Coming off of his redshirt year, freshman JT Brooks had a choice. He had to decide whether or not he wanted to play football anymore, and to continue to play meant he had to cut weight.
Brooks took this as a personal challenge from the new June Jones coaching staff, and hit the gym hard. He changed his off-season regimen to include more cardiovascular exercises, which in turn helped him cut 25 pounds this summer. This gives him the quickness he needs to excel as a right tackle in division 1 football.
"This off-season has been really good so far. I got my weight down and I can feel that I'm quicker off the ball than I was."
The physical part of the game is always important, but sometimes it isn't nearly as important as the mental part of the game, which is tough considering Coach Jones' new offense he is bringing in. The schemes are much more intricate that in previous years, but thanks to the coaching style of the new staff at SMU, JT Brooks has not had a problem learning the new offense.
"I think I've pretty much got the offense down. It's definitely complicated, but the way the new staff approaches the game is perfect for learning."
Brooks, who dealt with back and ankle injuries during spring ball also, loves the way the new staff approaches practices.
"During practices there is much less contact, which I think keeps us fresher for the games. They are still great at teaching football without there having to be unnecessary contact where someone might get injured."
Will Coach Jones' new philosophies and attitude translate to more wins? The general feeling at conditioning practices and 7-on-7 is yes. There is a renewed sense of urgency and energy with this team, and they are starting to have the confidence they need to be a contender for the conference championship this year.
"We have to start off right. Beating Rice is our number one priority right now. Once we do that, we can build on a couple of wins and keep it rolling from there," Brooks told PonyStampede.com on Thursday afternoon. "For me personally, I want to get some time in on the field so I can gain some experience, and help this program for the next few years."