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

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Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024
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Mustangs look to build off win

Football head coach Phil Bennett said his team is looking to build off the confidence of Saturday’s 45-14 win over Sam Houston State as it prepares for this weekend’s game against Arkansas State.

Bennett said red-shirt freshman quarterback Justin Willis is starting to get a better feel for the speed of the college game and should continue to improve.

“He’s going to play better competition this week. I’m hoping he has the same composure and ability to see things as he did on Saturday,” Bennett said.

There is a renewed spirit in the locker room after the team’s first win of the season, and Bennett said scout team players who got to see time on the field came to practice on Sunday excited and more encouraged to perform well in practice.

The Mustangs continue to struggle at the running back position. After sophomore DeMyron Martin’s injury at North Texas, senior Johnnie Fitzgerald started against the Bearkats before suffering a high ankle sprain in the first quarter. Junior Cedric Dorsey and red-shirt freshman James Mapps will vie for the starting position on Saturday when the Mustangs host the Arkansas State Indians.

Arkansas State is in the same quarterback situation SMU has been in for some time. With two comparable quarterbacks in freshman Corey Leonard and sophomore Travis Hewitt, ASU head coach Steve Roberts has been playing both men. Bennett described Leonard as more “active,” but said the two have similar styles and SMU’s defense won’t change between the two.

ASU is in the Sun Belt, the same conference as North Texas, and Bennett is wary against playing the Indians. The conference is in Division I, but is one of the less prestigious. Bennett said that can be deceiving.

“Every Sunbelt team that I’ve looked at plays with an intensity, like they have a chip on their shoulder,” he said.

Saturday’s game is the fourth and final non-conference game of the season. The Mustangs are 1-2 going into Saturday, and while the team is making progress, Bennett said the situation could be better.

“I look at our opportunities right now and we’re one [game] behind.”

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