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.

Wildgemini 81… Would June Jones lack of interest in recruiting be the reason why he is 4-22 (or something like that) against quality opponents with winning records?

EJ Holland: It's a big part of it and a reason SMU won't succeed in the Big East next year. The only position that seems to have depth is linebacker. There are holes everywhere else starting with the quarterback. It's still amazes that the quarterback guru can't find the right QB and groom him into a great player. This staff's laziness and approach is unacceptable. The future does not look bright especially with strong upcoming non-conference schedules.

JuneCometh… New AD Hart needs to be more vocal in communicating a vision / plan for SMU. With the previous AD at least we had " Top 25 " --- any chance we can get an answer to his lack of laying out his vision/plan for SMU? I am getting very concerned about the future.

Billy Embody: I think that AD Rick Hart needs to be a little more vocal in communicating the vision of SMU Athletics, but I believe there is a big overhaul going on in the athletics department with the vision and how SMU is going to communicate that vision so give it some time. SMU is in a transitional phase with the renovations to Moody, Coach Brown coming in and the move to the Big East so let all of that continue to work itself out. I think Hart has communicated that SMU's goal is to develop its community roots more and I believe you will see that. SMU is trying to be not only Dallas' team, but especially the Park Cities' team and I think that is the main plan SMU is trying to work on right now.

Jpr514… Do you think LB and staff will be able to get all their recruits through the SMU admissions process. I've heard from someone in that area that suggest this might be a challenge ... just as it has for football

EJ Holland: Admissions are completely overrated. Since I've been here, the only players that haven't been accepted are Davon Moreland and Jermaine Sams. Moreland couldn't get in anywhere and Sams didn't even end up at an FBS program. Christian Holloway had his difficulties but that was on him. If Jordan Dickerson got through it, I don't see this staff having very many problems.

PonyBoy90210… Who will have a breakout basketball season?

Beionny Mickles: I think that Kansas State transfer Nick Russell is poised to have one of the best seasons in the C-USA this year. This guy has the ability to play both guard positions and can facilitate the ball as well as score. He has great court vision and has taken on a leadership role in the locker room. Because he comes from a Big 12 school, Russell had already played against great competition so I think that his game will translate well to the C-USA. Throughout his career, Larry Brown has done a great job of teaching and educating point guards especially being that he was a guard himself. Although Russell may get more time at the two than at the point, he should benefit from Brown's coaching as a guard, which will help him to make great decisions with the basketball. I expect Russell to have a great year for the Mustangs and would not be surprised if he ends up on the all-conference team. Another guy to watch out for is youngster Jalen Jones, who showed flashes of his potential last year but could take his game to the next level in the upcoming season.

PonyBoy 90210… What do you think SMU's record in basketball be and why?

Billy Embody: 18-11. I think SMU will start off very strong going 5-1 in their first six games with the lone loss being to TCU. I think there will be an improvement offensively because SMU could not have been any worse last season. Cannen Cunningham will be a huge reason why. I think he's versatile enough and create matchup problems for other teams this season. I think it will be an adjustment not only for out of conference teams, but especially C-USA teams to play this team. Coach Brown wants a fast paced and in-your-face style that will benefit this team. Moody will also have some Moody Madness with all the excitement so look for that to help this team at home especially. SMU will be above .500 in C-USA play and will win at least one game in the C-USA tournament.

DigetyDog… Is Neal Burcham going to threaten Garrett Gilbert for a job next season? How does he look in practice?

EJ Holland: I must admit that I was skeptical of Burcham because he was coming off a torn ACL. To start camp, he didn't look very good. But as the season has progressed, he's looked better and better and I am now a fan. I don't think he starts over Gilbert next year but I do think he will start for three years when Gilbert leaves. I think he's a better fit for this system than Conner Preston and is just a better quarterback than Kolney Cassel, who will sit behind him for nearly his entire time on the Hilltop. Burcham is the quarterback of the future and people should be excited about him. He has a great release but his best attributes are his accuracy and intelligence. I don't think you will see him making very many mistakes. By the time he's a junior, Burcham should be putting up better stats than any QB in the June Jones era.

Anonymous… Why isn't Gehrig Dieter a full time starter?

