During this time of COVID-19, many aspects of the college football world is changing on a dime. Even though the upcoming SMU vs. Memphis game has been on the schedule for a while now, the date was pushed back a few days to work with scheduling.
The Mustangs are taking their season schedule by each game because of the likeness a game getting cancelled or postponed, such as the traditional Battle of the Iron Skillet with TCU.
SMU is facing off against Memphis Saturday, and Head Coach Sonny Dykes does have high expectations going into it.
“It’s our first conference game, that is the biggest thing, and we are trying to get off to a good start in conference play. It has been a long time since SMU has beat Memphis,” said Dykes. “We have been trying to point more towards a conference championship this year. It’s a big game from that perspective.”
Teams all across the country get tested weekly and almost daily for COVID-19. Since going into the bubble, SMU has not had any positive tests for the team. The Mustangs are sitting pretty at 3-0 currently, and Dykes said he is glad they are able to still be playing.
“This is one of the three things we were wanting to achieve at the very beginning. Number one was to stay safe and sound, play as many games as we can and play every week, and lastly try to win every one of those games. That plan up to this point has worked,” stated Dykes.
Communication is key on the gridiron, although with less fans in the stadium, it has been easier for the coaches to yell out to the players on the field. Dykes explained he is used to the small crowds. He went from coaching at Navarro College to the SEC. Just like the fans in attendance or watching from home, Dykes agreed this first game did feel strange and it felt more like a practice.
By the time Memphis lands in Dallas this week, it will be almost three-weeks since they last played. Memphis Head Coach Ryan Silverfield said in an interview earlier a majority of their roster will be in Dallas to face off against the Mustangs. When I asked Coach Dykes how they are gearing up for this situation, he believed Memphis has the better advantage in this instance.
“It is a strange set of circumstance, and it depends on how you look at it. We have been practicing consistently and have played three games up to this point. We are at that point in the season where the team starts to get a little banged up and worn down. That affects us and then now we are playing a team that is going to be fresh. Right now, we don’t know what all players Memphis is going to play.
They have seen what we have done and are able to evaluate who does what well. Yet, at the same time we have had more opportunities to improve. Memphis has had a number of weeks to prepare for us, but who knows how all of this will play out.”
SMU will be back at Ford Stadium Saturday to face off against Tigers. Kick off is slated for 2:30 p.m.