The AAC held their football media days virtually from their HQ in Irving, TX. Head coaches and some players participated to give a preview of the season.
Opening up to the media, Head Coach of SMU Sonny Dykes said the program is in the best place since he has arrived to the Hilltop. Dykes has been with the Mustangs since December of 2017 and has led the program 22-14 being the fourth head coach to win 20 games in the first three seasons with the program.
"We are only as good as the bottom third of the roster and the players have improved. There is more competition for spots, and this team has a great work ethic, determination and play with a lot of confidence."
Entering in the 2021 season, SMU has three quarterbacks on the roster that are competing for the position: Tanner Mordecai, Derek Green, and and freshmen Preston Stone. Dykes said all three players are unique with different skill sets and should be a great battle to watch.
"What we have done in the past is let is happen naturally. We bring the guys in and put a ballin their hands and let them compete everyday. What we want to see with the quarterback is see who is consistently moving the team the best, making the fewest mistakes and gives us the best chance to win."
Back in January, the Mustangs brought on Defensive Coordinator Jim Leavitt. Dykes said Leavitt has pieces he can utilize to make the roster more successful.
"What makes Jim stand out is the passion he coaches with. He is 63 years old, but thinks he's 33 and we see this as a great opportunity. The defensive players are eager to learn and embrace the system. This biggest thing right now is to run to the football and play hard and physical. If we can do that well, we will makes strides with defense."
The elephant in the room for any coach now is the realignment with Big 12 Football. Dykes said it has been fun to hear all the different conversations around the topic. He mentioned being in this part of the country, the question if Horns Down will be a penalty has been a topic circulating in the south.
"It's going to be a process and we will see what will happen. I feel good about our place and I love this conference. It comes does to teams that can win championships and this league will be talked about on a national level. We play a better schedule with
better teams and this gives us an opportunity to go out there and prove how worthy the league is. Our guys understand how important November is if we want to win a championship."
The Mustangs open the season up Saturday September 4th at home against Abiline Christian. Watch the complete interview with Sonny Dykes here.