For Southern Methodist University to have the success that new head coach June Jones is hoping for, the Mustangs must be able to protect the quarterback.
Priority one is to improve the play of the offensive line, Jones turned to friend and former NFL player Dennis McKnight to do just that.
In the run and shoot offense, the offensive line must protect the quarterback at all cost, one fifth year senior that will help do that this fall for the Mustangs is Tommy Poynter.
Poynter played in six games last year before breaking his fibula and tore up his ankle against Tulane.
"It was the worse feeling having to watch my team play without me," Poynter told PonyStampede.com in a recent interview. "Those last six games we were close to winning but couldn't close the deal. It was tough to watch from the sidelines."
According to Poynter, he is fully recovered after spending over four months rehabbing his injuries.
"I'm at full strength, in fact I'm stronger than I have ever been," Poynter said. "We are loving our new strength and conditioning program. Its hard work, but everyone is seeing great results."
Poynter now stands at 6-foot-4, and currently weighs 285.
"I feel much stronger than I ever have," Poynter said. "I'm so ready to get back out on the football field and help win some ballgames."
Poynter is projected as the starter at right tackle this fall, but there is a chance according to the talented lineman that he might move inside to guard.
"I came out of spring practice projected as the starter at right tackle," Poynter said. "Coach McKnight has talked to me about maybe moving down to guard if needed."
Poynter, who started six games as a red shirt sophomore, has seen action in over 20 games for the Mustangs. According to Poynter, this year is so much different in a lot of ways.
"The new coaching staff has brought in a new positive attitude and it's really having a big affect on this team," Poynter said. "They told us in the spring that they won't come after us personally but go after what we are doing wrong so we can correct it. They coach in such a positive manner. It's very different than what we have been use to. Coach McKnight is a great coach and has already made us better."
Another coach that has impressed Poynter is special team coordinator Frank Gansz.
"He inspires us in so many ways," Poynter said. "He would have little motivational meetings with us every day before practice. He has taught us to make winning a habit, not an act."
Poynter is excited about finishing out his career as a Mustang.
"I wished I had four more years in this program with this coaching staff," Poynter said. "There is a different aura in our locker room and out on the field."
Poynter wants to go out a winner this fall.
"Our first priority is to win and win now," Poynter said. "I'm confident we are going to win this fall. I want to start every game, this is my last chance, I want to have a great season and go to a bowl game."