5 Things We Learned From SMU’s Loss at TCU
SMU’s loss to TCU on Saturday was rough. Much like a mirror image of the Mustangs loss the last time they visited Fort Worth in 2015, SMU fought hard, but lost a war of attrition.
Although they were much improved on both sides of the ball, SMU’s crutch is one that can only be solved with time – roster depth and talent depth.
Here are five things we learned in the loss of the Iron Skillet:
- Courtland Sutton can distract, but can’t be a non-factor – As expected, Sutton captivated TCU’s most talented defensive backs throughout the game. And while he was plagued with double coverage all game, the lack of mobility and accuracy by Ben Hicks limited SMU’s ability to even get the ball in Sutton’s direction. Sutton accomplished the task of distracting TCU’s backs (see Trey Quinn’s monster game), however, without a single catch, SMU will never overcome the hurdle of beating a top 25 team as long as Sutton is not touching the ball.
- The run game has to run the offense – Jones, West and Freeman have the potential to be the most talented backfield in the American Conference. But without a balanced attack, consistency from the quarterback, and a solid push up front, the Mustangs run game will stutter and stop like it did against TCU.
- Defensive backs are key, a major key… – Jordan Wyatt was SMU’s self-proclaimed defensive player of the game with five solo tackles and one pass breakup. Wyatt continues to be SMU Defensive Coordinator Van Malone’s go to back on defense, however, lack of depth at that position will continue to hurt the Mustangs defense against the passing game.
- Creativity on offense is still alive and necessary – SMU’s first touchdown of the game came 2:12 into the game on a 58 yard flea flicker pass from Hicks to Trey Quinn.
— Gerry Hamilton (@HamiltonESPN) September 16, 2017
Joe Craddock, SMU’s Offensive Coordinator continued to mix of the play calling to try and keep TCU scrambling. This benefitted SMU in the first half, and a lot of motion in the backfield and away from the ball left TCU scrambling and second-guessing. That being said, creativity only lasts so long… In the future, the timing of those “trick” plays will be crucial for the Mustangs offense.
- Bouncing back – While a loss like this one, against TCU, is tough, sometimes they are necessary for teams like SMU. While the Mustangs will eventually reach the level of beating a top 25 team, they need to keep their focus on their immediate goal… a winning record and a bowl game in December.
Chad Morris’ program continues to improve and develop, much in the same way that Clemson’s offense improved and developed under Morris.
And while fans would like to see an immediate turnaround, sometimes that ends up being a short term fix to a long term problem. The program Coach Morris is building is one that will last….
SMU will host Arkansas State this Saturday, at Ford Stadium at 6:00 pm.