SMU football having discussions about potentially adding new game on Dec. 12

By Sam Blum

3:22 PM on Nov 23, 2020 CST

Sonny Dykes gave his weekly press conference from the position he was in a week ago. Two games left and a Saturday matchup to prepare.

The Mustangs practiced every day over the weekend in hopes of not losing any momentum heading into the final few weeks of the regular season. Dykes acknowledged some of the mental strain the COVID-19 protocols have had on him and his team — noting that his days for the past few months have been just going to work and going home.

Still, SMU is full steam ahead on this season and is still technically alive in the AAC title race, but the Mustangs would likely need Tulsa to lose all of its final three games while winning out themselves. Additionally, Tulsa could lose two games and there are possible three-way tie scenarios that may benefit SMU.

In addition to all of that, Dykes spoke on a number of topics during his media availability, including the future schedule, health of players and the future at quarterback.

Playing another game on Dec. 12: SMU is looking to possibly add a nonconference game on Dec. 12. It’s too early to tell if it will happen now, Dykes said, but he made it clear the program is interested in making that happen.

“There’s just so much in the air right now in terms of who’s playing, when they’re playing, all that,” Dykes said. “I mean, I think we would like to schedule a game, it’s just hard right now to lock anything in and be real certain about it.”

Some of the factors preventing a game from being locked in are the possibility of needing the date for another makeup game, should potential issues with COVID-19 arise. Additionally, if SMU were to find itself in somewhat strong contention for an AAC title game appearance on Dec. 19, it’s possible the school would prefer a bye on Dec. 12.

“There’s a lot of things to consider, not a whole lot of knowns right now. A lot of unknowns,” Dykes said. “We’ve talked to some folks about it.”

Dykes didn’t say who SMU was talking to, but the only other postponed game this season was supposed to be against TCU. The Horned Frogs do not have an opponent scheduled for Dec. 12.

Injury updates: SMU ended its game against Tulsa a little banged up with critical players. Offensive lineman Jaylon Thomas and defensive back Bryan Massey didn’t play in that game. Wide receiver Danny Gray exited late with an injury.

Dykes said Gray practiced Sunday, and the expectation is Massey will be available, too. Thomas, Dykes said, would have been available had SMU played Saturday.

“We’re in much better shape than we were,” Dykes said. “The guys that kind of got nicked, I think, are feeling better.”

Will Buechele return?: The biggest elephant in the room at SMU right now is whether or not quarterback Shane Buechele has an intention of returning to play for the school next year. Normally, his eligibility would run out. But everyone retains a year of eligibility this season, so Buechele could come back.

Dykes was asked about the possibility of Buechele’s return to the program.

“That’s one of the things he and I discussed really at the beginning of the year,” Dykes said, noting they agreed to reconvene after the season. “We’d love to have him come back obviously, but we’ve got to see what’s best for him.”

If Buechele does not return, SMU could look toward one of its current backups, incoming freshman Preston Stone, or, in all likelihood, hit the transfer market.

SMU running back Tyler Lavine celebrates after scoring on a touchdown run. Lavine is pointing to the heavens to honor his grandfather who passed away several years ago. Lavine wears No. 31 in his honor because he also wore that number. Oct. 31, 2020, in Dallas.

Find more SMU coverage from The Dallas Morning News here.

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