FREE: Pony Stampede Mailbag

The Pony Stampede staff answered questions submitted by SMU fans so come inside to get our responses! Don't forget to submit more questions this week.

Question from CTMustang: Who will be the best candidates to replace June Jones if he's fired/resigns?

EJ Holland: I think everybody knows that Sonny Dykes would fit in perfectly. SMU can basically double his current salary at Louisiana Tech but his stock is on the rise, which means Rick Hart will have to jump on him immediately after the season. Dykes is the 2011 WAC Coach of the Year and just look at Louisiana Tech's performance against Texas A&M and how he was able to rally the troops. His team is scoring how SMU should be scoring. I really like that he is a Texas guy and there is no doubt in my mind that he knows the territory and would be able to pull in some good local kids. Dykes is still young and could really be the face of SMU for a long while, sort of like a Gary Patterson at TCU. As we all know, June Jones is not SMU. And that's something SMU needs as it heads into a bigger conference- someone to embrace the program and make it theirs. Other guys to keep an eye on include Clemson OC Chad Morris and Oklahoma OC Josh Heupul. Also, don't rule out Bobby Petrino. He would be a great get despite the baggage.

Question from Jclenehan: When do we start with a search committee to find a new coaching staff?

Billy Embody: After June leaves or is fired, President Turner and AD Rick Hart will assemble the Circle of Champions most likely and get their commitments of money for the new coach's salary then if Turner and Hart so choose, they will hire an actual search firm to reach out to people. I don't think they'll do that so what they will do is have the C of C brainstorm with them and get a list together and start calling coaches.

Question from Anonymous: If June Jones only wins five games, is his job safe?

Beionny Mickles: June Jones cannot be safe after this season if he only has 5 wins. One must also wonder if the high-profile hiring of Larry Brown adds additional pressure on the football program to keep up. With SMU's migration to the Big East approaching, the atmosphere around campus is that Jones' stint may be done at the Hilltop. While he was instrumental in getting the Mustangs to where they are, his progression and production has clearly plateaued and some might say regressed. This year's team had hopes of going undefeated and expected to win the conference. At 3-4, the hopes of achieving the former are obviously diminished and the chance of achieving the latter looks bleak. I believe that if Jones doesn't at least reach the C-USA title game, his chances of returning are slim. If he only wins five games then he's going back to the islands.

Question from Michael Lau: How will Larry Brown handle only having one more scholarship available?

EJ Holland: It looks like there will be more cuts. It's clear Coach Brown isn't afraid to do it. I think this is somewhat of a tryout year for kids like Uche Ofoegbu, Brian Bernardi, and even Ryan Manuel and Jordan Dickerson. If you don't perform, you will be shipped out especially if Brown and company continue to land top prospects. If Tyler Roberson, Keith Frazier, Yanick Moreira, Ron Patterson, and others want to commit, you can bet Brown will tell current players to start looking around. It seems harsh but hey, Brown is committed to making SMU a winning program.

Question from PonyBoy90210: Will Ben Moore and Sterling Brown make impacts as true freshmen?

Russell Palmer: After reviewing as much film as possible to answer this question, I do believe that both Brown and Moore will make impacts at SMU as freshmen. Brown is the more physically ready of the two, and seems to figure into a comfortable role off the bench once he arrives on the Hilltop, and could even compete with the likes of Jalen Jones and transfer Crandall Head sometime during the season. For Moore to make an impact as a freshman, he will have to bulk up drastically, because 190-pound power forward in the Big East will not fair well. But if Moore can add weight, he would be a great change of pace from the less mobile Markus Kennedy.

Question from Wildgemini81: Is June Jones & staff even bothering to recruit defensive linemen? Looked at the 2012 roster, and the only DL returning are DE in the 220-245 lb range. The last offer I recall was to Andrew Billings out of Waco, and SMU crapped the bed on that one, due to their pathetic performance in Waco.

EJ Holland: First of all June Jones doesn't recruit. But one of SMU's top targets is defensive end Hendrick Ekpe. We had an update on him a couple of weeks ago and he still lists SMU in his top four. Bert Hill has been on him for a while now, but I think he's probably a Minnesota lean since his brother plays there as well. As of today, no other defensive ends are being heavily recruited by SMU other than Luca Bruno, who already committed elsewhere. As far as nose tackles, Syd Moore is still out there and Antonio McGhee is now available. Russell spoke with McGhee last week, and he hasn't heard from Jason Phillips in ages. Moore has picked up a few other offers and didn't seem very interested in SMU from the beginning. I would think more offers would be going out, but it appears as if they are more concerned with loading up at safety.

Question from CTMustang: Has June Jones implemented any plays, formations, and/or concepts (TE??) from Houston's old offense since Jason Phillips joined the staff?

Billy Embody: No he hasn't at all. June has tight end sets already and to be honest, our running game is pretty damn good with a tight end like Fleming was a few years back. It's just a matter of June having the personnel to run it. If June is still around when Jeremiah Gaines comes in, that will help this offense immensely IMO. With Gaines, SMU can also rotate receivers off the field and be more diverse on offense.

Question from Bowl4Us: Do you think Memphis and Rice are going to give SMU a game?

Beionny Mickles: Surely, Memphis and Rice both had hopes of clashing with an SMU offense that was unproductive in the red zone and a defense that is vulnerable in the secondary following an abysmal loss to Tulane. Since assuming the hot seat however, June Jones responded with a record-breaking victory at home against Houston. Thursday's game was the first time that both the offense and defense played up to their true potential. If the team that fielded Ford against Houston keeps up half its momentum, they should not have a problem with Memphis. Rice however, played SMU tough at home last year and only loss to first place Tulsa by four points on Saturday. They also average close to two hundred yards rushing per game. If SMU comes to play they can compete with any team in the conference and they proved that last week. Rice shouldn't be a problem. Keyword: shouldn't.

Question from Hoopmanx: Guys, do we have any hoops player feedback from who looks good in practices so far? Both Summer & Fall

EJ Holland: Well, I don't want to say which players have been saying things, but I'll tell you what I've heard. As we know, Cotton Giles didn't practice very much due to injury, but everyone still thinks he can be a key contributor. The person people can't seem to stop raving about is Nick Russell. Everyone says he will be the star of this team this year. Apparently, he's been crossing people over like crazy and draining shots from all over the court. Ryan Manuel supposedly getting more comfortable, and with Larry Brown's help, he has the athleticism to excel as the point. Both Blaise Mbargorba and Jordan Dickerson need to bulk up but Cannen Cunningham looks poised to breakout. That's it for now, but we will have coverage on the team starting next week including features on all 10 scholarship players so make sure to subscribe!

Question from PonyBoy90210: Who is most likely to commit next in hoops?

Russell Palmer: After Moore and Brown became the first commitments in the Larry Brown era at SMU, the next recruit Mustang fans should look forward to committing is JUCO big man Yanick Moreira. Moreira has become the sole big man in the 2013 class that Brown and his staff are recruiting and would be a perfect fit in Larry Brown's system. Baylor figures to be SMU's main competitor in the Moreira sweepstakes, but in the end, I expect Moreira to be a Mustang. Besides Moreira, Ron Patterson, a shooting guard from Brewster Academy is also a possibility to commit to SMU, but with the Mustangs adding guards Sterling Brown and transfer Crandall Head next year, Patterson may be less interested in the Mustangs, especially after picking up offers from Syracuse and UConn.

Question from Bowl4Us: Wanted to know what greyshirt Ty Law's thought's were of the game?

EJ Holland: He tweeted that it was a great win and that he was happy to see the offense get going. I don't think you have to worry about Law not being here next year.

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