Sound the sirens because SMU is officially in quarterback controversy mode. No matter which player you think should start, both have a legitimate gripe for the job. Some may say that Ben Hicks is the proven leader and should get the start, but I would not be so sure yet. We saw at Alabama how just one good half put Tua Tagovailoa ahead of Jalen Hurts. Thus, let’s take a look at these two players before making our decision.
Ben Hicks (6’2’’ 220 lbs, Junior)
We all know about Ben Hicks. He is obviously the leader of the team with invaluable experience that Brown simply does not have right now. He led SMU to the Frisco Bowl last season and was able to lead one of the top scoring offenses in the country. He has an incredible stat line that consists of 3,569 yards passing and 33 touchdowns through the air.
Last year seems to be in the past though. After the loss of Chad Morris, Courtland Sutton, and Trey Quinn, it seems like Hicks just has not been the same player. I’m not sure if that trio just made Hicks good or if he made life easy for the trio. From what we’ve seen this year though, it is making me think the first option is more likely.
Looking at footage from 2017 to 2018 I am not seeing much of a difference in his mechanics. Here is his 50 yard touchdown pass to James Proche last game.
As you can see, he delivers the ball to Proche with great mechanics. What made this play work was the solid route running by Proche to blow by the Michigan corner. But overall, Hicks looked confident and went to his top target.
But in this next video, a fan has to ask oneself, what the heck is he doing?
The route was not even fully developed as the Michigan DB was easily able to read Hicks’ eyes and earn his takeaway. This questionable decision making may have worked when Hicks had unbelievable play makers on the roster, but now he clearly does not.
I have seen plenty of plays like this, from this season, that leave me both amazed and questioning what happened to the Hicks of 2017. Pure and simple, I think the risks he was able to take last year only paid off due to the unbelievable talent around him. Now that he has lost that talent, I think Hicks isn’t able to perform how he did last year. Therefore, I believe he needs to make an adjustment and become more of a game manager than a play maker.
William Brown (6’4’’ 220lbs, True Freshman)
The encouragement here for SMU is both these quarterbacks have amazing frames. Both are similar in height and weight, so at the very least, the physical talent appears to be there. Where they differ is clearly in the leadership mentality. Brown has really only had the keys to the Mustangs offense for one half of football. However, I think it was an impressive enough half of football to have a discussion.
For example, here is an example of Brown’s success against a ranked team on the road.
While there isn’t a whole lot to analyze here, it is worth noting that he appears to be completely comfortable rolling out of the pocket. This was his second touchdown pass of the day and they looked identical to one another. He is able to throw on the run pretty well and appears to have very good arm strength.
Here is Brown adding a new element to this SMU offense that Ben Hicks cannot deliver on.
Keep in mind, he is a true freshman playing in one of the toughest environments. In my opinion, he deserves big kudos for that. Obviously, he was not perfect. He finished the game going 11-17 for 130 total yards, and 2 touchdowns. However, it was miles better than what Hicks was able to do after going 7-16, 100 total yards, with one touchdown and an interception.
At the end of the day, what it comes down to is what you value. Do you value the experience that Ben Hicks brings and the leadership that he brings to the team or do you value the hot hand of William Brown, who looks much better in this offense than Hicks. This team needs to turn it around now if they want a chance at a bowl game, so I personally think you go with the hot hand and see how Brown performs. No matter the choice, I do not envy the decision Dykes has to make.
What do you think? Please vote in the poll or comment down below if you want to add to the discussion!
Who should be the quarterback heading into the Navy game?
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