Expect battle, no controversy at QB at SMU

Who will be the starting quarterback when SMU opens against Rice? Who will win the battle for the starting role during fall camp? What are some of the things that the new coaching staff is looking for in a signal caller. Go inside for some of these answers and answers to many other things concerning the quarterback position.

It appears that Southern Methodist University football fans may expect a battle for the starting quarterback position this fall.

What fans shouldn't expect is a quarterback controversy.

According to veteran quarterback coach and assistant head coach of offense Dan Morrison, that's one thing that won't happen at SMU this fall. Morrison has spent the last nine years as June Jones' quarterback coach, he knows what to expect from the veteran head coach.

"We are expecting a battle for the position," Morrison told PonyStampede.com last week. "I can promise you two things about it. The best quarterback will play and there won't be a controversy at the position."

Morrison points out that Jones and he don't panic when it comes to a position battle, especially if that position is the signal caller and the leader of their team.

"June won't panic at all," Morrison said. "He will play the best player. If one doesn't jump out in front of the other by the time fall camp is over, no worries. We have played two quarterbacks in some games until one takes over the position."

According to Morrison, one of the best ways to pick the best quarterback in a close race is to see how they perform in game situations.

"You can't prepare them for everything a game day presents," Morrison said. "It doesn't hurt to see how each will perform in game day situations."

Morrison confirms that there will be five quarterbacks going into fall camp, and feels that the competition for the starting role is wide open.

"Everyone will get their shot," Morrison said. "It's important to narrow it down as quickly as possible so the top two gets as many reps as possible. In this system, a quarterback gets a lot more reps in a practice than they would in most offenses. We throw the ball a lot."

In fact Morrison explained that whoever ends up getting the position, that signal call is liable to throw the ball 600 to 700 times a year.

"We throw the ball 600 to 700 times a year," Morrison said. "It's what we do. We normally throw the ball 85-15 ratio."

Morrison explained some of the things that Coach Jones and he looks for in a successful signal caller.

"The most important thing they have to do is be productive when they have the ball," Morrison said. "They have to produce. It's not always the quarterback that throws the football the best. There are a lot of things we look for. He also has to be a great leader."

According to Morrison there are several key factors for quarterbacks in this offense.

"First and foremost is accuracy," Morrison said. "Accuracy can't be over stated in this offense. Over the years we have normally have gone with the most accurate passer."

Arm strength is the second element that they look for.

"At this level the passing windows close very fast," Morrison said. "A quarterback has to get it from point A to point B very fast. There are two types of arm strength, the type of quarterback that can throw it flat footed 50 to 60 yards and there are quarterbacks with great arm speed."

Another factor that the veteran coaches look for is the signal caller's foot work.

"How athletic and balanced their feet are is very important," Morrison explained. "You can see it in their drops. Quarterbacks that throw a great ball usually have great feet."

Morrison is looking for a quarterback that has ability to slide around in the pocket.

"Great quarterbacks don't see the rush, they feel it," Morrison said. "They must be able to feel it and move away from it. If they see the rush, they have taken their eyes off their wide receivers. That can't happen in this offense."

Morrison is excited about fall camp.

"We are ready to go," Morrison said. "We never panic, we don't get nervous. We have done this so many times. I'm confident that we will find the right guy to run our offense; he is among the five guys we are bringing to camp. It's our job to figure out which one gives our team the best chance to win."

According to Morrison, one thing is for sure.

"Coach Jones will play the best quarterback no matter if he is a senior, true freshman or even a walk-on," Morrison said. "Whoever proves themselves in fall camp is who we will go to battle with."

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