full strength. 

Chad Pursley, who is coming off a torn ACL from fall camp, will be limited through the rest of spring.

"After spring break we hope to get him back more and more. But it may be toward the last couple weeks that we get him at full speed," Morris said. 

Wide receiver Xavier Castille is limited with shin injuries. 

Jordan Carmouche is coming back from a shoulder injury. Morris hopes to have him back after spring ball, where he'll transition to linebacker. 

Other Notes

  • Morris confirmed that Jordan Carmouche is switching from running back to linebacker. "He'll provide that experience and athleticism at the linebacker position that we need," Morris said. Morris said that Carmouche is the only player switching positions.
  • SMU is not holding anyone out of spring practice, but once the players start scrimmaging, Courtland Sutton and a few others will be held out.
  • Tight end Corey Rau and Star Myles Duke are two players that have impressed Morris during the spring conditioning phase for the program."These are two guys that have really stood through the first quarter-phase in January," Morris said. "I expect great things out of these guys."

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