August 25, 2007

Can Willis bring it again in 2007?

Justin Willis re-wrote the SMU record book last year in most of the passing and total offense categories. Not bad for a redshirt freshman, but how much room did it leave for improvement heading into this season?

SMU's success in 2007 unquestionably hinges on the play of Willis. At quarterback, the Mustangs have relied on mediocre play behind center for years. Last season, they got outstanding.

So where does that put Willis at the start of this season? Does the sophomore have to better those numbers for SMU to earn more wins this season? The answers are mixed, according to SMU coaches and players.

No, the players say, Willis doesn't necessarily have to match or better the 26 touchdowns he threw last season, or even his 2,401 total yards, the fourth-best mark in school history. DeMyron Martin and Emmanuel Sanders say there are others that can pick up more of the load on offense where they didn't, or couldn't, last season.

"We've all been watching more film and working harder for this season," Sanders said. "He doesn't have to match the because Martin's running at 100 percent, and the receivers are shooting for 1,000-yard seasons. We got a lot more than Willis to depend on offensively."

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