Beionny Mickles: Let me start by saying that I think Gehrig Dieter will be a great player for the Mustangs in the coming years. He has great size, great hands, and has great body control when going up and making tough catches. With that being said, he isn't the fastest guy in the receiving corps and unfortunately, speed is something invaluable in the Run N' Shoot offense especially on the outside where receivers need to be able to get into the second level of the defense in a hurry. However, it isn't like the players that Dieter has been competing against have been doing better than him. Keenan Holman has had another disappointing season, Arrius Holleman can't catch, and Stephen Nelson has been hurt. I think that Austin Fuller came in and added a nice spark in the last game vs. Southern Miss so I guess we'll see how he looks going forward but to answer your question, I personally think that Dieter needs another year in the offense to really be able to have the impact that I think he can have. Timing between the receivers and the quarterback is essential in this offense so with more practice and more repetitions I don't see why Dieter won't be a full-time starter soon. I don't think Dieter is a bad football player and I can see the potential but I don't think he has been head and shoulders above the others either because in his three starts vs. TCU, Tulane and Memphis combined he had three catches for 34 yards. However, if he keeps working hard he can (and I think he will) eventually separate himself from the pack and become a good player for SMU.

Bowl4Us… What is Coach Palcic's role in recruiting?

EJ Holland: His role is non-existent. I believe his area is West Texas and we haven't heard a peep from any players in that region. Palcic was a horrible replacement for Adrian Klemm from a recruiting aspect. He's exactly like Frank Gansz Jr. He hardly recruits but feels like he can coach up players. But that doesn't fly when the rest of the staff is doing a poor job.

Anonymous…. What will be more popular in three years, football or basketball?

Russell Palmer: All signs point to basketball as taking over SMU and becoming the most popular sport on campus. As the football team struggles on the field and on the recruiting trail, the SMU basketball program is the exact opposite. Larry Brown and his staff are killing it on the recruiting trail, and it is only a matter of time before they start winning games on the court. The Moody Coliseum renovations will attract students and fans, resulting in a good home court advantage. Another major factor is the Big East. The Big East is considered widely the worst BCS football conference, but the best basketball conference. Having SMU basketball in the Big East will allow for more national exposure when they play teams like Louisville and UConn, as well as in the Big East tournament in Madison Square Garden. If Larry Brown and his staff can continue this upward trend they are on, basketball will take over football as the most popular sport on campus sooner rather than later.

Hil Horne…. Are we going to ever recruit a kid from Duncanville high school for basketball, they send an all American to UT like every year, why can't we keep our talent here?

EJ Holland: Be patient. Larry Brown just got here and his staff is doing there best to land some big name local talent. They are in the mix for Kimball's Keith Frazier and were neck and neck for Arlington Grace Prep's Jordan Mickey. I think they are doing a tremendous job of getting a jump-start on 2014 and 2015 kids and you see more local talent start to consider SMU i.e. Emmanuel Mudiay.

PoconoPony…. What is Jankovich's role in recruiting? All I read is where LB and staff are really out there working hard, visiting kids and making progress; however, I have never seen anything written or spoken as to what Jankovich is doing or if he is even recruiting. I would have thought that if he is the head coach in waiting that he would want to be very high profile and start making his own reputation by going after big time kids and contributing to the whole effort.

EJ Holland: Like Hoopmanx stated, Jank was not brought here to recruit but was instrumental in bringing in Nic Moore. He also does go out to a lot of local events and was involved in bringing in Yanick Moreira. I'm sure once he takes over for Coach Brown, you'll see him get out there more often.

Bowl4Us… Will there be a good home crowd for the first basketball game?

Russell Palmer: This is a tough question to answer. The fact that the game is on a Sunday afternoon definitely favors there being a good home crowd for Larry Brown's debut as the head coach of the Mustangs. I do think the Dallas area, especially Highland Park will come out to watch the Mustangs open the season, if only to see Brown coach. The SMU student attendance is another question. It is well-known SMU student attendance at athletic events is poor, but in talking to fellow students, in particular a student that is in the SMU student-government, I have learned of different promotions and ideas they are coming up with to encourage student attendance to basketball games. Overall, I expect a decent crowd for the home opener, but as the season goes on, it will be interesting to see if attendance rises or falls.

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