Well SMU fans, it is official. Chad Morris has decided to take his head coaching talents to Fayetteville. In an earlier article on where I thought Morris would go, I thought Texas A&M was the destination he would be able to get. Thus, I only gave Arkansas and Mississippi State a 10% chance to land at one of those schools. Heck, I even thought Tennessee had more of chance than Arkansas. But I guess Morris passed that one up like the rest of the country. Congrats to the 16% of you who guessed the right destination in the article’s poll!
Impact of Morris
Arkansas clearly saw the way Morris turned around the program at SMU. Morris came back to Texas, after being an offensive coordinator at Clemson, knowing he had a ton of work to do. SMU was the worst team in the conference as Morris inherited a 1-11 team that seemed like the glory days of the program were not coming back.
Luckily for them, Chad Morris was a perfect fit. Although the first season was a failure at 2-10, the foundation was set for Morris to succeed. He used his solid background as a former Texas High School coach, and was able to bring in good talent that would help him take down #11 Houston the next year.
He was not done yet though, as he started to make SMU an offensive juggernaut, developing players like Ben Hicks, Cortland Sutton, Trey Quinn, and James Proche to name a few. He turned these players that some schools would not even look at (besides Quinn) into great players that have high expectations for the program. Morris turned the program all the way around from 1-11 to bowl bound for the first time since 2012.
Although Morris left SMU with a losing record during his tenure, he laid down the foundation for continued success there. SMU is now a place recruits will want to play at as the program has been revitalized. The record does not show how much of an impact he was to this program, and what a great representative of the AAC he has been. Thank you Chad Morris for making the Mustangs competitive again.
Impact in the bowl game and beyond
Despite all the great things that Chad Morris has done for this program, the SMU job is going to be much harder going forward. First, it is to be assumed that Morris will start immediately at Arkansas. We also do not know if Morris is taking any assistants with him. Thus, the Frisco Bowl is going to have someone else serving as the SMU interim head coach (this information has not been announced yet).
Right from the start, SMU will be without their main offensive mind against a LA Tech team they should not sleep on. The bowl game seemed like a sure-fire win, but now it is going to be a toss-up. Also, from a recruiting aspect, Morris is going to pluck a few recruits to Arkansas that SMU might have picked up from Texas. Arkansas relies heavily on Texas recruiting and Morris has shown himself at being extremely capable at attracting Texan talent.
Moving forward, I think it is important to continue with the blueprint that Morris left. Morris has left an immense amount of talent behind that has a chance at winning the AAC championship next year. Whoever inherits this team is getting a championship caliber roster.
The next head coach really needs to be an expert at recruiting the state of Texas. We all know that recruiting is the most important aspect in college football. My hope would be someone like Kevin Sumlin would be interested in the job. He has AAC ties and knows how to recruit Texas. If they are able to swing Sumlin, this team might be even better without Morris. Either way the future is bright SMU fans. Time to buy bowl tickets, sit in the stands, and cheer with fellow Mustangs fans in Frisco!