Matt Visinsky

SMU Christmas Gifts from Pony Stampede

The Pony Stampede staff came down the chimney with some gifts for some of the notable SMU athletes and coaches!

Chad Morris

A time machine. Yea I know, Keith got a the time machine too. Only this time, Chad is going to use his to go to the future. June Jones left an absolute mess behind on the Hilltop. Chad has done an excellent job cleaning things up, but there is still a ton of work to be done. One of the biggest turning points in the program, will be when everyone on the team buys in. It will be much easier when Chad is surrounded by guys he recruited and brought into the program. That takes time. And as we saw this year, it isn’t too pretty either. So Chad would use his time machine to jump to a time where he has all his guys around him and a complete football team in the locker room.  -Demo

Larry Brown

A healthy and complete frontcourt. When SMU made the decision a couple weeks ago to redshirt Semi Ojeleye for the rest of this season, it came with the understanding SMU was going to be short on big men the rest of the season. It might not matter right now the way Ben Moore, Jordan Tolbert and Markus Kennedy are playing, but if one were to miss any extended period of time SMU would be in trouble. Keep these three healthy and SMU is going to be tough to beat during conference play. -Hatts

Tim Jankovich

A raise and extension. It's time for SMU to make a bigger commitment to Tim Jankovich and one way to do that is a raise and an extension. SMU will have to make some decisions eventually as Larry Brown continues to coach and Jankovich continues to sit on the bench. Jankovich could get major interest down the road. A more formal plan needs to be developed for the handoff from Brown to Jankovich, which will be tough for Brown to swallow, but whatever plan that is made, needs to include Jankovich. With the staff Jankovich would have, the program would likely see continued success. If anything, Brown loves to coach and loves practice. Brown will certainly be a fixture at practices even after his days as head coach are done. It's a matter of if SMU can keep Jankovich for that time, but after his performance during Brown's nine-game suspension, he needs the raise and extension. -Billy

Rick Hart

More fans in the stands at football games. Obviously, getting fans to fill the seats in Ford Stadium has been a challenge for past athletic directors, and rightfully so with the team performing poorly for much of the post-Death Penalty era. But with Chad Morris and staff on hand for a full rebuild, and with the athletic department’s financial backing and facilities commitment, fans need to start filling Ford sooner rather than later. Facility upgrades and a (hopefully) better team in the next couple years should attract more casual SMU fans and casual college football fans in the Dallas area. Hart would love to look out to Ford from his suite and see the stadium filled. -Patrick

Van Malone

MORE DEFENSIVE BACKS. He is all but assured of getting them, although he has to wait until Feb. 3 to officially unwrap this gift. SMU has five defensive backs committed for 2016 and is chasing a sixth. Malone, a former defensive backs coach, has to be eager to get to work with the players he recruited. -Patrick

Joe Craddock

A Courtland Sutton Compliment. Coach Craddock had to be pleased with the emergence of Courtland Sutton and his two freshman running backs despite the inconsistent performance of the offense as a whole. Coach Craddock’s life could get easier however if a second weapon can develop on the outside. Sutton was still able to rack up an impressive amount of yards due to his ability to go up and get the ball at it’s highest point but also disappeared at times during games due to the amount of attention he received. Kevin Thomas and Xavier Castille both showed flashes but if one of them or another receiver could develop into a threat, that would go a long way towards helping this offense be more consistent. -Hatts

Nic Moore

A healthy finger. Moore has clearly had some issues with that pinky finger, but he hasn't had to star for SMU. The big men and the young freshmen have been complimenting Moore's leadership on the floor. As SMU now moves into AAC play and still faces a great Gonzaga team, Moore's pinky needs some magic to get right, but SMU would welcome that magic. There's no shot at an undefeated season with Moore battling this pinky. If he can get it to 90 percent and lose the wrap on it, he'll be that much better and SMU needs Moore to be at his best with AAC play looming. -Billy

Markus Kennedy

A healthy ankle. Even after SMU’s post-season ban was handed down, Kennedy decided to stick with SMU because of his bond with his teammates and the potential to continue to grow under Larry Brown in preparation for the start of his professional career.  But Kennedy’s recent ankle injury has set the senior back. Coming off of a 1-for-7 performance against Kent State, he went 5-for-9 against Colorado. Against the Buffaloes, he looked better, but you could easily see he wasn’t moving normally.  A healthy ankle would help the forward continue to showcase his abilities and potential. -Scott

Ben Moore

“Moore” credit. Despite averaging the most minutes (29), shots taken (9.3), points (12.8), and rebounds (8.1) of his career, Ben Moore simply hasn’t been getting the credit, or consistent looks, he deserves because of who he plays with.  Playing along side Nic Moore, Keith Frazier, Jordan Tolbert and Markus Kennedy has made Moore’s consistent play almost an afterthought.  Maybe it’s because there have been high expectations since he set foot on the Hilltop, but with Kennedy recovering from his ankle injury, Moore deserves credit for stepping in now more than ever. -Scott

Jordan Tolbert

A Conference Title. Who wouldn’t want an AAC Conference Championship? For Jordan Tolbert, this would be a little more special than most given this is his only season on the Hilltop and the last chance for him at winning any sort of hardware. Tolbert had to sit out the entirety of last season due to transfer rules when SMU made their run to the NCAA tournament and didn’t come close to winning anything at Texas Tech. For Tolbert, even though he has no shot at playing in the NCAA tournament, he would be awfully proud to cap his collegiate career with an AAC Championship. –Hatts

Matt Davis

Improved offensive line. Matt Davis is one heck of an athlete. He can make most throws and he can extend plays with his feet. Imagine if he actually had time to analyze what was in front of him, more often. It seems that every other time he drops back, he has to go into improv mode. I’d like to see less improvisation and more time for him to make reads. -Demo

Xavier Jones

A more consistent offensive line. Jones, the Mustangs’ leading rusher, still managed to put up over 600 yards and 10 touchdowns despite a terribly inconsistent offensive line.  Jones, who rushed for over 100 yards in a game just once, has the athleticism and speed to be a dangerous back while at SMU, but he’s going to need some help.  While the big guys up front improved from their rocky 2014 season, they’ll have to continue their upward trajectory in order to help Jones take that next step in his game in 2016.  -Scott

Courtland Sutton

More targets. As Hatts pointed out, SMU is looking for a Courtland Sutton compliment without a doubt, but the team can also use that compliment to its advantage by targeting Sutton more. There were plays designed to get Sutton the ball more that just couldn't get it done for whatever reason, but even with his impressive redshirt freshman season, Sutton needs the ball more. He's a gamechanger and as he develops his routes more and becomes more polished, he'll get more targets. Couple that with SMU only having just over 30 percent of the offense, there's good reason to believe that Sutton will in fact receive this gift and get his targets up. -Billy

Shake Milton

More minutes in crunch time. After Wednesday’s win over Colorado, the nation is starting to jump on the bandwagon. The freshman was calm and collected during the final minutes of the win, hitting a jumper to give SMU a lead with 3:21 to go, another short jumper a minute later to extend the lead to six, and hit two free throws with 13 seconds left to ice the game. He’s impressed SMU fans since his 17-point debut on Nov. 14, and he’s earned the right to finish the game on the floor. -Patrick

Keith Frazier

A Time Machine. Everybody has some poor decisions they’d like to go back and change in their life. For some, it’s a simple as going back in time to mend a broken relationship. For others, it might be going back to give a warning to a young kid: study now or others will pay for it later.  -Demo

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