Team Preview: SMU

Blue Ribbon Illustrated previews the 2004-05 college football season, exclusively on Insider.

Originally Published: July 28, 2004
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Third-year SMU coach Phil Bennett doesn't talk like a man whose team just went winless. He remains confident in his program, and believes last year's team was much better than its 0-12 record.

The Mustangs lost five games by nine points or less.

This year, Bennett has 14 defensive players and 12 offensive players with starting experience.

"One of the things we realized was that we probably would have to break this program down from the get-go to build it back up," Bennett said. "I joke with our boosters that instead of a freshman team, this year we're stepping up to be a JV team."

It's a joke, because Bennett thinks he might have the talent to put together a solid season in 2004. The team's biggest weakness, quarterback play, should improve with the development of sophomore Chris Phillips (6-3, 220) and the addition of two junior college transfers with the talent to push him for the starting job.