One of the issues with SMU right now is the team's lack of emotion.
Every day after practice, the players huddle up around June Jones for a short post-workout speech. Usually the team will yell, "BEAT [insert that week's opponent]" to get everyone's engines revving for the upcoming game.
But Tuesday, there was no "BEAT Houston" after practice. Unless the players whispered it, which, case in point, shows their lack of excitement.
Maybe this is an aftershock of having lost three of their last four games by a combined score of 89-27. Having a short-term memory is easier said then done, of course.
Starting linebacker Taylor Reed thrives off his teammates' emotions and said that he hasn't felt "it" the past couple of weeks, but can't quite put a finger on why.
Defensive coordinator Tom Mason agrees.
"I'm not happy with that right now," Mason said. "When teams are walking off the field, they don't say, ‘Wow, did those guys hit.' We were better earlier in the year, so I'm challenging the kids to get that attitude back. That's what it is—attitude."
Is this glum or borderline indifference due to the back-to-back losses after being on a five-game winning-streak high?
"To some degree, but I think a lot of it has to do with as the season wears on, bodies wear down and the intensity is not as high as when you first start," Mason said. "It's a long grind. We have to get it back in these last two games. And as a coach, that's my job."
If there's any game this group should get up for, it's Houston this weekend. The Cougars are a potential BCS buster ranked at No. 11, they have the nation's No. 1 offense, they're 10-0 and ESPN College GameDay will be there. Not to mention the Mustangs have a personal vendetta against this team, as they've only beaten UH once in their last nine meetings and are 0-3 under Jones.
"I'm looking forward to it, I mean, what a great challenge," Mason said. "It's a big-time game and a big-time environment. It's time to go play. Let's see what they really got and how good we really are. It's gonna be fun."
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