The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


All signs point to Burcham

In four appearances last season, SMU quarterback Neal Burcham posted 64 completions, 556 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions. (Courtesy of USA Today)

Coming into training camp, it was not very clear who SMU head Coach June Jones would name as Garret Gilbert’s successor at quarterback.

Redshirt sophomore Neal Burcham was the favorite to win the job heading into camp, but Jones wanted him to earn it.

“[Burcham] is running first right now,” Jones said at the beginning of camp. “We are giving equal reps to the three or four guys behind him. We are giving [Kolney Cassel] and [Matt Davis]a chance because we’ve kind of evaluated some of the other guys already.”

Burcham played in four games last season and even started in two games after Garret Gilbert was injured. His performance was far from impressive, but he showed flashes of ability last season that made him the front runner heading into camp. He finished the season with 64 completions for 556 yards with two touchdowns and four interceptions.

After the first couple of practices, it was clear that the starting job was Burcham’s to lose.

“I feel like he has a good command of what we run and knows where to go with the ball,” Jones said. “Now it’s just doing it in the game and proving that it is his job.”

Early in camp, Burcham looked like the same “average” player he was last season.

The turning point for him, came a day after the offense got its butt whipped pretty good by the defense.

After that very poor showing, Burcham has played with the confidence and fire one would expect from a starting quarterback.

Burcham’s performance during the past three or four practices has clearly separated him from Cassel and Davis.

Davis, a transfer from Tyler JC, was expected to compete for the starting job. From the begging of camp Davis looked unsure of himself, which is understandable as he was learning a new offense.

However, now that camp is coming to an end, he doesn’t look to have made too much progress from the first practice.

When Burcham drops back you can see him go through his progression, and as soon as he sees someone open, he lets it rip.

Davis overthinks. He holds onto it a little too long and doesn’t seem to trust what he is reading or whether he can make the throw.

As far as his arm is concerned, there are stretches where it looks really good- effortless range with a nice tight spiral. Other times, his throws look forced and come out as wounded ducks.

While Davis failed to meet expectations, Cassel has been a pleasant surprise.

He looks confident and poised in the pocket and should Burcham need to come out of a game, Cassel could keep things from spiraling out of control in his absence.

Davis is much too talented an athlete to not contribute to the team, eventually. It just probably won’t be this season.

His biggest contribution to the team this year will probably be that he pushed Burcham during camp to become a better QB and ultimately, that’s the result you want from any position battle.

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