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

My quest to learn the musical instrument struck a chord much greater than the beautiful sound of a perfect stroke.
I decided to learn the guitar, but I walked away learning more about life
Bella Edmondson, Staff Editor • June 19, 2024

Freshmen to start at QB and special teams against Tech Red Raiders

Football head coach Phil Bennett hopes his mature Mustang team will be able to compete against Texas Tech on Saturday.

After a 29-session fall camp, SMU will open its season on the road in Lubbock against a Texas Tech team that is ranked No. 25 in the preseason poll.

While SMU isn’t ranked this year, the teams do have one thing in common; new quarterbacks.

The Associated Press reported sophomore Graham Harrell has won the starting job for Saturday’s game for the Red Raiders, and redshirt freshman Justin Willis will be taking snaps for the Mustangs.

Bennett said he’s not putting too much stock in the notion that Harrell could struggle in his first game as a starter.

“It seems like every year we play Tech that they’re starting in a new quarterback and breaking the previous quarterback’s records,” Bennett said. “Tech does a great job of putting their quarterbacks in a great position to be successful.”

Harrell passed for 392 yards and three touchdowns in five games last year as a backup and holds Texas high school career records for yards passing and touchdowns. Bennett added his new quarterback won’t be spoon-fed either.

“He’s going to have to run the offense,” Bennett said. “We’re not asking Justin to win the game for us; we’re just asking him to manage the game for us.”

Bennett added opening the season on the road at a Big 12 school is difficult, but this year’s team has an improved maturity that should help.

Playing a Big 12 team at their home is more than a challenge,” he said. “I would like us to go out there with the mindset that we’re more than capable not only to win this game but to play well in it.”

The Mustangs will be starting more freshmen in the special teams. True freshman Kellis Cunningham will handle field goals, while fellow true freshman Bryan McCann and redshirt freshman Emmanuel Sanders will participate in kickoffs.

Sophomore, Thomas Morstead, will handle punting duties after sitting out the past two years.

Texas Tech runs a unique offense in that it is passed almost entirely on the passing game. Bennett said his defense would have to keep all gains to a minimum and prevent any pass more than 20 yards.

“The hardest thing for a defense to do is to call second and short, third and short. Try to get the offense to do things they are not comfortable doing,” Bennett said.

He added while blitzing can be a enticing move on an offense like Tech’s, but it’s a “double-edged sword.” He added that “When you rush, somebody’s band is going to play-you’d better make damn sure it’s yours-I don’t know what Tech’s fight song is, but I don’t want to hear it.”

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