The Pony Stampede staff debates where SMU needs to focus the most in spring practice!
Billy: Who embraces #Tempo?
The speed of Chad Morris' offense is not the only thing that will change under his watch. The entire program is going to embrace #Tempo. That's the biggest adjustment from the June Jones era, a much more laid back staff and atmosphere. Players that don't go 100 percent or don't want to give this program everything they've got will likely see themselves out the door by end of spring. That's not to say Morris and company will cut a lot of players, but for some, the adjustment won't come easy. We've seen players like Zelt Minor
, Bozidar Antunovic
and K.C. Nlemchi
already embracing it via social media and in the weight room. In spring practice, we'll get a glimpse of who's been putting in the work to learn the playbooks, get in shape and embrace the new era. If you're not on the PonyUpTempo train yet, you're going to be far behind as a player going into the summer. The spring is to show who's on board and for the staff to find out how bad players want to win.
Scott: Getting a look at the quarterbacks
Coach Morris and company need to get a better idea of who their starting quarterback is going to be come fall. The key to bouncing back from last year's 1-11 campaign starts with improving the offense and finding a quarterback that can move the ball down the field. Texas A&M
transfer Matt Davis
(pictured above) has more experience, but January enrollee Ben Hicks
already has the poise and maturity of a fifth-year senior. My guess is the staff won't pick a starter until fall camp is underway, but it will be important to see if Davis' arm can actually be a threat in this offense, while also seeing if Hicks can successfully stand up to a college defense. Hicks is undoubtedly the quarterback of the future for the Mustangs, but there are a lot of signs pointing to the freshman seeing playing time earlier than expected.
Patrick: Change the culture — FAST
Chad Morris has talked about this for a while, but from the start of spring ball, he and his staff need to send the team a message that SMU
football isn’t anything like what it used to be. The team’s attitude has to change into a 110-perent energy, intensity on every play, strive to be the best/compete with the best attitude. Morris will have no tolerance for the less-intense, complacent and detached nature that surrounded the team last season. Morris isn’t thinking about 2015 as a rebuilding year; he wants to challenge for a bowl game right away. The team has to understand that so it goes into training camp united toward that one mission. The incoming freshman class already knows that, so getting the rest of the team on board is crucial.
Hatts: See where veterans fit
The key objective for Chad Morris and his staff during the spring is to figure out what you have in some of the veteran players once you get them out on the practice field and see them in person. Despite this team only winning 1 game last season, there are some players on this team that can make plays and continue to start for this team. The challenge for Morris and his staff will be to assess what guys he wants out there to go along with a lot of the younger players. Along with assessing what he has, this will be a good opportunity for Morris to assess the culture of the locker room and what he needs to change early on aside from increasing the tempo on a daily basis.