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September 9, 2008In just his second debut at quarterback as a true freshman, SMU starter Bo Levi Mitchell threw for 370 yards and five touchdowns on Saturday night against Texas State. In most people's eyes, that would be satisfying. But in the mind of his head coach, there's still more work that needs to be done.
"I thought Bo did some good things," said head coach June Jones. "He's a project though. The 13 incompletions he had, he should've completed 37 out of 37. I thought Bo had a chance to complete probably all the balls that were incomplete if we just firm up the protection a little bit."
It's hard to believe that this time last year, Mitchell was only three games into his senior season at Katy High School. Now, he's at the top of the depth chart for a rebuilding Conference-USA team and looking at a schedule that has a trip to Texas Tech in store for next week.
"It's true," agreed Mitchell about Jones' comments. "I'm a freshman and I'm fine with that. I just have to keep coming out here and doing whatever the coaches tell me to do. I made mistakes again against Texas State that I probably shouldn't have made. We're going to go out there and keep working and be the best we can be."
It's obvious that Mitchell has been all-ears towards Jones as he explained a similar theory on his performance.
"There were a lot of missed passes and assignments. I have to put the ball on the money. Then instead of 370 yards, we would've had 500 yards and a couple more touchdowns. That keeps the other offense off the field and helps out the defense more."
"He'll be getting better every week," continued Jones. "I thought he did some better things this week. He had some big third down throws when we had to have them. He's a gamer. He's a player. I just hope he keeps getting better."
With eight total touchdowns, 614 yards, and a 61% passing completion percentage in his first pair of collegiate games, it's evident that the Mustangs have found someone special.
"In four years, he's going to be a great quarterback," said junior wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders. "Coach is right, it is a project but he's pretty up there to be a freshman. His balls are great and he has great accuracy. For a freshman, he also has leadership skills like none other. I'm just happy he's my quarterback."
Overall, the Ponies seem content with Mitchell's production thus far. The key word from here on out is 'improvement'.